Tuesday, July 05, 2005

I am a LIAR!

I'm going on 36 hours since I promised my dear friend Mary that I would post... show some sign of life... assure 'the world out there' that I'm not dead, that things are indeed still plodding along rhythmically in this hell. I promised that I would post before my tired head hit the pillow. I LIED.

The Apache crash last week crushed me. I'm still trying to figure out why, but that's not why I've been away for so long. Two people died mid-air before any semblance of their bodies hit the ground. The military asserts that it could have been mechanical difficulties -- that we don't really know. I believe they were shot down, shot out of the air -- the mighty warrior Apache -- with the wing-man aircraft at close enough range to witness the mission fail in flaming defiance.

I had part(s) II and III, etc, of craziness with my (least) favorite menace subordinate. I decided to take the reigns, restrict anything and everything he can do on our equipment. I informed my supervisor, asking his guidance, to which he asserted his confidence in my leadership and my ability to have a plan to fill the on-going need of automation assistance. Within 2 hours of having the big conversation with John (the menace), my software was down, and my go-to backup guy was in Baghdad on intel business. Access Badge appointments weren't possible; we were turning away anyone at the window needing to apply for or renew their badge. Bear in mind that these are badges for the entire base, that no other office does what we do and that we see significant traffic every day.

Everything that could go wrong did.

Thinking I was doing well as a leader to keep my soldiers productive while trying to find someone else to trouble shoot the situation, I sent them to fuel and wash our vehicles. The washing station is at our unit's headquarters building, and the deputy commander decided to interrogate them as to why they weren't at their office. Partly out of fear and partly out of gleeful opportunity to expose any faults I may have, John announced to our second-in-command that our software was down. He wants to be indispensable. He wants to be the only one who knows the answers. I know he isn't, but the rest of the unit is suffering under the illusion that he is the guy who has fixed everything in the past. Good for them that they have the liberty of a greater distance from the issue; they don't have to deal with asking the only guy around, only to have the problem worsen.

It's not unusual to have problems for a few hours now and then. I would have told my supervisor. The news just sometimes travels faster than my intention to pass it on myself. In minutes the DC had jumped down John's throat, jumped on my supervisor, and my supervisor had called me to find out what "the problem" is. I was so confused that it took me a minute to get my bearing. He proceeded to direct me to get on the phone with whoever I had to in order to get this fixed, expressing significant doubt at the prudence of cutting John off from the project when he could probably fix it -- IF I WOULD JUST LET HIM.

As I was hanging up, John walked in the door, and I had to have sit-down conversation number two with him, asserting my desire that he have opportunities to learn AND to practice his communication and collaborative skills. (I'm being nice; he has none.)

I'm going FREAKING INSANE -- GOOHH. (Picture Napoleon Dynamite here; it's one of the only things I can laugh at right now.)

Go-to guy gets back from Baghdad. He pulls an all-nighter on the equipment and like a super-star comes through. THE EQUIPMENT WORKS AGAIN!

I pulled all-nighter number two inside of five days. I got a bunch more of the ridiculous vehicle passes done, printed reports, planned my weely slides for my report today... but needless to say, I'm really really really tired.


I'm off to work again (this is after a 1.5 hour break to shower, blog, and let my body breathe out of the body armor). I miss home. I miss this place here in the bloggosphere. It feels closer to home. Don't lose me, you guys. I'm still here. I count on you all to be "there." You're all with me everywhere I go in this place. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart -- Thank you.


At 7/06/2005 8:40 AM, Blogger Mary Godwin said...

Good golly, Woman! That is one mess of pressure you're under, and I can hear that the episode isn't over yet, even if the GO-TO guy is back from Baghdad and even if he has fixed the problem for now. I've learned a (new to me) word/phrase... "props to you." If I've got it right, then PROPS PROPS PROPS to you for the tenacious stick-to-it-iveness you're finding to use in this situation, and if I've got it wrong, you get the idea. I'm proud of you, Tommi, and, along with the rest of the gang here, I've gotcha. You're my favorite ... remember that. -m0m

At 7/06/2005 9:17 AM, Blogger bdg said...

Ditto from Dad. I feel for you over there in that "mess of many colors." You're doing an amazing job in many arenas. We are all behind you here and continually pray for your safe return. Keep your chin up and continue to be an inspiration to those of us who really have it cushie over here.

At 7/06/2005 10:52 AM, Blogger Kat said...

I keep you in my prayers and my thoughts. This post made me want to show John the power of women in a much less communicative way. You inspire me. I am filled with awe when I read of your ability to do your job despite all that surrounds you. Thank you!

At 7/07/2005 8:32 AM, Anonymous Randy W said...

You said its very correctly. The Hell you are in. I still refer to my time in country as the closest to Hell I want to experience. The pure definition of Hell being being the seperation from God. I got wrapped up in the heat, the war around me, the crappy jobs, enviroment etc etc etc. I let go of my relationship with Christ. Hang in there and stay strong through the source of strength. Don't let the green machine take it's toll. Praying for ya!
Note to the chain of command army style. I think this is the big flaw in the pure authortitative leadership style. When all power comes from a rank and there is little accomadition for the real issues in leadership to develop you will always have back stabing, brown nosers and system abusers. You will always have chain jumpers and butt chewing down the chain.
I see your strength and integrity comming out and getting stronger. You have it in you, I know it and am proud of you. One question for you - Where is God in your life in this time of Hell?

At 7/07/2005 1:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once or twice a week I get the old computer up at home and read your blogs, but every day I pray for you and Pat and others. Hope you are holding tight to the LORD; glad He is holding tight to you.

Lots of love, prayers,

At 7/07/2005 3:24 PM, Blogger James said...

Stay strong, righty tighty, remember who you are, remember where you come from...we're doing that for you here every day. Even with the kind of connection we have had, it is hard for me to even imagine what your hell is like over there. Stay close. Lots of love, T.

At 7/10/2005 6:53 AM, Blogger mastablasta said...

Hey LT,

I can give you the scoop on the crash. See me, before I leave. Or just ask the spook! :-)

At 7/12/2005 9:15 AM, Anonymous Randy W said...

Hi Tommi,
I have looked through this a few times now and spent some time looking back at myself. What is the other side of the coin. It is way to easy to find negative in military life and being in the middle of hell on earth. What are the bright spots, the blessings, the little things that keep you going. I remember that I had some of the best friends you could ever want. Sure it is different for you a girl among neandethals but that is a easy negative. What is positive in you life. What good things are you discovering about yourself? What are you proud of? As a been there done that getting old Gizzer there is more about the experience you are in than filling your thoughts about the negative things. Trust me they are easy enough to remember the rest of your life. Make a consious effort to find some good in this so the negatives and bad things do not consume you. If all that your heart and mind chews on is negative then that taste is all that will be remembered and it is a bitter taste indeed. I hope and pray that this is as close to real hell that your ever experience in your life. The important issue is how to come home a better person not a bitter person because that is how you will spend the rest of your life. I know it is hard to see the rainbow from the basement of the outhouse and some things in life you can't change but what you allow your mind and heart to chew on does make a difference for a long time to come. I will be praying for more that just your safety.

PS If your "problem person" is such a problem what can be done to develop them into a better person/productive worker? I think I remember the military way is nail their butt to the wall and crush them with the authority hammer. There must be more to leadership than fus, cuss and chew butt. Has the Army put him in a role he is not qualified to do or is he trying to do something he is not qualified to do? Just think this guy could be the biggest test of your command skills. What are you learning from it? What is he learning from it? Yea I can be a pain in the rear sometimes. The questions come from my own experiences and it gives opportunity for positive growth in that hell hole.


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