Saturday, January 26, 2013

Night on the Town

Hey All,   This is another entry about SGT Harvey.  He was not one to sit idly by and let anyone catch their breath.  If you weren't stressed out enough, he was only glad to step in and make your life harder. Harvey wasn't as smart as he gave himself credit for.......................I guess I  have been guilty of that at least once.
       Korea 1983. Everyday, we usually had a brief meeting in SGT Harveys office just before we broke for lunch.  Everyday, he would go over the scheduled work that still needed to be done and anything  "extra" that may have came in for an emergency repair or anything he personally decided was going to have to be done before anyone went home at the end of the day.  After the meetings concluded you could count on hearing "Ping!", his favorite word.  I got the impression that he wanted all the men to know that he was the boss........that even I had to do what he said.  Which was a military fact as he had authority of position, but, it didn't stop him from giving out more tasks to have completed than he thought I could get done in a day.   He would say " George, write this down and make sure it's all completed before you leave tonight." I never commented, I just wrote down the things he spit out and nodded my head. It really didn't bother me too much, almost everything he assigned to me was already done as a general rule, but, I wasn't going to tell Harvey that.  He would just think of something else for me to do.
    One day, in Harveys office, the Motor Officer by name of Chief Barnes, SGT Harvey and myself were discussing motorpool operations.  Cpl John, who was new and worked for me, was also there, updating  the list of "deadlined" or inoperable equipment for that particular day.  Cheif Barnes asked " SGT Scarborough, how is Cpl John working out?"  Before I could speak, SGT Harvey, who didn't realize John was behind him,  spoke.  Harvey said "Oh, he's  such as damn screw up!  He doesn't know how to do his job!"   There was a awkward silence as Cpl John turned around with a look of disbelief.  Harvey turned around to see Cpl John standing there and was caught off guard. Before Harvey could say another word, I answered Chief Barnes directly.  I said " Sir, Cpl John is doing a fine job.  We do things a bit differently here as an overseas unit than we were trained to do stateside, but he up to speed and doing a good job.  Don't pay any attention to SGT Harvey, Sir.  He just wishes he was as smart as we are."  Chief just smiled and nodded his head.  A little while later, Cpl John approached me and thanked me for speaking up for him.  I told him "don't take a single word Harvey says to heart.  You are and have been doing your job.  No one is more qualified to rate your performance than I am and certainly not Harvey!"  He thanked me again and went back to work.
   First SGT  Pointer, or Top, as his position is called, was a man that I have the the most respect for even to this day.  He was a great NCO and he treated everyone with respect, no matter what your rank was.  It was his policy to take every NCO who worked in his command, out for a few drinks to get to know them. It was a Thursday, when Top approached me about going out, I appreciated the offer and gladly agreed.  With Charlie and his bio-mother at home, I met Top and a couple of Officers at a popular nightclub around 8 pm.  They all were just regular guys.  We talked and drank beer............after beer.  Seems that they really liked me, because before I could finish one beer, another cold one was waiting next to the last.  Well, I was drunk, good and proper, by the time closing time came around.  Top and the Officers helped me home and Top told my spouse that someone would come by in the morning to pick me up.  They came alright,at 6am, but, I was still drunk and wasn't going anywhere.
   It was 9am before I came around and I knew I was in big trouble.  Technically, I was AWOL, even though Top knew the details.  I hurried as much as a hung over guy could and caught a taxi from the main gate to the motorpool.  It was just after 10 am Friday morning when I came stumbling in the door.  I wasn't shaved, my boots weren't tied and my shirt was hanging open.  My Military appearance was awful ............I was out of uniform.  I walked into Harveys office where Chief Barnes and Harvey were sitting.  I closed the door behind me and tripped while walking past a chair.  Chief  laughed at me and asked "did you have a good time last night?  First SGT told me what happened and where you were before formation this morning. SGT Scarborough, you have always done an excellent job for me and have never made any mistakes.  You have the rest of the day off.  Go get some breakfast and enjoy your weekend. I'll see you Monday morning."   I stood there shocked and speechless.  I thought my career was taking a nosedive and instead I got the day off!  When  I found my voice, I said "Sir, I don't know what to say except............... thank you."  He replied "your welcome, now get out of here."  " Yes Sir!" I said smiling.  I walked out of the office and Harvey followed me out.  He said" George, you may have bullshitted Chief., but, this isn't over.  You will answer to me over this. Your ass is mine."   I paused for only a second and turned on my heel and opened the office door, Harvey didn't follow.  I explained to Chief Barnes exactly what Harvey said, word for word.  He nodded and said  "Sgt Scarborough, go home. I'll take care of SGT Harvey and if he gives you any grief about this, you let me know.  I said there will be no punishment and this is, and will be, the end of it."  I replied, "Yes Sir.  Thank you again Chief."  The men working the motorpool  knew I was in trouble and were waiting around the break table when I went to call another taxi.  I briefly explained what had transpired...........they were surprised as I had been.  Harvey never mentioned that day again.  Chief gave him a direct order to drop it...........he wasn't going to gamble with his career by disobeying it.   
     I know it's hard to believe................ but, Harvey was really disliked by just about every single person who ever had the misfortune of serving with him in the 213th Aviation  Co. Motorpool.  He was likely very popular where ever served.  Men that would have re-enlisted, did not, directly due to Harveys great example.  Men like this are a detriment to soldier retention..........they do our Military a great disservice and are poor examples of leadership and Military life.  I am thankful that I have met other soldiers who were the opposite of men like Harvey.......... like the night is from the day.  How grateful I am for the privilege of knowing  soldiers and leaders like First SGT Pointer, Chief Barnes and many others................they were the faces of men with integrity and honor and their influence has followed me to this day.  These words are all I have to share for the impact they had on my life..............each of them has taught me something about being man.
                      Until Next Time.............................God Bless.

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