The Ballad of QA (part II, the Sergeant Strikes Back)

After finding out that QA had been wrong, and watching him eat his liver as all the equipment moved back into the building where it was required to be (I will admit I might have enjoyed it a bit more than was entirely healthy) the time came for him to unleash what he considered to be the sound and the fury.

The weapons in his arsenal of vicious justice included such hits as ‘paint new lines in the parking lot’ and ‘clean graffiti off of buildings’.

Unfortunately for him, both the lines and the buildings were new. The lines were still shiny and yellow, and the brick hadn’t even begun to fade, leaving QA with no leadership strategies available to him. One day the muse was upon him: everybody has that container filled with sand that is used for cigarette butts. In most cases it is an ammo can, or some similarly sized container.

In this case, with hundreds of people, the container was an oil drum. With this much sand to spare, people (myself included) would simply push their cigarette butts under the sand, and go about their day. QA simply knew that there must be hundreds if not thousands of butts under the sand in dire need of removal, since we all know that un-sorted cigarette butts represent the collapse of western civilization.

QA announced Friday after lunch that the entire shop would not leave until I had sorted every single cigarette butt from that oil drum. Plainly counting on the mob justice that the Moron Corpse is built on to ‘yank me back into line’, I asked him in front of two SSgts and the Gunny if that meant that everyone could leave, if and only if I finished the drum. He pointed out that I also had other tasks to accomplish, but agreed.

He plainly did not consider the implications of this statement, and returned from a 90 minute cigarette break at his place in base housing to find the shop empty, apart from me, the two SSgts and Gunny. He angrily demanded an explanation, and Gunny happily filled him in that I had knocked the drum over, raked the cigarette butts out, and blew the sand back into the oil drum with a leaf blower.

This would be more than QA could bear. He had lost his fight to keep the building shiny, had lost his appointment as HAZMAT NCO (which had been used for disappearing from work more than anything else) nearly been disciplined for blatantly violating regulations and orders, and had just been publicly humiliated by someone smarter than him. (In QA’s case, this was not hard. I consider it akin to being the finest opera singer in El Paso.)

QA had watched his superiors systematically abuse their ranks in his previous MOS, and was upset for three reasons:

First, there were many more sergeants in the air wing, and he wasn’t as scary as he thought he would be.

Second, all of the procedures he thought he knew no longer applied. There were many things that were done differently in naval aviation than in motor transport (tool control, FOD, etc.) and he just couldn’t get it.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, he couldn’t see everything from the door of the van that he had decided was his office. This meant he actually had to get off his ass to chew people out.

He had attempted to wreck shop when he arrived, until he found out that 3 of the other sergeants were senior to him, and didn’t want anything to do with his reckless asshattery.

Soon enough (by waiting around, because that’s what makes good leaders), I picked up sergeant, and he about lost it. There was no way that someone who wouldn’t suck E5 cock first thing every morning was worthy to be one.

His attempts to ‘get me back’ ranged from the futile:

1) I was charged as UA for having left a safety stand down. His evidence was that he had seen me at the PX. If he had been attending the safety stand down as I was, how did he not know that it was chow time?

2) I was charged with conduct unbecoming for tossing bread under the vans to feed our resident rabbit, who the ladies had named ‘Corporal Fluffernutter’.

3) I was dragged before the Equal Opportunity Officer because my bald head. I was tired of paying $10 twice a week to maintain a haircut, because for some strange reason my hair started growing in two different colors. (I am told this is not uncommon, and I grew out of it. It was a pain in the ass to maintain to jarhead standards, so I shaved it)
Couple this with a maween regulation mustache and it’s almost impossible not to look like a nazi. As I mentioned QA was black, and this therefore constituted an attack against his race.

To the laughable:

1) He made a remark that was actually something resembling clever. When referring to a corporal, he said ‘He had better be like EF Hutton, when he speaks, you listen’.

Someone asked who EF Hutton was. His reply was that EF Hutton was an American cavalry officer in WWI, and his advice was so good that it was always listened to.

After a moment, having determined that this guy was actually serious, all the marines who remembered the EF Hutton TV commercials collectively roared with laughter as they realized how full of shit this guy was.

I was accused the next morning of having orchestrated that ahead of time, and having made him believe something that wasn’t true.

Again I was selected to clean the butts from the cigarette can, and specifically told this time that I could not tip the sand out of it, because it represented a FOD hazard, and we were no longer allowed to use leaf blowers anyway.

This time, I grabbed an engine hoist, and lifted the can on top of a 200kw generator, which was due a load bank test. I dropped the load on to the generator and, as the engine worked to handle the strain, the butts worked their way to the top of the can, where they were scooped into a bag and disposed of.

Apparently this constituted failure to obey a lawful order. As far as he could remember, I had been told to go through it by hand, individually picking out each butt. Nobody but him could remember this order, but that did not stop him.

Before the day was out, the charge sheet was on its way.

Submitted by: Billiam201