We were in the locker room for swim qual – gear a-ready – when the instructor told us to leave everything and follow him to the pool – leaving the gear adrift. [Sorry not to build suspense into the scene of the crime, but the real story comes in a bit]. Returning to the locker room, my Kevlar helmet and that of a corporal’s was gone. We continued with our training.
Back at our company we had to fill out a missing gear form so as not to be helmet-less in combat. The corporal and I had to see the Company XO, Lt. Gremlin, named as such because she resembled the sexy gremlin in the classic holiday film, “Gremlins 2.”
Waiting outside her hatch the banal conversation between she and the corporal was brief, and concluded with her signing off on his new Kevlar helmet. All seemed well with the world. He left, I entered, stood at attention, reported in, and was then put at ease, which really meant modified parade rest, so I was not actually at ease; nor should I have been.
“Why are you here?” she asked, displeased.
“My helmet was stolen at the pool.”
“What do you want me to do about it?”
“I was told to fill out this form and see you,” I answered – feet shoulder-length apart, hands behind my back, which is a truly appropriate position for a verbal slapping.
“So,” continuing with all questions and no answers, “you think you shouldn’t be held responsible for losing your gear?”
And that’s how it went. She concluded that even though the corporal and I were in the same place at the same time for the same incident that he should have his helmet replaced, but I should have to pay for a new one.
She dismissed me. My platoon sergeant, the one I reference in the “Tradition” story, got a helmet for me.
Lt. Gremlin the Thief
Now, Lt. Gremlin didn’t just get her name because of her appearance. Honestly, the sexy gremlin in that movie was kind of hot; I mean, she was certainly down to get down, and wasn’t shy to make her feelings known. Lt. Gremlin earned this nickname for being repugnant, just as others earned good ones with their virtue.
Standing outside the company office around this time she is talking to SSgt BadAdvice about a fender bender she had been in. Out loud, in front of many junior marines, she is trying to talk through how she can parlay her minor accident into major repairs, which some people – like claims adjustors – would call insurance fraud.
What, does she think she’s not responsible for fixing her own car?
Does she think someone else should pay for things that are hers?