Your favorite “NCO Can’t Do His Job” story

Meritorious promotion boards are a joke.  They are the military equivalent of a beauty pageant.  Marines that excel at PT, uniform maintenance, and false motivation compete for a promotion instead of a tiara.  Many Marines do not like or respect these NCO’s due to the fact that they often cannot perform their MOS properly for someone who is in the position of a working supervisor.

Of the many Marines that I met whom could not perform their job but were meritoriously promoted, Corporal Dickbag was my least favorite.  He was Motor T and came to Okinawa as a Lance fresh from school.  Being a squad leader at boot camp and the guide at school, of course he was more motarded than most boots, and loved to show that shit in front of Staff.  This, along with his 300 PFT, caught their attention and within months he was being prepped for a board.

He won.  Everyone in his section, senior Lances and Corporals alike, hated him and complained about his inability to turn a wrench, so he was made into their paperwork bitch.  If you know much about Marines, you know that the most useless guys are often the most moto and full of shit.

Our battalion loved to cross-train since we had Motor T and a 4th echelon (read: rebuilding shit) shop.  One of the other companies sent a few boots to learn how to do a rack adjustment on an LVS and we needed someone to properly teach them.  Should we have one of the Lance Corporals who have been to advanced school, or should we grab an NCO because…um…he’s an NCO and it would make us look better?  Obviously grab someone that definitely knows what they are doing, right?

Diesel engines have a tendency to “run away” under the right conditions.  When this happens, fuel and air are sucked into the combustion chambers at an accelerating rate, possibly ending in catastrophic failure.  The LVS engine is equipped with a turbocharger, making this possibility much more dangerous but easier to deal with:  Putting a clipboard over the turbo to cut the air supply shuts it down very quickly.  Anyone who has been trained to do this kind of work knows this.

While teaching boots how to adjust this LVS, by reading off a checklist on a clipboard mind you, the engine starts to run away.  Corporal Dickbag panics, looking to his paperwork for answers as one of our Lcpls that happened to be nearby yelled to him to cut off the air.  Dickbag, holding his clipboard in one hand, snatches a handful of rags with the other and shoves his fist into the air shredding 120,000+rpm spinning blades of the turbocharger.  He pulled back a stump.

Put your left hand flat on a table then cover your fingers only from the last knuckle on your index finger to the first knuckle on your pinky.  That is what he lost.

He went TAD soon after that, then passed the recon indoc when his hand healed.  I saw him with a recon platoon in Thailand the next year during Cobra Gold.  They called him Stumpy.

That engine did stop, though, and it was sent to our shop to rebuild.