Using the Power


Although I was first a radio operator, then later in supply, I spent an awful lot of time in the orderly room. I had a real affinity for office work, and they always had tons for me to do. So, I would work extra days, or just be assigned to the orderly room whenever they needed. I was even put on temporary hire for a while a couple of times. This was something I did no matter what unit I got transferred into, by the way.

I think I stated before that I spent the two summers between my sophomore and senior years in high school, working through the JTPA at the National Guard, so I had done time in just about every single office in the building. And I really loved it, which is the main reason why I ever enlisted to begin with. I had this awesome respect for all of the soldiers, and most of them treated me with an adult kind of respect that I hadn’t found elsewhere. Everytime that I walked through those doors for years and years, I felt like I had come home.

I was a fast learner, and did every task to the best of my ability. It was nothing for some of the full-time staff to ask me to skip school and help them get ready for an inspection, which I did gleefully. During these first two summers, I learned so much, but had so much more to learn. My biggest mistake was thinking that it was always going to be like this. I was wrong.

After I was raped in Ft Gordon, the whole climate changed towards me. The full-time staff were mostly kind of cold and distant, and I was silly enough to think they would get over it, and realize it was me, and then things would be OK. They never were. It seems that was when they started to try to make my life more difficult, so that maybe I would leave. I couldn’t leave, however, this was my home.

As the months and years progressed, I noticed that they were always trying to get me into trouble for stupid, stupid, and let me say again, stupid things. Something as silly as what color of eyeliner I wore. I liked to where navy eyeliner, and the tried giving me a counseling statement for that, not that they had done that to any other female ever who wore navy eyeliner. But then I pulled out the AR 670-1 and pointed out that navy eyeliner was OK, it was not OK for fingernails (at least at the time), but that it was perfectly OK for eyeliner. That pissed them off.

Next it was about my fingernail polish. The regs at the time stated that a female could where fingernail polish, as long as it was not a bright, un-natural color. I always chose a basic beige or tan color, sometimes brown, but the always were on my case. It got to the point that I ordered my own copy of the AR 670-1, so I could keep it where I needed it whenever they started their crap all over again. Each time I was vindicated, but that only seemed to make them more determined to destroy me. After a while, I decided to play their game, and always came with whatever color eyeshadow, eyeliner, fingernail polish or lipstick that would push the envelope while staying withing the bounds. They never did win.

We had reached a stalemate after a few years, and the Training NCO at the time told me that when they gave me the knowledge of the regs, and how to use them, they never excepted me to use the power behind it. And he asked why couldn’t I just be a good little soldier like other females. I simply stated that it was in the regs, that I could wear what I was, and why did they have such a big issue with it. It was because they couldn’t break me, even then. Other females had started coming to me, from other units even, to find out exactly what the regs had said. This just caused more turmoil.

I know it might seem silly, fighting for years over what color eyeliner to wear, but  it was allowed according to the Department of Defense. Why wasn’t that good enough for any of the units in my building? I will never understand. And when something as ridiculous as that happened, I feel like I have no choice but to stand up for what is right. I believe the regs have changed since I was forced out, but that doesn’t change the principle of why the cadre and full-time staff tried re-writing them.

Brigid

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One Response to “Using the Power”

  1. enemyinthewire Says:

    Brigid,

    You know as well as I do that it isn’t “silly.” It is part of the way that they maintain Power and Control. Once a “bully” NCO has you powerless – you are theirs for any reason they want.

    I saw the same things in my unit. Yup – believe it or not…Brigid and Joan were in two different units in two different MOS’s.

    It is just “diseased” in our state.

    Joan

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