13 January 2008

Disgruntled Dispatch from the field

I got this a While ago from a disgruntled major at large. On a side note, the LDM website recently went over 10000 hits! Thanks to those who have loyally spread the news, even when I have not loyally posted.

So there I was, no s#%t, swear to god…

I just got finished with Iraq after being bounced around the Brigade Staff as the “designated firefighter” (most assuredly a job created for me by an XO that had no inclination to ensure that I had a stable rater or senior rater), and I gets a call from the voice of angelic wisdom himself…my branch manager. After command and Iraq, I made the call to go somewhere that would help ME; look out for number 1 and all that. Little did I know that I should have been looking out for “number 2”…and man did I step in it. So Metatron (the angelic voice of god) tells me that I have some options…most of which suck, but there is one that stands out and looks good. A flash went through my mind, “It looks like the enemy has withdraw, sir. The valley is clear of resistance…and LOOK, there’s a clearly delineated path that leads right through those cliffs. Let’s take that one!!” So, I walked right into the ambush. With a job that has family time (half the year TDY), and a great work environment (a basement in the “historic” old PX at Fort Leavenworth, with the snakes, centipedes, spiders and mice…and 6 other members of the LDM), what more could I ask for? Prepositioning for school maybe? That was the deal. “Do two years in purgatory,” said the all knowing voice of the HRC angels, “and you can go through the gates of ILE and on to your KD assignment!” Besides the 180 days of TDY and bosses that were sent here to be “euthanized”, the community of LDM’s here kept the morale to a level just above suicide watch. Then, 1.5 years into my 2 year purgatory, I realized that branch had sent me into a kill zone. With TRADOC hemorrhaging officers like the air-defense corps getting rid of tactical flexibility, they had made a deal with the golden cherubs at HRC to keep officers for three years, and there was no grandfather clause. So, as I look at another year in the basement, with the rest of my LDM brethren, I make my pledge to embrace the watchwords and stock my bottom right hand drawer with a little bit of hooch. And in the words of Metatron himself…”Wow, that really sucks. They are throwing you guys under the bus. I would really like to help, but I will be going to the Naval War College at that time…HA HA HA, I got mine, sucker!!” Ok…maybe it didn’t go like that, but that’s the way it came across.

LDM Acollyte #137


Chief of Something or Other in a Basment

Somewhere on Ft Leavenworth serving 2-3 for Stupidity

28 November 2007

This is a Joint Service Blog... But...

This is a Joint Service Blog, and We certainly have a "purple" sampling of readers, but... Someone sent me the video posted here and I just had to spread the word. Congrats to the cadets of the Hudson Valley School for Wayward Children on job well done. This Old Grad (and others I am acquainted with) support you!

Beat Navy!

19 April 2007

If Recruiters Can't Go to College Campuses Anymore...

...Then I guess we will just have to find new recruits somewhere else. I got this link from a new reader.

They'll probably make great UAV pilots. Might as well start the DFC paperwork.

Okay... I think that horse is dead now...

12 April 2007

They're Kidding...Right?

Been a long while since I've posted anything. Guess that means I am less disgruntled recently. Does that make me more gruntled? Anyway... on to the business at hand.

We Aviators are pretty cool... Just ask one of us, we'll tell you. That being said, I am going to go out on a limb and say that I can speak for most of my aviation breathren by voicing a collective "What the...?" at the news that UAV operators will now be elligible to receive Distinguished Flying Crosses, Air Medals, and aviation qualification badges.

Granted, I will personally never likely wear a DFC or Air Medal. But I am pretty sure I earned the Aviator Qualification Badge on my chest. I cheated death daily for a year to earn that badge (ask my old instructor pilots, they will confirm that). Giving aviator qualification badges to someone who only risks impacting the earth if they trip out of the control van just makes no sense to me, and frankly, lessens the accomplishments of generations of aviators who have not only earned their wings, but the medals for valor that UAV pilots are now apparently entitled to.

I have a friend who refused a recommendation for an Air Medal while performing duties in the back of a UH-60 in the Balkans because he wouldn't be able to face his father, who earned his as a UH-1 pilot under fire over the mountains and rice paddies of Vietnam. Now people who never even break the bonds of gravity are eligible. The comparison almost seems like a joke.

Hat tip to RofaSix.

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05 December 2006

The Manifesto... Reposted

The League of Disgruntled Majors is starting to get more web traffic, so I think it appropriate to re-post for the masses what we believe...the foundation upon which this august union was based. Therefore, I resubmit for your consideration, in its entirety and unaltered form, our Manifesto as it was originally posted back in August.


We are the League of Disgruntled Majors, a loosely affiliated group of officers in the United States Army. We are comprised mostly of Major’s, though we are certain that there are Lieutenant Colonels and some senior captains who align themselves with our beliefs. We have even found we have compatriots of similar grades in the other armed forces of the United States. We are mostly those who work behind the scenes of an operation to make it successful. We seldom march at the head of formation, kick in doors, fly aircraft, or drive tanks, though we support those who do daily, with little fanfare. We are planners, logisticians, communicators and coordinators. To steal a phrase from the special operations community, we are “quiet professionals” who do our jobs well, though are seldom recognized for it. For our efforts, we are infrequently praised, and frequently disdained by those we support and those we help make successful.

We are patriots. We serve because we love our country and because we agree with most of its policies, though some may be flawed. We agreed to give up personal comfort and personal freedom to serve a cause which we believe to be a higher calling. We serve to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, regardless of the political party in power; past, present or future. We serve the American Ideal.

We have forgone Glory. Many of us used to be Soldiers who kicked in doors and took the fight to the enemy, though we do it no longer. Those we support use the M4 Carbine and up-armored Humvee gun-truck as their weapons. We use MS Office, a laptop, and an internet connection. You will not see us in a Time-Life photo spread on images of war. We will not be interviewed for TV, unless it is on a 3:30 AM C-SPAN airing of a congressional subcommittee meeting investigating US Army expenditures on Non-Tactical Vehicle leases in a theater of war. We wear combat patches on our right sleeves, but those who go off the installation to patrol the streets wonder if we actually deserve them. We are certain we do.

We are lab rats. We are gerbils in a cage. We are doe-eyed white rabbits naively believing the Army will take care of us as it performs experiments on us with monikers like “Task Force 21”, “OPMS 21”, “Transformation”, and “Modularity”. When the experiment produces inconvenient results, we, like other lab animals, come to the cold realization that we are to be euthanized. Or at least our careers are.

We are “They”. We are the shadowy “They-people”. When something goes wrong or a new policy is released, and those around us say “They screwed it up” or “They said we have to do it this way”, we are “They”. We work in invisibility…until something goes awry, then we are in a spotlight hued red by anger and frustration. Those we support don’t necessarily know what they want, but they will know when they see it, they want it yesterday, and lots of it…They don’t care how much it costs, until they get the bill.

We are Cannon-fodder. When we do our jobs well, we are frequently found at fault for it. When we fulfill our obligations, we are deemed “roadblocks”. When we are successful, we are viewed as unsuccessful. Those we report to don’t understand what we do, and have no intention of trying to. As a result, when it comes to advancement, evaluations, assignments, and awards, we are frequently at the bottom of the heap. We are perpetually “center-mass” in order to help build the profile for those our raters do understand. We have reached the point where this surprises us no longer. We will simply keep our heads down, keep working, and see what happens, come what may. We will fulfill our obligations and do our jobs, expecting no accolades from those we support. We know that the Army expects more commitment from us then it will provide to us (paraphrased from the Army Training and Leadership Development Panel Report, lest we be cited for Plagiarism).

We Embrace Ambiguity – Mediocrity – Sarcasm. These are our watch-words. Ambiguity, because if we are lucky, the climate we operate in will be Ambiguous at best. Mediocrity, because regardless of the quality or timeliness of our output and contribution, those we support will view our efforts as mediocre compared to their own. And Sarcasm, because at times the only way to survive to fight another day is through the biting balm of sarcastic humor.

We Look Forward to Our Pay-off. Why do we put up with it and why do we continue? Why not hang up our seat-worn uniforms and join the civilian sector? Because in the end we know our jobs are important and that that our Army would not be successful without us. But more importantly, we know that prior to leaving the Army and entering the retirement rolls, we will be in the most powerful positions in the Army. No… we won’t be generals or commanders, or even high powered staffers. We will likely still be Majors, passed over twice, sitting in dimly-lit offices in the basement of the pentagon, with longer than regulation haircuts, rumpled uniforms, unkempt mustaches and a bottle of scotch in the bottom right-hand drawer of our desks. We will be the most powerful men in the Army because we will be Majors getting ready to retire with nothing to lose by telling you exactly what we think, consequences be damned…We will be the most dangerous men in the Army.

PowerPoint Haikus...Brilliant!

A friend of mine and charter LDM member sent me the link to this site over at NBC-links.com. It is a veritable repository of missives on the "benefits" of PowerPoint. It even has a collection of Haikus, as excerpted below:

OPLAN brief today,
Eyes glaze, heads droop, heartbeat stops.
Death by PowerPoint!

I'm putting in my paperwork for the Powerpoint Ranger tab and 1000 hour Powerpoint Badge next week. I wonder if that goes in on a regular DA Form 4187?

LDM Gear is Making the Rounds!

I got a very cool Email from NOTR at Rofasix today. It seems that a friend of a friend made sure he got one of the first edition LDM Coffee mugs. I am honored that he has placed it in such a prestigious position in his house (in front of his golf ball display)! It's not too late to get your own LDM Gear! You may find the perfect Christmas gift for the Disgruntled Major in your life, or a fitting gift for the office Christmas party you are "highly encouraged" to attend!

02 December 2006

Back in the saddle again, with a little help...

I've been off the net a while again... sorry about that. I just completed my most recent PCS (yes, within 90 days of returning home from the CENTCOM AOR)to the D.C. area. Thankfully, someone has graciously offered some material to share.

Most of us have thought about trying to do something like this. If this guy actually pulled it off... well... fantastic...

"I had a friend (a disgruntled Major) who worked at TRADOC and was on the tail end of his career. Had been passed up for promotion to LTC and was the ultimate disgruntled major who toiled at TRADOC countless hours putting together PPT presentations for a very fickle GO. They would stay up 'til all hours working on a presentation, get it prepared, and then the GO would look at it and say something like, "I think the typestyle for the headers on these slides should be Helvetica Bold instead........" And thus, my disgruntled Major buddy and his cohorts would make the change and spend countless hours jumping through hoops to keep their superiors happy. This type of thing was a common occurence.
Well, when the time came around to update the office roster with names/title/phone numbers, etc., my friend updated his information to read, instead of "Major John Doe, Operations Officer" to read "Major John Doe, Slide Bitch".

He claims that no one caught his little joke and that it got published in the updated roster."


More to follow. I am sure the machinations in DC will provide plenty to talk about. If anyone else has any stories of disgruntlement they would like to share, feel free to send an Email.

09 November 2006

...To Two Fallen Camerades.

Deaths during war are to be expected, but all are tragedies for the families of those we lose and the men and women that serve with them. The only reason I chose these particular losses to write about is because I am a former AH-64D aviator. I certainly do not intend to slight those of other branches, services or specialities who are no longer with us. So take this entry for what it is: A tribute to fallen brothers in arms. I'll keep mine short. NOTR over at ROFASIX said it far better than I could anyway.