Thursday, February 19, 2009

"What Exactly is a Processing a Person?"

Today I was the escort for a soldier who is going home and not deploying with us. I told a friend who is a chemical engineer that I was getting this soldier processed.

"Processed," he said. "What Exactly is a Processing a Person?" He said his mind went straight from chemical processing to food processing to processing a chicken. I laughed at the image then told explained that processing in the Army means filling out all the papers necessary to get someone in, out or to a new duty assignment.

I could have posted some really disgusting chicken processing photos, but the cut-in-pieces image seemed appropriate.

I will try to be careful to explain the acronyms and Army-specific terms I use, but every day I am being "processed" further into the abyss of Army language. I am re-reading Strunk and White (The Elements of Style) now so I keep standard English in my mind while the acronyms pile up.

By the way (BTW), my friend knows by now that any three-letter military acronym with the letter 'F' in the middle is always the same participle used as an adjective. So a BFR (Big F#&king Rock) is a large stone and if a soldier uses it, BFF may or may not mean Best Friends Forever.

Every Week in Cold War West Germany, Gas Mask Drills

Every week during my three years in Cold War West Germany,  the Tankers of 1-70th Armor had a MOPP drill. Gene Pierce, Abel Lopez and...