Monday, September 21, 2009

My New Job--Then and Now

Abel is the dancer in the middle. 1-70 Armor Motor Pool, Weisbaden, West Germany, 1977.

As I mentioned Saturday, I have a new job. Not, of course, in the sense of I am moving to a different base or even eating in a different chow hall or, God Forbid, wearing different clothes. But I will be doing public relations work full time for our battalion. For those not keeping score on my work life, until Saturday my duties were the following list:
--Squad Leader
--Maintenance Team Leader
--Echo Company Public Affairs
--Battalion Public Affairs
--Morale, Welfare, Recreation NCO
--Drug Test NCO

My new duties:
--Battalion Public Affairs
--Echo Company Public Affairs
nothing else!

My best friends from the 70s, Abel Lopez and Cliff Almes will think this is very funny, back to the future, circle of life, reincarnation or whatever metaphor you use for history repeating itself.

On December 23, 1977, one year and three months into our three-year deployment to Germany, our new brigade Command Sergeant Major had an NCO meeting at 1030 hours. Hundreds of us filled the base theater. Our CSM, by the way was 48 years old and could still do the weekly brigade 4-mile run. All of us were astounded that someone that old could still run. He was a tank gunner in the Korean war according to some of the legends surrounding him.

Anyway, the CSM wanted a line company sergeant to be the brigade public affiars sergeant. He did not want "ragged-ass sissy Army journalist writing about real soldiers." I had a story on his desk before he got back from lunch. I got the job. And most everyone in the tank company I left was some level of envious.

So 32 years later, eight months into taking a year off from public relations to serve my country, I am full-time PR again with a very limited wardrobe and drastically reduced salary. Cliff and I are going to be talking Wednesday night. Cliff really liked Germany by the way. He is Bruder Timotheus, part of a Franciscan Brotherhood in Darmstadt Germany in a place called the Land of Canaan. Cliff was my roommate in 1978 until he got out to become a novice at the monastery where he still lives. I will try to call Abel also. He was commander of the tank next to mine in the first platoon of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 70th Armor. He is now a retired fire captain in San Diego.

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