It is a strange and wholly unbelievable phenomenon to see how people act when placed in circumstances that should present an opportunity to excel. Instead, many act in an oppositional and obtuse manner that defies logic when it is observed by others who are in the same situation. I speak from experience as I have witnessed this pattern of behavior before and it has never been explained in any manner that would make sense to me or any other person of integrity, principles or honor.
My first real encounter with this was when I was activated for Operation Iraqi Freedom. I was with a unit that had been together for a number of years and I had trained with in the field and on regular occasions. We were augmented with another group from CT and that was the start of the issues. The CT group had not had any senior enlisted leadership for some time and acted undisciplined and unprincipled. We arrived in Norfolk, VA at the deployment center and the biggest miscreant of the bunch showed up for quarters still under the influence from his previous night’s drinking.
Now let’s set something straight, I enjoy my beer as much as the next man but all responsible people know better than to get soused the night before an important day or before you need to be on duty. This principle as lost on the cement-head petty officer who acted like the drunken lout he was, and when we were ready to report him as such, it was keboshed by a senior enlisted (Chief) who didn’t want the drunk’s career to go into the tank. This was not what I wanted to see as these would soon be some of the people I would be risking my life with in short order.
The situation did not get better once we headed to the dirty side of the world, and in short order, I found myself in place with a legion of drunks, liars, cheats and outright malfunctioning jerks. They acted out, cheated on their wives and didn’t care how badly they disgraced themselves or the uniform. I would up transferring out of the unit once I deployed back home after a long and lengthy discussion with the unit XO back stateside. These people were not only risking their lives, but mine as well and without care.
I vowed to never allow myself to fall in with such low-lifes as these, regardless of situation. I would protect my own safety, honor and integrity by walking away from those who would injure any aspect of my personal and professional integrity.
Flash forward to present day and I have witnessed this same phenomenon again, in a small group of people working out here in the Afghanistan desert. They are not part of my group, but have “self identified” by acting out in a manner that is consistent with the lack of morals, character and honor that shows them for jerks that they truly are. They have shown that “Separation from the Flagpole” is something that occurs when a certain type of person (i.e. low-life idiots) get away from a normal situation (close proximity to authority, spouse, family and/or home) and suddenly adopt an “anything goes and screw everybody” mentality that demonstrates for all the world to see what kind of stupid jerks they REALLY are.
It is sad that those who care and try to make sure we do our best in everything we do have to endure the presence of these jerks. They should go elsewhere as in a place such as this; there is no room for error or stupidity. Each can get you and others killed, maimed or so severely messed up that it could take a division of Marines to get you outta hot water.
“Professionals are predictable, amateurs are dangerous.” This is on display among this group of self-centered, low-lifes who are masquerading as someone who should be here when in reality, they should be home, or maybe for most in a place where they cannot effect the lives of good people. If it were in my personal purview, I would have their arses on a plane outta the AOR it would make their ancestors dizzy. They are the worst kind of amateurs, as they have no grasp for how badly they are failing life as professionals, colleagues for those who they work with or as just plain people. It is sad to say but these idiots shouldn’t be allowed to hold any kind of responsibility as they cannot be trusted.
"Separation from the flag pole" should not change a person for the negative, but instead it should challenge you to double your efforts and provide life lessons on how good you can be when under difficult times. That is the mark of a true professional, and something these idiots will never grasp or understand.