Doing What’s Right


Step, trustworthy, step, loyal, step helpful…

I have an officer in my unit that my wife and I refer to as Major Burns. Everyone else in the unit refers to him as Maverick. His name isn’t Burns and he’s not a Major. We refer to him like that because he remind us of the character from M*A*S*H. You know the officer who reads the rule book exactly as it is written and thinks he knows what he’s doing when he doesn’t. The guys in the unit call him Maverick because he keeps going off half cocked and gets excited and spun up about stuff he doesn’t need to and doesn’t understand. He’s my officer and I need to set him straight.

Step, friendly, step, courteous, step, kind…

When I was twelve or thirteen I took my first trip to the farm with my Scout troop. While we were their there was a Scout who was tying to get to the next rank. One of the things he had to do was memorize the Scout Law. This is twelve points that all Scouts agree to live by. Sort of our code. My Father was the Scoutmaster and it was his Scout so it was his job to set him straight. My Dad took the Scout for a walk. Every step they took they would say one of the points of the Scout Law. This way, my Dad figured the Scout would remember them. How long could it take? An hour or so? My Dad was out with the Scout for a good three hours. It took longer then he thought but the Scout knew every single point and remembers the story to this day.

Step, obedient, step, cheerful, step, thrifty…

Part of my job as a Warrant Officer is to be a teacher and a mentor. It’s actually in Army regulations. A Warrant Officer is a technical expert, mentor and leader. So part of my job is to train enlisted Soldiers and mentor junior Officers and advise the senior leadership. The right thing to do is to train Major Burns so he understands what he is supposed to do as an Officer in our field. Well, with Maverick it’s hard. He thinks he is right and that his rank makes it so. He is by no means a stupid man. I need to make that much clear. He’s just ignorant. Stupid is forever, ignorant can be fixed. He is just very dense and is slow to get the hint. How much time do I have to spend on him? How do I reach him when I’ve used every technique I know? How long do I spend with him before I give up?

Step, brave, step, clean, step, reverent…

It’s been six months now. Maverick has gotten a little better. Before he didn’t want to listen to me, know he defers to me in matters of our technical speciality. He even listens when I make the odd suggestion for the management of our team. Unfortunately, the mission we were on is over and we are waiting to find out about a new one. The CO is kind of  self-centered who seems to be more concerned with how he looks and the trappings of authority rather than taking care of the troops and the mission. As such, Maverick is reverting to his old ways. Not considering the big picture and not listening. Part of a Warrant Officers job is to do what is right. Part of a Warrant Officers job is to be a trainer, expert and leader. How long is this going to take?

Step…

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