A wise speaker one told my classmates and me that he didn’t know what a Sergeant Major did – but he knew what it looked like when a Sergeant Major wasn’t doing his job. I haven’t been in the Army long enough to know what it looks like when a Sergeant Major isn’t doing his job. But, I feel like a unit under a bad Sergeant Major might look something like Congress.
In Congress there is a lot of talking and not too much doing - a problem that I believe could easily be fixed with a good NCO. For example, today I sat in on a hearing for the upcoming sequestration where an array of Congressmen and women drilled two representatives from the OMB and DoD on the looming situation. It took an hour for the room to establish the fact that they all agreed sequestration is a terrible thing with devastating consequences for the country. Had an NCO been in the room, I feel he/she might have immediately recognized the unanimous subject agreement and ordered that there be no more discussion on the matter since further discussion would only be a waste of time. An NCO would probably then have demanded the room figure out a solution to the situation. Not to mention the NCO probably would have rattled off a cliché about ‘training to standard not to time’ to justify locking the Congressmen inside until they completed their duty (being sure to remain and correct them – possibly with a hint of motivating profanity - every time they strayed away from what could be deemed productivity).
Training to standard not to time is a good thing, I believe, even though it can sometimes make a soldiers life a little more difficult. This summer, for instance, I had just gotten back from the final FTX of my training and began to clean rifles and crew served weapons to turn in with the rest of my company. We were all exhausted. For three weeks we had lived in the field, walking for miles upon miles a day with huge ruck sacks on our backs and blisters on our feet. We ate two meals a day and lasted on about two hours of sleep. So needless to say we were ready to be done cleaning our rifles so that we could engage in the simple yet amazing pursuits of sleeping and showering. But, we had to clean our rifles first. 1st SGT Martin from the 10th Mountain Division was checking off the cleanliness of our rifles and he was determined there not be a speck of dirt or carbon anywhere on those life saving/taking devices. We started cleaning at 1100. The first rifle got checked off 6 hours later. It got dark. We kept cleaning. At 0230 the last rifle got checked off and we went to bed. That is 15 hours of cleaning our rifles to standard - not to time.
Congressmen and women are passionate people who care about the country and their constituents. But, sometimes I think Congress might need 1st Sgt. Martin to check them off before they go to bed.