08 December 2009

Military Operations And Maintenance...

Now, for those gentle readers who are unaware of certain aspects of military life, you may not understand the particulars of the following story but if you are still game then let me give you a glimpse into certain dynamics of military life. I served in an operations career field (what I like to think of as the brains and common sense part of the equation). My husband has always been on the maintenance side of the house. (what I like to call the brawn of the equation). 

There is a rivalry between both of these parts that at times gets quite lively. It used to be that anyone in any of the munitions career fields (which are on the maintenance side of the house) were considered the bottom of the barrel in reference to the quality of troops. The rabble-rowsers. The trouble makers. If there was a bar room brawl, you could pretty much guess which group of people had started it (and finished it). If there was anyone pulling extra duty because of behavioral problems... well, I could go on and on.

The thing is... they were proud of this reputation. I am always amazed by this. My husband says that our side was boring and his side was fun. ::roll of eyes::

[Lest you think that my husband excelled at this kind of reputation, I am glad to announce that he failed beautifully.  He went to college, never got an article 15 (which is a severe disciplinary action), and was always the one trying to break up the fight.  He just doesn't want to disappoint the other guys by advertising that fact.  This does NOT mean he is an angel.  He is a prankster.  Never maliciously which is probably the reason his fellow airman have not strung him up before now but that is for another post...]

Now the crowd that populate the munitions career fields are quite small and there is no where that you could be stationed, deployed or go TDY (temporary duty) that you would not meet up with someone whom you know, worked with or who, at the very least, knew someone in the field that you knew.

And so it came to pass that on this last trip, there were indeed, people who connected after many years. There are a few people who have been around this field as long as my husband and there was an interesting conversation that took place just before they all left. They were (jokingly) discussing the munitions field reputation and how it has changed...

**Munitions Guy=MG
MG1 "It's not like in the old school when you had to have disciplinary actions recorded in your personnel file just to be considered for promotion."

MG2 "Nah, that's not old school. Old school was when you used to earn a Financially Irresponsibility Ribbon." Turns to the older guy next to him... "Do you remember that?"

MG3 "Yup. I have several clusters on my ribbon, what about you?"  (clusters are devices put on a ribbon that denotes having earned more than one of the same medal)
I'm listening to my husband as he relays this story with a kind of fascinated horror.
Me, "You guys really got promoted with disciplinary actions in your personnel file?" (This is unheard of on the operations side for the most part)

Husband, "I knew a guy who had four article fifteens and he was promoted to be the Chief."
Yeah, there are still things that amaze me about the way things were and in some cases, still are, done on the maintenance side of the house. Or maybe I should say the munitions part of the maintenance side of the house. ;oP (Sorry honey, I couldn't resist the dig...)

(And just in case you do not know... NO, there is NO SUCH THING as an Financially Irresponsibity Ribbon, with or without devices!)
QOTD: "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." Bill Watterson (1958-) Cartoonist, "Calvin and Hobbes"


  1. I've never come across the ops/maint divide and I've spent most of my time around the Army and now, Navy, so this was really interesting to me - thanks.

    BTW, I love that Watterson quote - the wisdom and humour in Calvin and Hobbes helped me survive high school.

  2. My husband is in the Army and I don't even bother to ask questions about WTH he is talking about. I have a huge extended family full of Army folks and ONLY they care to discuss the details of their operations. I nicknamed my husband Captain Grumbles which is a statement in itself of his Army and personal life, lol.


  3. Wiley - I think my husband and I see the divide in how each side treats it's people. I've found operations to be cut throat and the maintenance somewhat more forgiving.

    May - I wasn't talking about operation as in a tactic, but as in an area of responsibility. If you fix anything mechanical, then you are on the maintenance side. If you don't fix anything mechanical then you are on the operations side. I know there must be a clearer way of describing this but apparently my muse is out to lunch!


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