Monday, October 30, 2006

Mission Accomplished

F Squared remains a team. My conference starts this Sunday, I am pushing to have three enlistments by Saturday night. I will post more from Nashville.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Air Show

I was tasked with doing a set-up for the local air show. I work with another sergeant whose last name also starts with an "F" so my boss calls us "F-squared". So F-squared got two hummers, a tent, a table with lots of brochures and goodies. We also swung getting a .50 caliber to mount on top of the "real" hummer (minus the bolt). I took some shots of us and the boss (SFC Ranger) manning the tent. I also HAD to have some shots of me behind the .50 cal Ma Deuce! LOL.

This is the set-up and a pic of SFC Ranger (on the left) and half of "F-squared" on the right. The "Orange Crush" painted hummer is in the background.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Well I came very near a meltdown on Saturday evening.

I have not had a weekend (both days) off in I don't know how long.

I had last Sunday off, but after going to church (it felt like a chore) it felt like my day was gone.

I have been working some really long hours. I love my job but.....

So I came home after spending all day with my unit and the house was a wreck. Plus I was trying to replace a light bulb in the bathroom. I was working hard on pulling off the glass light cover but the bulb was wedged in there and not budging. I had a George Bailey moment. Remember the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey? Remember when he comes home; the kids are loud, one is banging on the piano, one is crying, his wife is reminding (nagging) him about something, he heads upstairs and the knob on the bannister comes off in his hand. He wants to sling it across the room but he doesn't.

Well, I was there. I began to shout about how much I hated my house, there is no room for anything, the house is SO old (built in 1847), no closet space no room for anything. I was mad because I felt like everything was pulling at me from all sides.

I calmed down, my husband gave me a backrub, my kids loved on me and I got over it.

Sunday I went back to the unit, missed church and came home "early" at 1430. I took a nap and then helped my husband set up bunkbeds in the kid's room. He also helped me organize some things. He also gave me a lecture.

Yes, I am a very good recruiter but have been doing a poor job managing my time.

I still won't have a weekend off until the second weekend in November, but I WILL be taking time off for me. I will slow down and not try to put in 10 people every month. 4 is my limit.

OK, another reason why I was having a meltdown.... I had 7 or 8 people lined up for MEPS. It dwindled down to 4, then to 2. So I took my 2 down. They both passed the ASVAB, passed the physical and the guy announced he had to call mommy, I mean his wife. He called mommy and she threw a fit. He then announces he is NOT going to swear in.

I was in shock. I had worked this guy FOR WEEKS. I had waited for college transcripts and documents, made appointments and interveiws galore.

I was speechless.

We rode home with him falling all over himself in embarassment. I told him it was fine, I understood.

I call my boss later that evening who says "Don't sweat it. He'll call you in a few days saying he can enlist. You'll see. All is not lost..."

I began to think about the people I have been interveiwing for the last two weeks for this MEPS date. I took 3 down to test for the ASVAB at the MET site; a paper ASVAB and taken in the morning with only a few people. Same test, easier atmosphere or conditions. 3 in; 1 out. The other two scored in the mid teens. Sigh. I had my doubts hence the MET site testing.

I had a Med Read (a person with a condition that requires an Army MD to look at the files and ok them to come to MEPS) that never made it to the Med Read list. I found out he was cleared to come to MEPS when I got down there and asked. "Oh, yeah.... he can come down..."

I had a guy who is trying to gain custody of his daughter back. We show up at his house to pick him up to go and he announces he will piss hot, as in won't pass the drug screen. "What?" I say with absolute incredulty. He says "I smoke pot sometimes." What is sometimes? "Like, um, maybe every other day...." How much each day? "Um three or four joints..." Heavy sigh on my part. "So, in other words... you are a pot head." It was not framed as a question. No response. I clairify that he is in a custody battle for his daugther. I say with the utmost clarity.."Listen to me very carefully. YOU ARE LETTING POT STEAL YOUR DAUGHTER. Right?" Silence. "YOU are LETTING **DOPE** STEAL your precious **DAUGHTER**!" ... 'yes ma'am'
I said ok and left.

Then to top it all off, I have the guy who got kicked out of his house (is living with his girlfriend and her family) working at a dead-end job, call and threaten me. Yep. Threaten me. He says his new family does not like the idea of him enlisting with the National Guard. They think he should hold out for the Air Force (the same guy I gave the number of the AF recruiter) and if "you force me to go to MEPS I may just have to say something to disqualify myself". Force him??

This may not sound like much of a threat...but the way he said it was like he would say something to make ME look bad. As in I had done something illegal. I am very above board with my applicants. In fact I record ALL of my interveiws. He knows this. Because he could CLEARLY see my little recorder on the table as we went through his pre-screening process. However who needs the chain of command doing an investigation?? Who needs the stress? I wanted to throttle him. I was amazed at his audacity.

Bare in mind this kid has called me repeatedly over the last 3 months, had his dad call the MAJOR at his unit to find out why SGT Lori has not put him in the Guard!!!!!! Seriously! I told the Major "This kid does not know what he wants to do. He keeps talking about the Air Force." So when little jerk calls and laments he has been thrown out of his house would I PLEASE talk to him...I say yes. Like an idiot. After he threatens me he throws me a bone "If things don't go good with my girlfriend and we break up; I am all for this and I'll call you." Yeah, right, you do that.

So after the episode at MEPS with Mama's Boy I had grown a few more grey hairs. I got up the next morning, went to work at my unit helping them since they just got back from deployment to Iraq and were having a Change of Command. I was proud to help and it was a priveledge to be there. Then about mid-morning I get a call. Mama's boy NOW has permission to join. He is all excited and can't wait to get down to MEPS to swear in.

I call my boss who says "Told you so."

Monday, October 09, 2006

New Army tagline

The "Army of One" ad campaign is no more. Thankfully. I never liked it anyway. It implied that you can be your own person....and you can, but the implication in my mind was of selfishness instead of selflessness, of individual focus instead of team focus. whatever...I didn't like it.

So recently when the Army decided to change its' Ad campaign I was happy! And I anxiously awaited its' new Ads. Well its HERE!! You can go veiw it, download it, send it to your friends. Let me know what you think.

How did I get an advance copy?? I didn't look for it. They found me. Kinda scary. I recieved an email addressed "Note to Miltary Blogger". Hmmm.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

How do I serve....Let me Count the Ways...

Today I attended the Recruiting Batallion's Change of Command. It was long, hot, humid, sweltering, long and only 3 people passed out from standing at attention in the heat. Locked knees will always be your downfall, literally. Part of the ceremony was issuing awards. I recieved the Army Achievement Medal. :-) and that's all I am going to say about that (said in my best Forrest Gump Voice).

Later I met with an executive of a local company that specializes in recording customer service personnel. I need to back track a little. The Georgia National Guard has a pilot program that I was selected (along with 14 others from my graduating class) to participate in. We received some intense one on one training with the top recruiters from our state. We were to record all of our interveiws and briefings with leads/applicants. Then the top recruiters were tasked with listening and correcting. My leader also happened to be Recruiter of the Year last year. So I got some really good training.

I also happened to be the ONLY rookie recruiter that was actually recording all of her interviews etc. I also happened to run into some interesting situations (brain surgery guy) right off the bat MUCH to the amusement of my chain of command. OH YES, did I mention this little recording divice was also being listened to by my Chain?? Can we say Big Brother? In fact I have a section of my Recruiting Bible I made called "Big Brother" that has my notes on the recording training etc. Normally a rookie has a 30% success rate at MEPS. I have a 100% success rate and the other rookies have an average of 70% success rate. Very nice.

Well two short months after I recieved the recorder I lost it. Yep. Could not find it anywhere. They shipped me a new one which never arrived at my home. Then they \shipped one to my office which did not work. I was in the process of trying to troubleshoot it with their techie guy when I got a call from the exec saying he got a call from MUCH higher up that "SGT Fields needs to get a recorder TODAY." YIKES!! He says he saw stars. Literally.

SO after the ceremony I met with the exec. He is a really nice man. We got to talking and I pulled out my newly acquired medal, smiled and thanked him for all the good training. He was VERY happy for me, but also for what the training was doing to help the rookies. He actually gave me a sideways hug!

Then he got somber and shared with me a little of his history.

As a young man he wanted to serve in the Navy. He had all the qualifications and passed the ASVAB with flying colors. However when it got to the physical he failed the eyesight test and was told he had some rather obscure problems with his eyes. After numerous attempts at waivers he gave up hope. He said he always felt sad that he was not able to serve his country through the Military service.

He mention that the new Commander of the Recruiting Batallion thanked him for his service and said "Your technology is helping Recruiters put people in boots and that is helping the War on Terrorism. Thank You." He relayed to me how much that meant to him. I was grinning from ear to ear. Yeah it does feel good to be a part of serving your country in whatever way possible.

It got me thinking about all the ways each of us DOES serve. Even in small ways. It is pretty amazing.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Best and the Brightest

I run across some great kids in my job. I know I write quite a bit about the ones that break my heart but there are many others who are America's best and brightest.

The first one that comes to mind is a girl who is currently in JROTC at a very poor school in a very poor county. Her parents are divorced and have joint custody. So she shuffles between two homes all the time. She doesn't let her circumstances get the best of her. She has worked hard in high school and has a 3.8 grade point average. She has only taken the practice SAT but scored over 1300 on it!! She is determined to serve her country. She approached me to ask about the National Guard and a college in the state (North Georgia Military College) and how she could get the $80K scholarship.

In the following weeks as I began to work with her I realized she had a burning desire to fly and be in the Air Force but thought she was disqualified due to poor eyesight. Yesterday I was attending a local college fair for high schoolers and met an Air Force Officer who just so happens to be the liason for the Air Force Academy!! I picked his brain and asked if this girl could possibly attend the academy or be a pilot. He said she still had a shot and sounded competitive. I got his card and called her father. He was overjoyed. I said "Now if she *is* disqualified from the Air Force I would LOVE to have her!! SO please keep my number!" We both chuckled. A few minutes later I got a call from her thrilled mother. I think they both could not believe I would do that. My husband couldn't either.

I would NOT sleep at night knowing I put this girl in the National Guard when her heart was set on the Air Force. More than that... if she *is* disqualified from the AF, fine.. but at least she KNOWS FOR SURE! And I will feel better knowing I did all I could to help her.

I met another kid recently. He is a tall good looking average American teen. He came up to our table at the college fair and said he had always wanted to be a soldier. He said "I have just always felt this way. I want to serve my country. I want to join the Army, but you can take me now right?" Yep. "My parents are all for it. My dad thinks it is wonderful..." What about mom? "Well, she knows it is what I want to do and the best thing for me, but you know...she worries...." Yeah, I know. "But she is behind me 100%". He has good grades, has never been in trouble, comes from a good family. He is a very impressive kid.

Then there is my "spook". When I was in the Navy we called the people who worked in Crypto "Spooks". They were usually extremely intelligent people who spent their spare time coding and decoding things. Then they went to work and coded and decoded intelligence. One guy I knew could break into any cypherlock!! He said "it's easy!" and would procede to practice on every cypherlock he saw.

Well, I met a future spook one day. He has a very slight frame and thick glasses. He sits quietly and just observes. He has been trying to get into the service for years but has a heart condition. The guy is crazy smart. You know, like Albert Einstein, gets lost in his own backyard but decyphers the secrets of the universe. This kid scored a 96 on the ASVAB. Seriously. What does he want to do for the National Guard??? Spook. His second and thrid choices are MI (Military Intelligence) and Psychological operations. He thinks it would be "cool".

So he is currently chasing down his medical records and I will send it down for a medical review at MEPS. I meet a variety of people who are smart, bright, motivated and dedicated to serving their country. They rarely ask about the bonus or what's in it for them. They want to know how they can serve and where. It is inspiring.