Well Dear Reader, I have got to tell you my theory on NCOs. NCOs are non-commissioned officers. Basically, we're talking about corporals and every species of sergeant. Now, there are many good NCOs out there. One of my daily hopes is that you are reading the blog of one, even though there are many places where I could do better serving the folks who work for me. It's a trite thing for commanders who treat their units like crap to say, but NCOs really do run the Army at a very basic level. But friends, sadly there is many a sergeant out there who could rightly be called a "bafoon."
There is one such sergeant in my unit who has been hanging around the armory for years. He's stayed on through an ever moving stream of commanders, first sergeants, sergeant majors, everyone. This is a person who has happily maintained his rank of sergeant, E-5 and shown no ambition of ever advancing further. I once asked a friend of mine who has been in the S1, a former beurocrat if you will, how long it's been since this sergeant put in a promotion packet. My friend, who's been with
the unit more than a decade, gave me a blank look and said, "never, as far as I know."
This sergeant, let's call him Manny, nevertheless has the single most concern for appearances of anyone I have ever met. He is always pointing out to people how things would fall apart without him. Manny's always reminding his soldiers of, what he assumes, is their absolute incompetence in his abscense.
Despite his belief that not a one of his soldiers have the brains to shave unless he instructs them to each morning, SGT Manny regularly fails to remember all the members of his squad by name. Hilariously, he often believes that soldiers from other parts of the unit are in his squad. In fact, he once complained to out his first sergeant that a certain PFC was never showing up for formations. A PFC who, it turns out, wasn't even in the same company.
However, SGT Manny's most delightful trait reveals itself after any formation where information is put out. After these formations, he gathers his soldiers around him and puts the information out again. Now, don't misunderstand me, plenty of responsible NCOs do this sort of thing. Saying it twice is a good way of making sure people hear it. However, what sets SGT Manny apart is how he gets the information wrong. Instead of repeating the actual information, he angrily and forcefully says whatever sounds good to his own ears. Thus misinformed, SGT Manny's soldiers spread across the hinterlands looking for the right place to be.
Now, Dear Reader, don't think I'm being too judgmental. There's a simple equation I use judge leaders. At the top of numbers one through ten, you rate how much a leader honestly cares and works for her or his soldiers' well being. On the bottom, you rate how much recognition a leader wants. Simple and easily mastered criteria. Guess how SGT Manny measures up?