The gathered staff stands to attention from their seats as the Battalion Executive Officer enters the conference room.
“Take your seats,” she says, making her way to the head of the table. Arrayed around the room and now sitting back in their swivel chairs are the various leaders of the battalion’s staff sections and special staff. That includes me, the Battalion S1. I’m the personnel officer for the battalion, sometimes called the Adjutant, which is a title that refers primarily to my traditional ceremonial duties.
“Alright put your AR glasses on, and let’s get this started,” the XO clips. The staff complies, each member donning their pair of translucent augmented reality holo-glasses. I do the same. Within my field of vision, a PowerPoint slide titled “Staff Huddle” fades in.
“Excellent,” the XO continues, “6, you got the secured local wifi working again, good job.”
The commo officer replies, “Yes ma’am, it just took a little while since we couldn’t install drivers from a flash drive.” DOD banned the use of removable flash drives in 2008, and 20 years later the moratorium is still in place. Old habits and all that.
The XO nodded. “We have to make this quick. The old man has to leave to pick up his husband and I have to corner him in his office for signatures before he takes off. Adjutant, get us started. USR’s coming up—what’s our top personnel shortage?”
The slides before my eyes flip to my section’s quad chart as I start briefing. “Biggest concern right now, ma’am, is the 46 Foxtrot we’ll be losing next month. We don’t have a replacement inbound yet, so we need higher’s help hooking that up.”
“Remind me what a 46F is,” she says.
“Uh, that’s the Social Media Specialist, ma’am.”
“Right, and when does—what’s his name? When does he start clearing?”
“Specialist Stephens, ma’am. And ze starts clearing week after next. One of my guys with the I6 ‘Twitter’ ASI will cover down on all the social media pages.”
“Good coverage, 1. Make sure hir award is squared away.” I say, “Roger that, ma’am,” and she moves on to her next target.
“Shifting gears, Jade Helm 28 is right around the corner and we have an assload of logistical due-outs still flapping. S4, what’s—”
“Pfft, Jade Helm,” the assistant S3 rep chimes in. “I still can’t believe President West authorized another one of those exercises.”
“Seriously,” the Battalion Maintenance Officer agrees. “I mean, I voted for Yeezy and all, but I didn’t think he’d just let the same old status quo continue, especially in his second term.”
The XO cuts back in, “alright, stop the sidebar conversations. We really need to start wrapping this up. Just a few quick notes. 4—get with me offline about the special equipment for Jade Helm. We need to make sure we get some of those new robots for countering the Russian bazooka-drones.
“So everyone is tracking, that new L-T we got a couple months ago, uh—” she shuffles through her notes. “—Lieutenant Amanda Smith. She graduates from Ranger next week, first time go. Make sure to say congrats when she gets back.
“Lastly, everyone here—do your Information Assurance online training today and get your certificate to the 6 so he can make sure you don’t lose your AKO Cloud access. That’ll be all.”
The staff stands up and renders a hand salute along with the battalion motto, and the XO reciprocates.
“Oh and 1,” the XO adds with a smirk as the group begins to disperse. “Change of command is coming up. Make sure you’re ready for the Adjutant’s Walk!” The room laughs as I regretfully say, “Yes, ma’am.” No amount of new technology can make that indignity go away.
As we exit the room, I overhear the S4 and S6 talking.
“Did you see that article in the Army Times?” the 4 asks. “They’re talking about changing the PT test.”
Some things never change.
Note: This is something totally different from what I’ve been writing. It’s a fun thought exercise I had about military culture (specifically Army staff culture) and norms therein and how they evolve over time. I hope you enjoyed it, but if you bristled or took umbrage at anything I wrote here, try to keep any bigoted comments to yourself. Thanks!