11 June 2008

But the interesting part...

aside from the woodchucks and the sparrows, and the incredible evil of the no-beer rule, there is a nifty side to this class I'm taking.

I spend all day sitting in the world's most dull TRADOC-required classes. I taught four hours on the fine details of writing orders yesterday (just in case any of my fellow mid-level NCOs ever find themselves running a Division G3), and suffered through 4 hours this morning focused entirely on Annex Q to the Operation Order - the Civil Military Operations Annex.

Obviously, this sucks. But our instructors aren't real interested in the classes, either, as long as they fill the time required. And so every PowerPoint slide is the jumping off point for whichever of us is treaching the class to ask, "So, who has experience with [whatever] while you were deployed?"

And that's where it gets good. Because in our 16-soldier class, we have one soldier who hasn't deployed. We have people who've worked Civil Affairs in Iraq, and Afghanistan, and a couple who've been to both. We have people who've worked at Echelons Above Reason, and many people who've worked in the dirt. We have people who did the Iraqi invasion, and people who've worked the State Department at Provincial Reconstruction Teams.

It's a lot of experience, it's significantly more current than anything in our texts, and it's directly related to what all of us will be doing at some point again.

Best of all, the nature of our work being what it is, the discussions enable us to pool our knowledge and dream new ways to "slap the Good Idea Fairy out of the air." That is, tactics, techniques and procedures for managing enthusiastic, ambitious and idealistic officers. This is vital to NCO education, and probably is enough to make this tiresome outing worthwhile.