First a word of explanation about this poem. One day we came in and my coworker Renslow was getting yelled at by everybody. His job was to be in charge of the New Equipment Training (NET). So if the unit is being issued SX-17 Satellite Detectors, he has to send out emails to all the companies telling them where it is, who can go, when, etc. Also, how many dudes they are supposed to send (this is put out by Brigade) and then he makes sure that everything goes smoothly. For example, sometimes the instructors will be five minutes late, so all the soldiers will leave and then Renslow will fix everything.

Well Brigade has a unique method of letting us (Battalion) know about things. Sometimes they will email us. Sometimes they will hide them away in a little folder on the network drive. Sometimes they will do both. The problem is that you will get an email every day from them, and then something comes down that they don’t mention, but you’ve been lulled into a false sense of security by the emails and don’t check the folder until it’s too late. It would be better if they just picked one method and stuck with it. Well Renslow didn’t check the secret hidden folder. In fact he didn’t even know about it.

When I came in there were three civilian instructors standing in the office. Like all civilians who have dealings with the Army, they looked like prior service. Sometimes the females are married to Army guys, and sometimes the civilians are Air Force, but these three, particularly their leader reeked of former First Sergeant.

“We came down here to train 30 soldiers on the RAVEN and no-one showed up! The Army is paying $84,000 a day for this training and it’s being wasted!”

Renslow who was a nervous guy to begin with, and very serious about his job, was fretfully trying to fix things, jumping from the phone to the computer, then dashing down the hall to talk to someone and running coming back. The civilians left, no doubt pocketing today’s 84 grand, and a steady stream of brass began coming in to yell at Renslow. I immediately put all work to the side and began typing the following poem.

RAVEN – the hand-launched unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) we use to spy on our enemies.
tracker – spreadsheet telling what’s going on
OPORD – memo telling what’s going on
S3- Plans, training, ammo, airborne operations office (where Renslow and I work)
S4- Supply
“HAZMAT schooling with married whores” – Renslow went to HAZMAT school and some married chick kept hitting on him as he told us every day.


Once upon a midnight dreary, while Renslow pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a tracker and OPORD not read before.
While he nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at the S3 door.
“‘Tis some visitor,” he muttered, “tapping at the S3 door —
Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly he remembers, the tasking from last December
Amid HAZMAT schooling with married whores.
While he nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at the S3 door.
“‘Tis some tasking,” he muttered, “Nothing crucial. Call S-4”
Quoth the RAVEN “Nevermore”

And the RAVEN tasking, never flitting, still is sitting,
In Renslow’s Outlook Inbox inside the S3 door;
The colonel’s eyes have the seeming of a demon who is dreaming
As he bursts inside the S3 door,
“Pushups, Renslow, now, get on the floor.”
Quoth the RAVEN “Nevermore”

After I was done forwarding this masterpiece to everyone I knew, I started working on my next mission. No, not actual work. I went across the hall and made one of the intel guys call SGT Renslow on our office phone.
I answered:
“3-509 S-3 Shop, SGT Coach speaking. No, sir. That’s SGT Renslow. Yes sir, he’s here. Hold on, sir.”
I gave the phone to Renslow, my eyes wide, covering the receiver with my hand.
“It’s General Layfield!” I stage-whispered. Now all the officers in our office were paying attention.

“General Layfield” proceeded to light into Renslow, accusing him of waste, corruption and malfeasance. I gave the kid a basic rundown of the situation and a few key names and facts, like $84,000 and RAVEN. He ran out of meaningful things to say and just started shouting gibberish so loud that I could hear him yelling from across the hall. Meanwhile Renslow looked like he was about to cry. Finally, he figured it out and ran over to intel to punish the guilty with a few pushups. Oh, good Army fun.


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