Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Bully - Part 2

One day an NCO entered the Orderly Room to ask a question about the duty roster and a short leave he wanted to take. Bully was out of the office but under previous First Sergeants I had been taught how to fill out the duty roster and had even maintained it, so I knew I could answer the question. I opened the middle right hand drawer (yup, I still remember it clearly) of Bully's desk, took out the NCO duty roster, found the information, and told the NCO what he needed to know. Putting the duty roster back in the drawer, I discovered that it had been lying on a small ledger which was labeled with my name.


Who would have resisted that temptation?

I opened it and found that it contained dated entries detailing even the most minor infractions I had committed against Army and company procedures. There wasn't enough material in there to justify even a chewing out, but it was clear that he was building a case. I started my own log, concealing it in my room. No need to emulate his mistake and let him know about it.

One payday Bully and another NCO went to the Finance Office to pick up the company payroll. They should have returned within a half hour, but two hours later there was no sign of them. I began getting calls asking when the troops would be paid. I made a couple of calls and a little bird told me that Bully was in the NCO Club, armed, holding the payroll, and getting drunk. I flipped a mental coin and Bully won. I asked the CO for permission to leave and locate Bully and he gave it. I grabbed the Supply Clerk, told him to sit at my desk and answer phone calls, and headed for the NCO Club.

The NCO Club served the NCO's from a number of companies and was moderately busy when I arrived. Several heads turned when I walked in, as I was not of sufficient rank to "belong" there. One NCO from my company asked me rather belligerently, "What are you doing in here?" I told him I was there on business, looked around, and spotted Bully sitting on a bar stool. I walked over to him and saw immediately that he was three sheets to the wind.

He saw me, put on a big smile, and shouted, "Heyyy, Donnie, let me buy you a drink." That's what too much alcohol will do to some people. Friends might want to fight you, but this enemy and I were old buddies.

"Top, you're two hours late with the payroll. You'll be an E-6 next week if we don't go back to the company now."

We did, he got another NCO to fill in for him during the process of paying the troops, and he disappeared. I imagine he went home to sleep it off. I think the CO was preoccupied and didn't realize what had happened, and Bully got away with it. He never did acknowledge what I had done for him.

Several months later I screwed up. One morning I didn't get back to the company from an overnight stay in Vilseck until after I was supposed to be at work. About an hour late, I walked into the Orderly Room, said good morning to Bully, and sat down at my desk.

MSG Bully: "Well, I've got you now, son. I'm going to have your ass busted." He pulled out the little ledger he'd been keeping and waved it at me. "And I've got a lot of stuff I can add to your AWOL this morning."

Donnie: "It's a standoff, Top. I've got one just like that, but the entries aren't about me. My favorite is the one about you being two hours late with the payroll, drunk at the NCO club, holding all that money and carrying a loaded forty-five."


Donnie: "In front of fifty NCO's."

This was a killer for him. There were too many witnesses for him to deny it, and I saw the realization dawn that it was something I could hold over him forever, or at least for as long as we were likely to be together.

Silence again.

Donnie: "I have a proposition for you. You find me an administrative slot that isn't limited to E-4, in another company, I'll apply for it, you use whatever influence you have to see that I get it, I'll leave, and we'll just forget our little differences."

And that's what happened.

And you should have heard him during those phone calls: "Hey, I've got a real good man here who deserves a chance to make E-5 but is stuck in an E-4 slot." ("Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue." - La Rochefoucauld)

I became the post Finance Clerk at headquarters in Grafenwoehr. Whenever Bully needed something done regarding his or his troops' pay, he called, voice smooth as silk, sweetness and light for an attitude, and I accommodated him to the extent that I would anyone else in the same situations.

I don't have first hand knowledge of what happened to Bully later, but in some ways it's a small Army and several years later I ran into someone who had known us both. He told me Bully had been transferred to Fort Knox, promoted to E-8, and then busted back to
E-7 for inefficiency. Cool.

An Ethical Grook
Piet Hein

I see
and I hear
and I speak no evil;
I carry
no malice
within my breast;
yet quite without
a man to the Devil
one may be
to hope for the best.

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