Outside of outrageous stories and ass slapping good times; I learned a few great lessons. I learned a lot about leadership from those that failed at it.
This story was about one of the E6s above me that set poor examples for everyone else. I felt like it led to one of the worst retainment numbers (re enlistments) in our battle group.
As an E3 who had a myriad of problems, I didn’t know who to look up to. I had an e5 who had punched an e7, clearly showing no self-restraint. I had another E5 that would skate out of work and then threaten us when we called him out on it. There was a shortage of anyone that could instruct us on how to be a leader.
I had an E6 who would rather brag unmercifully about his street cred. I had another who sounded like a poorly educated hick who would rather bitch about anyone who didn’t know what he did. But the idiot who took the cake was “Mort”, a piss poor excuse of a sailor from some shit hole in the north east.
Mort would needle anyone within arm’s reach. On occasion he would do training for junior personnel, but it wasn’t that he was that great at his job, but he benefitted from Reagan era budget surpluses and infinitesimal promotion opportunities. His stupid stories got old. He wouldn’t leave people alone, including yours truly.
His mouth never ended. I was often at the receiving end of jokes and questions that most men would shy away from asking another about. It rubbed me the wrong way, but I am the forgiving type. But the thing that took the cake was that he disappeared off the ship during an important time, trash disposal and power hookup.
The vast majority of people know that the junior personnel were overwhelmed with trash and power. We could use all the help we could get. I remember going outside to hook up power and looking up to see him bouncing off the ship with his smirk/hook nose. I had brought it up before on how shitty it looked.
Trash and power were the mandatory steps in front of the crew leaving. People scoffed when I brought up the idea of E6s taking the trash out, instead of ironing and leaving the ship.
I fondly remember those piss poor leaders leaving the ship and their better replacements arriving. I was happy although it was too late. The one saving grace; when I saw several of my new E6s take the initiative and help us take out the trash. The gents recruited their own kind to haul off trash. I had even asked why. The answer: We wanted to get everyone out of here faster.
I didn’t stick around to hit E6, but I imagine that I wouldn’t cry if someone asked me to take out the trash. I still volunteer for it at my workplace now.