The Specialist

Specialist is a rank in the Army, halfway between Private First Class and Corporal.  And I spend a looooong time as a Specialist. Incredibly, in all that time, I never did get very good at shamming or ghosting. I was pretty good at bitchin’ though.

4 thoughts on “The Specialist”

  1. In my lomg and illustrious career. I was a specialist three times. The reason for this is long and as convoluted as my Career. I was a Great Specialist. I learned from the Best. “Spec 4 Mafia”

  2. Everytime I read that pack of lies, my teeth grind my blood pressure spikes.

    Never once applied to me. Never tried to bail or blow off anything, but I took fire from all sides regardless.

    I must have drawn the shortest straw in the bunch of short straws at CIF.

    As an E4, I got no end of crap sundaes, buckets of bs with spoons, and deuce sandwiches to eat.

    It felt sometimes all the bad blood and harsh feelings the ENTIRE Army had accrued towards the Sham Shield Mafia since 1955 got zeroed on me . . .

    Was I a bad Soldier? No worse than average and certainly better than more than some. Good PT scores, squared away, worked hard at learning, volunteered for taskings, made a good showing with every weapon system in hand with the exception of a Mk19 . . . made all of them jam-a-matics.

    I was proud to be a Soldier.

    For the most simplest reason of all: I WANTED to be there.

    So what was my crime . . .?

    I went to college. The very worst crime a recruit can commit. Pedophiles are saints by comparison. Potheads, drunk drivers, murderers are forgiven a million times over a boy with a bachelor’s degree.

    That is the WRONG answer.

    I was told by a PRC-E7, emphasis on PRC, that I “Stole [my] rank” . . . and I would “pay for it”. He was fat and passed over repeatedly for platoon sergeant, but as the S3, he could make his life tolerable by taking it out on any enlisted man. And he had me zeroed.

    I EVER see that fat magilla gorilla again . . . I will eat his liver with fava beans . . . assuming he has not been shot in the back by now . . .

    Insanely, virtually EVERY SINGLE THING I learned about being a sergeant was by being shown what NOT to do and how NOT to treat people.

    Eighty-five percent of the NCOs I worked for were the biggest PRCs the Infantry had to offer. Not professionals, they had no idea what that word meant, just bullies who got off on “dicking with joe”.

    There was even a punk E5 medic who liked having “fun” with me . . . until I had my fill of him in iraq and cautioned him to remember that he was not bulletproof and – by that time – I was the more proficient killer.

    There are no specific taskings for the rank of E4 Specialist, it is a useless holdover from the days of Tech Sergeants.

    It should be forcibly retired.

    Anyone can operate an ASIPs as RTO, anyone can be the BC’s driver, anyone can man a Thumper, a SAW, a Thunder Pig, or a Queen Bee Ma Deuce. There is no relevant need to keep necrotic tissue on, time to cut it off and streamline the chain of command. The Sham Shield Mafia is real, it breeds an attitude that is antithetical to our purpose as fighting men. It happens because everyone KNOWS it is a useless rank and that infects the discipline and work ethic of the group. Like cowardess, that infection spreads to the rest of the unit.

    But I never saw them punish cowardess appropriately, either. I am ashamed to say I saw cowardess in the 101st Airborne. Exhibited by NCOs . . . men who are supposed to hold a HIGHER personal standard.

    And it was allowed to SLIDE. So I left the rakkasans and never looked back.

    Never will.

    The enlisted ranks should be Private, Private First Class, Corporal, then Sergeant. Does this mean there will be more PFCs? Tango Foxtrot Bravo, give them a COLA increase and tell them to either shut up or apply to The Board.

    I did apply to The Board, I earned the promotion points, I passed eight pre-boards . . . but I was a college boy, so there was always a mysterious scheduling problem, and no stripes until the Sixty-Ninth. They were angry that Active Duty behaved like that. If my experience in the regular Army had resembled anything like the National Guard . . .

    I would STILL be in the Regular Army.

    Instead, I got a head full of bad memories that on not good days, threaten to outweigh the positive experiences. To my dismay, I have discovered that with a TBI, there are a LOT of not good days. Life is hating me right now.

    Corporal should ONLY be awarded to enlisted Team Leaders to get them on the job training on being an NCO, AFTER they have passed The Board, but PRIOR to PLDC. They should do away with that narcissistic modifier of “Promotable”, as well. It was hilarious whenever some pogue NCO introduced themselves as “Promotable”. I nearly got in trouble for laughing with one particular Power-Point Ranger who insisted on being called “Sergeant Promotable Super Lifer Wha’s-er-Face”.

    She helmed yet another useless sexual harassment class, funny, as she was the type looking to file a complaint of her own if the door even creaked at her upon opening.

    All of this, however comma, would require the Army to take the Infantry seriously . . .

    And we all know that AIN’T NEVER gonna happen . . . not even if things get so bad we are reduced to fighting on our own soil once more.

    The first job in the Army . . . 237 years of service and treated like a bastard stepchild by the pentagon.

    I am still proud and honored that I was afforded the opportunity to serve my country. I was lucky enough to help save lives. I made a difference. I did my very small part in helping keep the enemy “over there”. I miss pulling combat missions, miss being a spear carrier, yet I keep getting bashed over the head about filing for ptsd.

    I am and always shall be a Sky Soldier, 2d-503d Parachute Infantry.

    Considering the current environment, sometimes that is all that can get me through the day . . . and it gets harder and harder to remember the positive experiences . . .

  3. Specialist….. perhaps the most important rank in the army. I have always been a believer that if you can get these, the “informal leaders” of the army on your side, units succeed beyond your wildest imagination. This, of course, requires a good command climate and high expectations out of the NCos, but when you have a crop of senior enlisted “non-NCOs” that want to well, great things happen. When life is bad for them, units do not do well.

  4. The day I was promoted to Spec 4, I was handed E-5 stripes and was made an acting Sgt.. That’s how they got around not having enough allocations for corporal in the MP Corps.

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