Camp San Luis Obispo
As a military officer, you become accustomed to certain courtesies and privileges when on base. When a group of JAG officers is given orders to muster at a facility that is 200 miles away for a three-day conference, the event comes with certain… well… expectations.
This was not one of those weekends.
I am writing this blog tonight from my bunk, sitting cross-legged on my rack in the barracks with a bunch of grumbling JAG lawyers all exhausted from a day of “death by power point.”
We were ordered into formation this morning at 0400, and with the exception of three 15-minute breaks for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the commissary, we went all the way to 2100 before we were marched back to our home away from home.
During the time that we were poring over legal cases involving random Article 15s and, of course, the mandatory sexual harassment training, we were given the passing news that the US bombed Syria.
It would have been nice to find out a little bit more about that…. but, hey… we had no internet, and we were doing some very important Army-type stuff.
Many of you know my law partner, Cosmo… While I am a lowly Captain, Cosmo towers over me as a Major.
He once told me that, “It is the divine right of all military personnel to complain.”
I never really understood that until this weekend.
All joking aside, this conference has proven to be invaluable.
If you are not aware of the truly remarkable JAG lawyers we have in California, you should be.
(If you have arrived here from our newsletter, continue reading here…)
There have been a few times in my life when I have felt completely and utterly outclassed. My colleagues in my JAG unit honestly represent some of the finest legal minds in all of the United States. The brain power that this unit generates is truly staggering.
With all of these lawyers, let’s throw in a couple of Army Surgeons, two Army Psychologists, and, just to make sure the humor between the ranks stays acceptable, two Chaplains.
All training has some inherent value, and, while the whole is important, there are often nuggets of brilliance that may be overlooked.
One of these nuggets stood out enough for me to decide to write this entry. It has to do with training, and it came from a Chief Warrant Officer.
“Every day is a training day. Some days are emergency days. You can schedule training days…emergency days schedule themselves.”
This really hit home.
We spend a lot of time training. That is by design.
That is also something we can “schedule.”
We know that at 1615 we have a 4M class at Artemis.
I know that at 0745 I need to report to my JAG shop for legal training.
What I don’t know is when the bad guy is suddenly going to show up and try to kill me.
I can’t schedule that.
So I train constantly, I train consistently, and I train with purpose. At the end of the day as I go to bed, I know that I had a successful training day. Every so often I go to bed a survivor… knowing that I either survived, or avoided entirely, a violent encounter. That night I go to bed knowing I had a successful emergency day.
When we don’t have regular training days, we are not, by definition, prepared for the irregularly occurring emergency days.