Sometimes Marines think they are indestructible; to their own detriment. Sometimes we have too much pride to say I need help or I cannot do everything. Twice in my 30-year Career I had to tell my superiors they were giving me too much.
During 1992 I was an infantry instructor at 1st Marine Brigade, Schools Section. I was the primary instructor for STA Course and an assistant instructor for the Squad Leaders and Jungle Warfare Courses. It started with me being only a STA instructor (the only one). The next thing I knew I was teaching Camouflage and Concealment, Radio Communications, Calls for Fire, etc. at each of the courses. I was being overwhelmed with my primary job and all collateral instructor duties I was getting. I went to the MSgt:
Me: MSgt you are killing me. I cannot teach at every course and maintain the STA course at the same time.
MSgt: I thought you Grunts were supposed to be tough (he was an amtracker). Stop complaining, the best instructor gets the job; you teach Camo, Comms, Call for Fire, etc. at the STA course, it should be no big deal to teach them at all the courses.
Me: MSgt, this is BS. I have to work twice as hard as any other instructor under you.
MSgt: I do not care, SGT. All I care about is that students get the best product possible.
Me: But MSgt.
MSgt: Stop SGT; it is how it is.
The OIC (Officer in Charge) heard the conversation and joined in.
OIC: MSgt, what is going on here?
Me: Sir, the MSgt is killing me with duties, way beyond my job description and it is hurting my primary duties with the STA course; and my non-existent family life.
OIC: Are you saying you cannot handle your duties?
Me: (Furious and about to lose my mind with these two) Gentlemen let me put it like this. I am like a finely tuned engine, they run great as long as you take care of them, but if you abuse them and neglect them, they BRAKE – sometimes forever.
Luckily for me soon after this I returned to 3/3 STA for anther deployment.
Fast-forward to 1995 when I was a Helicopter Rope Suspension Training (HRST) Instructor at III MEF SOTG. Being an HRST Instructor was good duty with plenty of time off. That all changed when I became a Jump Master and took over all of SOTGs Airborne Operations in 1995. To add to that, the DM (Designated Marksman) Course Instructors asked me to assist them from time to time. Before I knew it was working at HRST, R&S and running Airborne Operations all at the same time. It just got to be too much. I went to the Colonel and MGySgt and told them it was just too much for me. The MGySgt basically told me to STFU, but the Col listened.
Col: What do you recommend SSgt?
Me: Sir, I request to be transferred to R&S permanently and I will still run the airborne ops; just remove the HRST element and I think I will be good to go.
The next day I was transferred to the R&S Section.
The moral of the story: If you are being screwed, and you do not say something, then shut up and stop complaining.
Photo: FBI SWAT Course MTT 1993. I was the primary instructor for US Army and Marine Corps PMs, SWAT officers from HPD and SEALs from SDVT-1.
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