Sunday, December 09, 2007

Bonding experiences

I’ve found over the last few years that I’ve fallen from the path of being the average military party animal but having lived in those shoes at one time, it’s given me a vast understanding of the lifestyle and now coming into a leadership role. Part of my job is protecting the people around me so most nights, I’m taking one for the team and being the designated driver.

I couldn’t count how many times in my past where I wished that there was someone there who would make sure I got home (there were nights when I didn’t make it). Being in the military and in a foreign city, most of the Marines and Sailors I know go out and tear up the town. This trip is no exception.

But unlike the years when I was a junior ranker, now if you get in trouble, chances are, it’s going to kill your career. This is where I come in, I don’t condone the over consumption of alcohol but I have been there and chances are I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if some of my senior leadership wasn’t there to cover my back when I needed it. Eventually, I outgrew the party lifestyle and settled down.

So we went out on our bonding experience as a group, running into people we worked with. One of my junior guys had a bit too much proving his manly hood to his doctor and needed a ride home early.

No problem, he was standing and talking, two good signs. I loaded him up and took off back for base, the entire time his slurring was getting worse and worse. I gave him a large plastic cup and said if he needed to throw up, to use the cup. He looked at the cup and threw it out the window then stuck his arm out and laid his head on it, proceeded to barf all over his arm. Great.

He was still talking and kept telling me the building number he lived in, I went down every street and couldn’t find it so went into work and grabbed the recall roster I had typed up and gave out to everyone (and gave out my last copy from my wallet to someone else) and found his building. Took him up to his room and finding someone to watch him.

Vomit all over my black leather jacket from manhandling his large body back to the room, check. Vomit down the side of Lexus, check. Vomit on my shoes, check.

I took the car to the gas station and washed off the side and my leather jacket. Don’t think the splatter marks on my shoes are going to come out though, sigh.

You know what this is?


I got back to the bar, told the story of the trip back to base and soon thereafter, I drove everyone home, checking a last time on the wayward one to make sure he was still breathing. He’s lucky it’s a kinder gentler Navy and I was acting the part of the responsible one or he might have woken up with a body part shaved.

In reality? If I have saved one life, one career or shown someone a better way to treat those around them, then I’ve done my job as a leader. I’ve seen lives lost and careers go down the tube over one dumb judgment call, one moment of craziness. Do I want that happening to any of my guys? No.

It’s better for me to reel that fish in now then having to go stand in front of the old man in the morning, explaining how I let my guy be such a dumb ass.

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