Sunday, October 21, 2012

Thoughts of a well-spent watch...

The one thing no one EVER told me about when I was considering joining the military was that I'd stand "watch."  "WTF is watch?" you ask.  Oh watch... sweet, sweet watch.  The best kept secret of the military. 

Watch is also synonymous for "duty."  Meaning.. someone is always available to take care of issues.  You'll hear, "I got the watch."  That means that you no longer have to call 911 if the building catches on fire, you don't have to record "all conditions normal" every 30 minutes in the legally binding log book (that you are supposed to write in ALL CAPS for).  Watch means different things in different places.

In bootcamp, watch meant standing at the door of our compartment to challenge anyone that wasn't supposed to be there and circling the compartment every 30 minutes to make sure no one was doing things they shouldn't be.  You got to carry a fakely loaded weapon and practice your best "recruit handwriting" in the logbook (for recording all clears and if any events took place, like if there was a fight club discovered in the showers at 0323 or a boy in the girl's laundry room with the girl that let him in having sex) and even answer the phone if you were lucky enough to be there when it rang.  Extra duty included snow watch, where if the snow was more than 1/4" you got woken up at whatever time it was in the morning and got to go outside and shovel snow.  As much as I wanted this duty, I ended up never getting to shovel snow.

Once I got to training, watch meant sitting in a ladderwell stairwell for 2-3 hours and ensuring that no guys got distracted and ventured too far down the halls of the bottom floor (where the girls lived) and that no girls got lost and went upstairs (where the boys lived).  There were also other types of duty, like colors (which is when the National Anthem is played and the flag is raised or lowered at 0800 and sunset) and duty driver (where you drive people to their "official business" (ex: medical when it's at another base and they don't have their own method of transportation, pick up incoming personnel from the airport, etc)).  There was also a quarterdeck (the entry point of a space/area/building) watch, but since there were 4 ladderwells, that's where most of the watches were stood.  The quarterdeck watch included making records in the logbook, but only one poor soul was submitted to that.  The quarterdeck assistant got to hand out liberty cards (freedom passes which gave us permission to wear civilian clothes and be out in public) and they got to collect them as people came back to the barracks.

When I was in GTMO, duty was sitting on the quarterdeck entry point of our building to check badges for everyone that came in since the space was only available to select people with the proper clearances.  This watch lasted for 12 hours.  The day watch consisted of mostly checking badges and calling "Attention on Deck" when O-6 and above walked onto the quarterdeck.  Night watch was totally different where you got to bring your computer in and watch movies/listen to music and check the badges of any persons motivated enough to come in before 0600 and clean and sweep the sidewalks outside (subsequently giving yourself blisters), and calling the main security watchstander to let them know that there were no terrorists detainees free in the parking lot and nothing suspicious had been seen on the cameras and there were no crazy fires every hour from midnight-0500.  The logbook was completely electronic, I was impressed with the techy-ness of this.  Good times.  Really.

In Bahrain, duty was standing on the quarterdeck, checking badges to ensure that people who had the proper clearance to get in were getting in and people that didn't have the proper clearance weren't.  You also got to call "Attention on Deck!" for any and all stars (O-7 and above).  You got to record when all the important folks came and went in the logbook.  Luckily, the watch was secured at 1800 6pm and started at 0600 the next morning.

Here at VX-1, duty includes sitting at a computer in a office space that is mostly windows that gives you a view of the road and the buildings across the street.  You check badges and make records in the logbook when someone checks in or goes on leave vacation or if a fire alarm goes off or any kind of special non-regular event happens.  You get to answer the phone and do lots of call transfers to other people in the command.  I personally think the best watches are holidays and weekends because you don't have to deal with as many people as you would if it was a week day when everyone was at work.  Except that no people means even more time to fill....

And luckily, all that description above took 30 minutes.  Now onto the thoughts of watch..

-Duty driver walked in with the chevrons on his jacket upside down.  I pointed it out to him, and the other 2 2nd classes that were still here agreed that he was wrong.  He insisted they were facing the right direction.  I insisted they were still wrong.  I even showed him my own jacket so he could see what was wrong.  He still insisted he was right.  Finally, I got him to understand that he had them on upside down, not backwards (there is an eagle in the insignia that is supposed to face a specified direction).  He claimed to have looked it up...  I'm a master of looking up insignia directions for this uniform, dude.  You're wrong.  He fixed it after he finally understood.. Which was good because there was no way I was going to even let him be on watch with his shit so obviously jacked up.  It was the first thing I noticed when he walked in.  Note:  He is a 2nd class.

-It's a hard life being an IS.  All of my exam study material is classified, so no studying for my exam on watch.. and what with only 25 BMR questions, I don't feel like that's the information I need to focus on.....

-I'll be productive and fill out the rest of the log book!
-All columns made on every page!
-All pages stamped!
-Title rows created up to letter Q!

-The duty-driver said I needed to regain my sanity so he took the log book away while I answered the phone.  I really just want to finish the rest of the book and be done with it.  Too bad it wasn't as funny as he intended.....

-I'm pretty sure that rice and black beans with cheese for dinner isn't going to be as delicious as I want it to be.

-I WILL finish the rest of the logbook before dinner.

-Total time working on logbook: 2 hours.  We are about 1/3 of the way through the book and I did the lines for the columns and rows and stamped each page for the remaining 2/3s of the book.  The last time I did that was Memorial Day weekend when I had 2 back-to-back days of watch.  I really need more things to do on watch...  It's really a bummer that reading Thought Catalog depresses me too badly.


-Rice and beans and cheese wasn't as delightful as I wanted it to be.

-Phil appreciated his trip to the dog park (where he actually fetched the ball THREE times!) and his free dinner.

-Apparently a little kid called right after I left for dinner asking where "Mike Cock" was.  I'm slightly disappointed I missed this.

-I was potentially going to dog sit this week, then I was definitely going to dog sit this week, then I was no longer dog sitting this week.  I'm trying not to be disappointed, but it's not working out too well.  I was looking forward to an extra puppy-luppy.

-TWO WEEKS TILL VACATION!!!!!!!  Teh Bear says I need to acquire/find some boots.  Apparently, he is very hardcore about this hiking thing.  Now.. where did I put my DCU boots???  Why do I have a feeling they are in the bottom-most container in the storage closet????  Uggggh (not like the boots).

-I take great joy in finding random lint balls in clothing I've not worn in over 6 months.  YAY for lint balls in the pockets of my NWU jacket. 

-I really wish that Google Reader worked on NMCI.  NMCI is the devil.

-I just went to JPAS to see if there was any work-type stuff I could do.  JPAS is down for maintenance..  Why can't JPAS go down for maintenance during the work week?  WTF?  Their efficiency is disappointing.

-Talking on the phone really passes the time quicker than just sitting here.

-Thank you STFU Parents for the entertainment you have provided.  Too bad NMCI will only load the first page of most of the articles I've opened up.  Mommy-jacking is probably one of my biggest FB pet peeves now that most of the copy/paste statuses have disappeared.  Oh wait..  Biggest FB peeve is liking everything that you see on your FB feed and I get spammed until I have to hide your likes/comments.  /wristS

-Screw NMCI, I will play BUBBLES!

-I WON!  I WON!!!!!!  I've never won bubbles before.  I always end up losing, which is disappointing   But this time, I WON!  And there was someone there to witness it.  I once spent 7 hours on watch playing that game and couldn't win the entire time.  I won after playing for 1.5 hours tonight.

-Tried playing Pacman.  I had to be told that you have to eat all the dots.  Megan 80's Fail.

-Tried playing the flying helicopter game.  Good thing I'm not a pilot.

-Played the shooting the disks game.  Felt like a redneck.  Moved back to Bubbles until watch was over.

-Watched my relief pull in the parking lot at 2315.  Saw no one come from the car until 2328.  So much hate.

Overall thoughts:
This duty day wasn't as bad as one in the past have been.  It passed fairly quickly and there was no depressing articles and no earth shattering realizations.  Whew!  Maybe next month?

1 comment:

  1. Just for that I am liking everything you post... :P


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