Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Happy to be Using my Voice, if possible

Yesterday, after our drill training when the RSMs (Regimental Sergeant Majors) debriefed us, they asked the entire contingent whether we had anything to highlight or bring to their attention.

I rose my hand and stood up. I told them that our guys will be having a MOPP 4 (Mission Oriented Protective Posture level 4) training tomorrow. In layman terms, MOPP 4 is basically our chemical suits - for use in a CW (Chemical Warfare) environment. Rubber gloves, gas mask, boot covers, protective coveralls, etc. Anyway, this training was for an exercise which we are going to have around 2 weeks later in base.

Point is, there's this MOPP 4 training on Tuesday and on Wednesday, drill rehearsals resume. Concern? We fear we may not have sufficient rest.

What happened later doesn't really matter to me. What I'm glad for is that I spoke up. I stood up for my fellow platoon-mates. I made a decision of not suffering in silence. I made a proactive choice. I have a voice and I'm happy I used it.

Thing is, many of us in the Army have chosen not to speak up (myself included, in some circumstances). We have our own reasons. Many, think that things can be better. Some, think that its possible to take action to make things better. Few, take that action.

I understand. Regarding those who refuse to voice up, I know how they feel. They fear that after offering their suggestion, things may get worse. Superiors may come up with a more adverse consequence to your action. Then, your friends will think that you're trying to "act smart" once again. However, if things do really turn out for the better, your friends happily accept the positive change and forget that you're really the one who triggered the change.

Typical Conversation

Officer: How's training today?
Men: (F*cked up, man!) Outstanding, Sir!
Officer: So, are you guys very tired?
Men: (Of course! Can't you read faces?).........No, Sir..
Officer: Hey, are you all sure?
Guy who speaks up: Erm...actually, training was a little too tough for some of us, Sir.

Reply 1 (ideal/desired consequence).

Sir: Hmm...in that case, I shall implement more breaks in between intervals for your speedier recovery. If you all put in your 150% effort and all goes through well, the next training day will be an off day for everyone.

Reply 2 (realistic/most common consequence).

Sir: Icic. In that case, you all will book in a few hours earlier to rest, since you guys say you're tired. Fair enough?

Therefore, in the Armed Forces, its best to watch your tongue. Sensible stuff doesn't mean the right stuff - to those without common sense, that is.

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