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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Introduction + Turd Nuggets

I was called a “Turd Nugget” today. Well, my two roommates and I were called Turd Nuggets together. You may, as I did, wonder what the term Turd Nugget refers to. After some research I would assume it is the second definition on Urban Dictionary (“a waste of life, or space”), which I’m not sure is an improvement over the first. You can decide:
There are quite a few new terms and ideas that I am being introduced to or reacquainted with here. I am stationed at Fort Lee in Virginia, awaiting my opportunity to be picked up for a class in the welding MOS (military occupational specialty). This is somewhat of a surprise for multiple reasons. I already have trained to do a job, to operate radios, and after graduating from that school, for the last year and a half I’ve been comfortably doing my job as a reservist in Oregon. Going to school full time, having happy, warm, freedom-ey feelings and experiences, etc.. For complicated restructuring reasons, my unit declared: “Ries! We cannot have you here as a radio operator any longer, you must undergo training in another profession!” Myself, being the only radio operator in the company, protested: “But surely you will still need someone to operate all the equipment we have!” “No no, you naïve Lance Corporal, the equipment we have and  the new radios we are CURRENTLY ORDERING will magically erect themselves and operate flawlessly without any trained personnel.” They replied. Therefore, I was given roughly four job options to choose from. Welding seemed like a respectable skill (in comparison to refrigeration technician) and the training time was only six weeks. I talked to admin and they set me up with a ship date starting August 1st and ending mid-September to a base in Maryland. “Oh golly!” I exclaimed, this will work perfectly and allow me to register for Fall term classes (I’m a junior) and complete my undergrad degree on schedule.
I was quite the naïve Lance Corporal, but this Turd Nugget was quickly reacquainted with the reality of my organization. No sooner had I arrived (suspiciously in Virginia, not Maryland) then I was informed that the welding course was roughly fourteen weeks long, leaving me at Fort Lee until mid-November. This was not welcome news, but unfortunately the only viable option was to bend over and take it. I imagine what the legal repercussions would be if a civilian contract for six weeks was suddenly extended without consultation to over twice the amount of time. Would it still be binding? It is in the Marines. It also doesn’t help that no one here would ever take my side if I made a fuss about it. I’m back to trainee status after a year and a half of being legitimate, and it sucks. Adjusting back to this environment has been the most depressing thing I’ve done in a while. While in my unit, you would work hard in order to gain respect and maybe even a little praise for your effort. Here it’s merely about working to avoid attention and to therefore avoid punishment, punishment that often comes down on a group due to the actions of a single member. My biggest fear is that I’ll become frustrated enough that it will show through my actions and gain the negative attention/punishment of my superiors. Therefore, I feel that outlets like this blog are worthwhile.
                As for the story regarding Turd Nuggets, I’ll have to investigate a tad more into it before posting.
P.S. The internet here is terrible. It's a battle to do anything and sometimes I just give up and read a book.


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  2. Refrigeration Technician: In the vast wasteland of a desert a fire fight has commenced. A squad of Marines is under heavy fire. Among them, a mini-fridge wielding man by the name of Ries. Attempting to make his last stand he turns to his fellow Marine and looks at him seriously as he begins to speak, "Please.. let my family know that I kept the chow cold".