Military Gear & Army Surplus Gear Blog

Part 2: Military Culture 101

Part 2:  Military Culture 101


thousand dollars and you’re talking
about an older more experienced person. This person is going to be in their
forties, most likely. I did meet an E 8 once he was in his late thirties and it
blew my mind …. The guy must have been brilliant and very
well-respected to have made it that fast. So next slide. Our warrant officers, if
you hear, that these are folks that were enlisted, who became very expert in a
certain field, particularly administrative type skills, maintenance
skills, supply and logistical skills and in the Army’s case anyway, helicopter
pilots. The only ones that have any kind of command rank would be the helicopter
pilot because they are in command of their helicopter and the crew that
works for it. All the other ones are experts in their field and … we will call them a warrant officer from one up to five
and they’re chief warrant officers and we might just call them chief in the Army
anyway, but that gets confusing because chief means different things even within
the army our chief of staff sometimes gets called chief so you say chief and
three people turn around and say, “What?” … it’s kind of hard. And in the Navy it
means something completely different so a warrant officer if you hear that the
person is a warrant officer or particularly a Chief Warrant Officer
you’re talking about a person who became so expert in their field that we set
them aside and we pay them in a similar way to commissioned officers because
they are so good at that. And they have a very rigorous, a very rigorous school
that they have to go to in order to become a warrant in the first place and
then they move up through the ranks because of their merit. You can
flip that slide and you can see that they make up to $78,000 just Warrant
Officer 1 through 3. Next slide. We only have one warrant officer five in the state,
only one slot that’s how prestigious that is. And you can change that slide. And that guy tops at a $114,000. Now again this person is gonna be a little older. A warrant officer five is going to be at least 40 but they – don’t forget, if you join at 18 you can retire 38, – so if you’re 42 – 45 he’s probably already at, or she’s already probably at warrant at a retirement age. So you might see these people coming to your to your office.
Next slide. Commissioned Officers: we are the planners, the leaders … yes we give
orders but our orders are more general. It’s the noncommissioned officers who
actually execute. One of the things I’ll talk about is this
particular quality of us, but I want to reinforce it right now, and that is when
an order is given to …. let’s say “We’re going to take that hill.” Alright I’m the commander of the entire
division I’ve got 15,000 troops we’re going to take that hill so I say I want
that hill taken by Friday at seven pm and that’s my order. That’s what I give. The first thing in
our military decision making process, the next person who receives that order
redefines that order in accordance with what they do. So they’re not only receiving orders, but
they’re reformatting that order to make it applicable to the unit that they have.
So at the next level, let’s say we’re in aviation, we have to be
prepared to attack that place at thus and such a time, so that the infantry
can move up the hill and not get themselves killed. So that means something to me – different.
Snot only do I receive orders and give orders, I reinterpret orders to apply to
my particular situation. What a skill. If you have leadership positions in your
particular company. They have to understand what you meant and then make
it mean something to the people who are actually gonna carry it out. Great skill
To be a Second Lieutenant you have to have a Bachelor’s Degree, minimum. So
you’re talking already this person’s 22-23. They’ve already gone through some
form of officer candidate school whether it be ROTC or they’ve been to one of the
service academies and start again at the bottom. They got a lot of book learning
but they don’t necessarily have on the ground learning. Remember those E 7s I
talked about? We usually marry this guy up or this gal up with an E 7 so they
can take all their book learning and thinking they know what’s right and
what’s wrong, and we put them with an E 7 who actually
tells him how it really works. And if the E 7 is any good, that
lieutenant will be that much better trained. And that’s what happens. They
move up and these are very often staff positions they do have in charge
of platoons when they become a captain at least in the Army. That’s when you would be in
control of the company, in the Navy you you might get a small ship. At that
point they are called lieutenant in the Navy, by the way we call it captain, they
call it lieutenant. Important to remember, and I’ll tell you why in a second. But
these folks are all officers, they all are leaders, they all are planners. I’ll go into that later. Next slide please. These folks …
a starting 2nd Lieutenant or an Ensign in the Navy is making about 35 and a half
thousand dollars starting. The captain tops out at about 77,000 and oh by the way, they get free housing, they get sustenance tax-free and they get
insurance for their spouse and their families. That’s active duty actually we
in the guard we have to pay for own insurance but we pay very little if we
get Tricare. In the National Guard we would pay its roughly 60 bucks a month
for an individual about 200 bucks a month for a whole family regardless of
the size of the family. Pretty good deal. And we have to pay for it because we are part-timers not
full timers. That’s what you’re up against you got a great leader a
great person who can interpret what you want them to do and can lead your people
into it. Next slide please. The Major up to a
Colonel and in the Navy they call this a Captain. Remember I said it’s important
that we talk about captains because if you are talking to a Captain in the Army
that’s one level if you’re talking to a Captain in the Navy, it’s a completely different person. At this level you’re taking care of, you are in command of a division which is
roughly 15,000 folks, depending on what type of division it is or the
commensurate amount of technology. And/or I should say because we obviously have technology in the Army as well. So when you have an 06 you’re talking
about a person who is going through a lot of stuff, has a lot of education, very
often has advanced degrees. Matter of fact, pretty much always has advanced
degrees. Master’s degree or higher in many cases, that’s on the
civilian side. Military side, they’ve already been through four military
schools teaching them different levels. When we go to war college,
and that’s not required, but …..I went through when I
was an 05, a Colonel. But mostly guys there
were Colonel’s. We actually get trained on how to work with Congress and how to to serve a General who is working with elected officials.
That’s the training we get. So we understand how the political system
works, I mean really works. Ok next slide. A
major just becoming a major makes about 54,000 bucks a year. The 06 tops out at
about 133,000 with all those other benefits
that I mentioned before. These are Generals. You probably won’t
run into too many Generals because it’s really hard to become a General.
Usually that person has finished their career by the time that they
are potentially looking at you. That’s when they write a book and tell
everybody what really is true. That’s when they are at the other end of their
career, so you might not run into many but you might you might. Now you’re talking about a person
who has had an immense amount of respect, and immense amount of qualifications.
And so slide. You can see they can make it all the way up to 242,000 dollars a year. Is that three times what our governor makes? Next slide. One of the things that we
instill in our young people when they come through the door, when I say young
people by the way, understand that folks can apply to be in the military up to
age 34, so that’s that is young to me.
Some of our folks that are in the lower ranks actually are older
people because they just decided later in life that they wanted to join. But we
instill this and we expect this. I just want you to look at those
qualities and tell me if you wouldn’t want that in your particular company.
We love acronyms in the military and if you look down the left-hand side you
kind of squint and lean over one way it sort of says leadership. Remember I
talked about the leadership that we teach right from day one, that’s what is
so very important to us and the idea of selfless service, the idea of making
something bigger than yourself is important. That the group is more
important than I am. Loyalty. Being true to those
whom we serve and to our job. That’s what you’re getting in the army. Next slide please. You see in the Navy
and the Marine Corps they only have three. That’s because they can’t memorize as
well as we can, (laughter) but you see the basically the same values: honor, courage. commitment.
Next slide. The Air Force also three that’s just because they didn’t have time. Integrity, service before self,
excellence in all that we do. Slide and the Coast Guard you can see
it’s just about the same as the Navy. Next slide. Here we’re going to get really more into the culture and again this is generalization. First off we tend to be, when I say
romantic, I’m not necessarily talking about being
on one knee under the balcony reciting Shakespeare but we do tend to be
idealistic. We do tend to, for those of you who see the old movies, you know the
cowboy movies where the all the good guys wear white hats and all the bad
guys wear black hats? That’s kind of how we look at the world.
We have a tendency to believe that there is right and wrong. We have a tendency to
believe that there is moral and immoral. What happens to that young person
who thinks that way when they join? They go overseas and, particularly if
they go overseas, and when they get there they find out some truths about the world they find out that the white
hats sometimes aren’t so white that maybe some of those black hats are a
little bit grayer than I thought they might be. When they come back, that
disillusionment that they might experience, now becomes growth.
Because they realize what the real world is about and that there is gray in the
world, if they still have the value of understanding what’s right and wrong. You
see what you’re getting? You’re getting somebody who still has those concepts of
doing the right thing but also understands why somebody else might be a little different than myself. That is something that you just can’t teach
something you can only experience. We honor resiliency and self-sufficiency.
Sometimes it gets us in trouble because we don’t ask for help when we need to. On the other hand, this is a person that
if you give something to do, they’re gonna have a tendency to want to
get it done and they’re going to want to get it done with a minimum of you
looking over their shoulder and telling them that you want it this way, and that
way. So we honor that and we respect that. We tend to be very critical. Now part of
that is cultural and we want to push your buttons to see how far we can get
you. That is part of it. But it’s also something else. In the Army when you go
through basic training you have to make your bed every morning and it’s a
wool blanket and a white sheet and you have to fold over the flap of the white
sheet over the wool blanket and that little fold has to be four and
a quarter inches wide. Four and a quarter inches. Not
four-and-a-half, not four, four and a quarter. And a drill sergeant will come
with a measuring stick and hold it right against it and if it’s not, he’ll tear the
whole bed out and then you’ve got to remake it. It’s silly isn’t? Isn’t that stupid? It’s
teaching uniformity but it’s actually another training tool. It teaches us
something called attention to detail. You’ll notice that military members will
see things that you don’t see. We look for discrepancies. Think about that Vietnam vet. They’ve gone down that jungle trail every day for a week but
today about five feet off of the path I see a broken twig. What does that mean? Maybe somebody was
here, maybe there’s someone waiting for me. Most people would miss that broken twig
…. Afghanistan, Iraq every single day, you’re driving down the
highway you’re seeing the same rusted old Toyota
Hilex, which is what they have a lot of over there, and you see it every single
day but today the door is opened six inches more than it was yesterday. I’m going by at 40 miles an hour when I
noticed this. What does that mean? Maybe there’s
someone inside, maybe there’s an improvised explosive device an IED
inside. We see that we notice that. Military person comes into a room they
look around, they look and see who the potential threats are but we also
look at who the potential allies are. What are the resources I can use in this
room? What are the things that I can do to
make the situation better here? There weren’t that many
military folks in here, but for those of you who know military folks, have you
ever watched a military movie with a military member? Aren’t we a pain in the
ass? (laughter) I mean as soon as we look at it
they will say, “Oh that ribbons all wrong!” or that “That patch is upside down!” “I don’t want to watch this anymore!” And
it’s true, because if you can’t get that right, I know the rest the movies gonna
stink, and that’s exactly our attitude. You’ll see it all the time and if
you cannot get this right then I know, I’m not anticipating that you’re
going to get the rest right. Think what that brings to leadership in
a workplace. You’ve got a person, if you need something done just right and just well done, military person is exactly who
you need. Now remember we’re also trained to get along with other folks and we’ll
talk about that in a minute so you might I don’t want to scare anybody into
thinking that we’re gonna start screaming at people for not having it
for a quarter unless it really has to be for the
quarter. But at the same time you’ve got a person who notices differences and
notices changes and notices when something is not just right from
the day that they joined the military. At least we think we’re
humorous. You might not get our jokes. We have a tendency to be somewhat
fatalistic that’s … you know Murphy’s Law? Everything that can go
wrong will go wrong. We have our own versions in the military, such as, if
things are going well it’s probably an ambush. If I can see them, they can shoot me. Actually my favorite one is always
remember that the armor that protects you and the weapon that you carry was
built by the lowest bidder. Actually when Mrs. Lepage first came
on she asked for her own personal Military 101 because she wanted to take
on military families as her cause and one of things I said to her is, “Well
you guys sometimes will see us as pessimistic. We’re not. We just consider
ourselves realistic.” And she said, “Well, why is that?” I said, “Well, because
optimists don’t survive the battlefield.” She said, “Why would an optimist not
survive the battle field?” Think about it. You’re hiding behind a wall. Who’s gonna
get shot? The one who says I think they’re gone? So we try to be very careful about
things and we consider ourselves to be realists and our humor sometimes is cynical.
It sometimes is gross but, what we do see the humor in things. Next slide please. Here are some
common misconceptions. First one. Mono partisan. We are not all
Republicans. Just so you know, some of us even might listen to public radio. (laughter) We are
very political. …. I’ll tell you what,
often times it amazes you, you’ll be talking to some 21 – 22 year old girl
or guy and they’re really into history, and not only military history, but
political history, the history of the Supreme Court and what decisions were made.
You have some incredible conversations with young people that you never
even thought you would have. And we’re very cued into who’s running for office,
who is in office, the decisions that they make. Supreme court decisions. But once we’re
talking to a civilian you’re not going to find out which way we feel. I’ve
worked for five governors and five presidents and they were all my favorite.
The American people and the people of Maine have elected those people and if I insult
them, I insult the intelligence of the American people and the people of Maine.
And I will not do that because I serve you. I work for you. We have a
wonderful country. …. There’s never been a more lethal force
in the history of humankind as the United States of America. There’s never
been a stronger ,more powerful, more able to conquer the world than us. And what do
we do? We put all that power in the charge of the people. The people who
elect our representatives and our senators and our president. And they who appoint
the Supreme Court and gets approved by those people that we’ve elected. This is
the most moral government that’s ever existed. Because we could, if we wanted to,
blow up the rest of the world and take it over. We could. But we don’t. Because we
believe in right and wrong. You’re a lot closer to a military person than you thought you were when you first came in here. Because we do believe in right and
wrong and we protest when we think it’s wrong. We’re not robotic. I already told you a
little bit about this, about how we can reinterpret what the mission is. …
There’s a famous German General from World War II who said the biggest
problem that they had was that they had our manuals. And they would read our
manuals. And they would say, “Okay, according to the manual they’re going to come through that ravine, so let’s all our guns there and we
come this way. You didn’t even follow your own manuals! Exactly! We encourage
ingenuity, we encourage … highly centralized planning and highly
decentralized execution. We want everyone in the chain of command
to be thinking. And to be thinking how to do something better. Largely that’s is
very functional because we operate in a world where some of us are going to die
and if the person with all the knowledge dies, what happens to the rest of them? So everyone from that general all the
way down to that private E 1 knows what the mission is. They know what
we’re supposed to do. They know that it is to take that hill by five o’clock
tomorrow. …. George Patton, General Patton you’ve seen
the movie maybe and you know that he’s considered one of the toughest gruffest
(makes gruff noise) a lot of people thought he was a micromanager but, one of my favorite quotations comes from him, he said, “Never tell a
person how to do something. Tell them what you want done, then stand
back and be amazed by their brilliance. That is how the American military runs.
That’s why a lot of other militaries don’t understand how we operate They can’t figure out how we get it done
but we trust our people. We’re not violent. That’s another great misconception. We do use violence as a tool to protect our country. To keep us safe, but we use as little as possible. In fact one of the reasons why you pay so
so much money for the military is because we have bombs that can blow up
this house but not the mosque on this side and the church on that side. … If we wanted to, we could carpet-bomb whole thing. But we don’t, we
try not to. We try not to kill. When these
hospitals get attacked I know they are mistakes. I know with every fiber of my
being because we would not do it. We just wouldn’t. it’s not part of who we are and so
we are not violent and we hate violence but violence happens we want to be there. I will often say this to folks who are trying to get the
military mind. If you know any firefighters. I’ve never, ever in my
entire life met a firefighter who hopes there’s a fire. They don’t hope to find
somebody trapped in a house. They don’t hope to find dead pets and dreams and mementos destroyed. They don’t hope for that. However, if there is a fire, every
firefighter I’ve ever met said they want to be there because I want to put it out. I want to save people and that’s how the
military man or woman thinks


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *