I think it important to note the reactions to the correspondence; so much so that I included them at the bottom.
The cast of characters is:
1stLt Herod: an engineer platoon commander
Major Houser: his Battalion Executive Officer
Capt Barrett: 1stLt Herod's Company Commander
-- Capt Grose
A topic that has come up while here in Fuji is field orders. Our question is why is our pay checked when we go on deployment. We are charged for every meal whether or not we eat it or not. This year alone, I personally have been to Fuji three times, JWTC two times, and Korea once. This totals between six and seven months of deployment time. My pay was checked for each one of these deployments for chow that I ate or did not eat. This takes a large chunk of money out of each paycheck. Per deployment, my pay has been checked twice as much for chow myself than I would normally spend a month for both myself and my wife plus I still need to feed my wife while I am gone.
The question is: Why do we get our pay checked on deployment for chow and other such items while other services are given pay for their meals and other such items?
Lt Herod sends.....
From: Houser Maj Christopher B
Sent: Friday, October 13, 2000 1:29 PM
To: Herod 1stLt Donald J
Cc: Burke Maj Dennis T; Barrett Capt Craig A; Gause CWO3 Sandra D; Collazo Capt Jaime O
Subject: RE: Suggestion
The stock answer is that you receive BAS or ComRats while in garrison IOT pay for meals outside the chow hall. This is to compensate an individual for costs he would not incur if he subsisted at the dining facility or otherwise at the cost of the govt. BAS/ComRats is not, and never was, intended to pay for your spouse to eat. Basic pay covers that, much as your father's salary paid for you, your siblings, and mother to eat.
I agree that it is galling to be checked for meals that you don't eat, but then again, there are only a couple of options.
One method is to have a Marine pay for each meal as it is issued to him. This creates a huge headache IOT comply with funds accountability and auditing requirements along with being very impractical. Of course, we could have all the Marines "pay as they go". Certainly no Marine will have trouble coming up with the exact change for his meals prior to the field op, just as they never lose a canteen, always have all their uniform items ready (remember the clothing allowance), and certainly save enough cash to have plenty on-hand to set-up a household and buy cars when they first reach Oki. I do not know of any service that pays their service members for eating in the field.
Of course, you can point to the Air Force who has their personnel purchase MREs in the commissary for field ops. This is more a function of poor leadership and punting the responsibility of ensuring their personnel are adequately fed than it is one of "taking care" of them. Of course, when they actually deploy to a no-kidding remote part of the world, the very few who are not billeted in 4 star hotels have their pay checked for 3 meals a day. Which then, in many cases becomes a haphazard affair.
What for you is inconvenient and seemingly unjust in many other cases is the only way to ensure that Marines;
1) Actually have chow to eat,
2) Have chow to eat that has some semblance of nutritional value,
3) Provides an efficient method to affect items 1 and 2 above for large numbers of personnel (imagine collections done throughout a Division in Somalia).
The PersO and SuppO can give you chapter and verse on the MCOs. There are other methods than those I have mentioned. I haven't even begun to cover the convoluted procedures for when you are embarked upon a naval vessel, when your mess bill will routinely exceed your BAS.
Your Company Commander and XO can likely give you some insight as well.
From: Barrett Capt Craig A
To: Howe 2ndLt Geoffrey G; Herod 1stLt Donald J; Spradlin 2nd Lt. Thomas D; Hoh 1st Lt Matthew P; Green 1stLt Arthur
Sent: 10/16/00 7:02 AM
Subject: FW: Suggestion
Everyone counsel Lt Herod that by asking the Bn XO directly a question about ComRats and/or BAS it has solidified the following in Major Houser's mind:
1-one, that Lt Herod has no faith/loyalty to his own chain of command
2-two, that after Lt Herod deployed twice to Fuji, twice to JWTC, and once to Korea (over a period of twelve months) he must be severely lacking moral courage if it took him so long to have enough ball sack to finally ask the question
3-three, that he's a dumbass
I don't know if his actions are funny or sad but it clearly proves my theory that today's Marines may be more intelligent but they don't have any common sense.
Its like being a tech shop manager at the Motorola Corporation and then going outside your shop, outside your department to the Vice President of Operations and asking "Sir, why is there static on radios". Hey, you don't have to use your Co XO, if you want to be regarded as a tool by your peers, laughed at during Bn social events, and have stories told about you long after you leave the unit for the stupid shit you did, e-mail the Bn XO directly, hell try the Commandants e-mail address.
Capt Barrett sends...
From: Herod 1stLt Donald J
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2000 10:27 AM
To: Barrett Capt Craig A; Howe 2ndLt Geoffrey G; Spradlin 2nd Lt. Thomas D; Hoh 1st Lt Matthew P; Green 1stLt Arthur N
Subject: RE: Suggestion
To readdress the question that I asked the BN XO, I would like to first say that I did not go outside of my chain of command and I do not consider myself to be a dumbass.
An e-mail was sent out by the BN XO asking Marines to suggest questions that the BN CO could take to the Commanders' Program back in Quantico and address in the per group questions. The question that I asked was a topic of conversation here in Fuji and it was suggested to me by the 1stSgt to ask the question. So I did.
Have I been places and done things since I have been on island? Yes. Have I asked the question before? Yes. Do I believe that it was a stupid question? No, considering no one here could give me a solid answer.
If my loyalty/faith is in question, than so be it, but when given the opportunity to ask the question, I did. If it is assumed that I have no faith or loyalty, than let people talk about me.
I have worked at the Commanders' Program so when the BN XO asked for suggestions from the Marines in the BN, I took a suggestion of a Marine here in Fuji and asked the question.
From: Barrett Capt Craig A
Sent: Thursday, October 19, 2000 7:58 AM
To: Herod 1stLt Donald J
Cc: Howe 2ndLt Geoffrey G; Spradlin 2nd Lt. Thomas D; Hoh 1st Lt Matthew P; Lorence 1stLt Michael S; Bagwan 1st Lt Brian A; Strack 1ST Lt Brian L; Carle 2ndLt Michael G; Bartel 2nd Lt Curtis D; Roman 1stSgt Luis A; Pinson 2nd Lt Michael J; Rajan 1stLt Naresh A
Subject: RE: Suggestion
No where in your original e-mail does it state you are providing information for the Cmdrs Conference. This is probably why the Bn XO wondered aloud why you would come directly to him to ask this question.
Additionally, thank the XO for his time, say Respectfully submitted, something... I mean he's only a Major with 15 years in the Marine Corps in zone for LtCol for Christ sake.
Why not utilize your chain of command to forward your question? From you to your Composite Co CO or from you to your actual CO. Do you lack loyalty or faith? My point remains that if you cannot utilize your chain of command than you are demonstrating a lack of loyalty or lack of faith in them.
Major Burke and I are unaware of any previous Comrat/BAS questions to date. Now in my first e-mail these were suggestions, guidance if you will. Let me make it plain to you, since you don't understand, if you correspond directly with the Bn XO again, I'll kill you.
I'll poll all those in the Cc block to see to determine if Was his e-mail
inappropriate: Yes or No
Does his actions categorize him as a tool: Yes or No
Does his actions categorize him as a dumb ass: Yes or No
Will you use him as an example for years to come: Yes or No
Please send your response directly to Lt Herod and Cc me.
Capt Barrett sends...
An unbelievable chain of email that apparently is circulating like wildfire
around what seems like the entire officer corps. Don't know of any
of the players in question here but because it is Marine officers, you
will just have to read this email chain of events.
Capt R.J. Bodisch
This is one for the books.
This is one for the records. You'll notice that this one has most likely made the rounds of the entire Marine Corps by now. Read this one. There are some good lessons here-common sense issues. This is probably not the best way to counsel your Marines...
S/F Capt De Witt
Can't help it. I've got to forward this one. I'm embarrassed to admit he's an Engineer. Gentlemen, thought you could get a chuckle out of this at the expense of a Capt and Lt. There actually is some pretty funny dialogue in some parts.
FYI, And I thought we only saw this kind of mentality at AWS. nasty
Gents, Pretty interesting read. Never put things in an e-mail you don't want forwarded. May be a good conversation piece at an AWS seminar.
Semper Fi, Hoover
P.S. The LtCol that forwarded it to me sent it to the IG at Oki... with comment.
Gentlemen, I thought you may be interested in this particular e-mail-if you haven't already had the pleasure that is. It looks like it has made it's way through the Marine Corps pretty well so far, so really I'm just doing my part.
This is an interesting read. I may not necessarily approve of Capt Barrett's choice of PME venues, I don't necessarily disagree with his PME. I will agree with the question of why the Lt is going to the Bn XO with a question regarding Comrats and BAS without at least info'ing his chain. I'm also wondering how a 1stLt doesn't understand the concept of field orders. Yes, I realize we have just been through this same basic issue in our squadron, but when you are being provided food, the Marine Corps does not pay you BAS. Seems fairly simple to me. We were just trying to suck up some extra joint money! Anyway, it is also humorous to see that nothing has changed at TBS!
This email was too good to keep to myself so please read. This guy could pass off for a MIOC instructor or something (kind of brings to mind a particular individual we all liked). There were some of our MIOC brethren that I either forgot to include or could not locate via Outlook so please pass this on to them if you know their address. Hope all is well with everyone and that the Corps is treating you well.
Guys, This is pretty funny. Start with the last message (which was the original) and then read your way up. Apparently this is being passed around by every Lt in the whole damn Marine Corps.
Guys, this is correspondence between a Captain who was a Plt. Cmdr. in my OCS Company and one of his Lts. When I went through the Capt Barrett experience at OCS, he instantly struck me as one of the least intelligent and most immature people I had ever met. He was my motivation there, because when I got down on myself there, I figured if Capt Barrett could be an officer in the Marine Corps, any person can.
This is worth a couple minutes of your time.
2ndLt Roberto Levin
I don't know how an engineer was mistaken as a grunt.
Everyone- I almost died laughing reading this... it is sad how people never change! Be sure to read. For those that don't know, this Capt. Barrett was one of our platoon commanders at OCS.
I can't believe Capt Barrett hasn't changed a bit. God bless him.
If you weren't in Charlie Co, you'll only appreciate this for it's stereo-typical grunt attitude - Damn the man, ask questions!! what happened to the only stupid question is the one not asked? On the other hand for all you non-infantry types. In six and a half years as a grunt, I truly only met a handful of Hard-cases like this! The common sense in question belongs to whatever brain-child let this e-mail out to the general public. It also questions "what, if any, lesson is young Mr. Herod learning by being degraded throughout the inter-net.
CHARLIE COMPANY OCS GRADS: Guys, you have to read this e-mail. Remember Captain Barrett and how he was at OCS? Well apparently he is no different in the fleet. This one is awesome.
Read this correspondence. Reminds me of TBS mentality. Spencaaa
One can only hope that this is some sort of twisted joke. S/F, Capt Schmidt Captain Jerry Schmidt Avionics Officer MALS-13
This is Grunt Leadership at it's best.....I think this Capt Barrett needs to have some PME. His XO could use some too.
This is a little bit long but it is a real interesting read. I think there must be a big difference in leadership philosophy between the Ground Guys and us. Mike
Fascinating.... Gents- This is a copy of e-mail correspondence between
an engineer and his Co XO. These guys are on the island with us (Lt Green
is in the Cc: block). This message is coming to me from Jen, so obviously
this message is
making it's rounds in the Marine Corps. Unbelievable.... Bone
You know you have problems when your Company Commander refers to you as 'dumbass.' Jen
Check out this motivator! I think the CO makes it clear why his Lt wouldn't want to use the chain of command. Ouch! I love how the COs CC list grows with each reply. Feel free to fill out the poll and forward it to Capt Barrett. They are keeping a tally until the end of the month.