The Lieutenant

I saw a story on reddit this morning that reminded me of something that happened long ago during my very undistinguished, and relatively brief military career.

I was an MP and was ordered to chauffer a newly assigned second lieutenant around the fort.  During our drive, he saw a civilian car parked right under a sign that said the parking space was for official business.  The second lieutenant ordered me to write the offending car a ticket.  I informed the lieutenant that the car belonged to the post engineer (a civilian), who used his personal auto to conduct official busines.  The lieutenant repeated his order, so I complied.

Cue the post engineer, who came up to me extremely upset with what I was doing.  I reminded the engineer that I was an SP/4, ordered to write the ticket by the second lieutenant in the patrol car.  I also reminded the engineer (in case he was unaware) that as an SP/4, it was against Army regulations for a soldier of my rank to know that a second lieutenant was an idiot.  All these years later, I believe that’s still the case.  I also informed him that he, as a civilian, was not covered by that regulation.  Moreover, it was acceptable (perhaps even beneficial) for a lieutenant colonel, such as the Provost Marshal, to be aware that a given second lieutenant was an idiot. 

For the record, all second lieutenants are not idiots, and all idiots are not second lieutenants.  However, if you were to use a Venn Diagram to describe the situation, the overlap of the two logical sets would be quite large.

The engineer took that information to the Provost Marshal. The ticket was pulled.  The lieutenant was put in charge of MPs at his own military base.  That base was closed, so it didn’t do much for his resume, but did keep him out of further trouble.  Most of us lived happily ever after.

Author: Tom

I know by ABC's, I can write my name, and I can count to 100.