Friday, March 15, 2013

Troy's Take: Above the Common Stock

As background/setting material for the new edition of MTDAA, I'm including a series of short essays from an ant veteran on the things they don't teach you in boot camp that every ant should know... here's the first (apologies to Tommy over at The Most Unread Blog On The Internet for borrowing his tagline)...

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Let’s face it. By virtue of surviving basic training and your first mission, you are already a cut above the common stock. You’ve shown a spark of something. That’s why you’re an Army Ant. I don’t know what you’ve got kid, but you’ve got something. They know this. They want you to use it.

High Command has lifted you out of the ranks of the common grunt for a reason. They’ve allowed you to take a name for a reason. They’ve put you into a special forces squad for a reason.

And in case you don’t realize it, that’s what you are. You are part of a special forces squad. You’d think that High Command would try to formalize these special forces teams, but they don’t. Each one is unique. Some special forces operatives work alone, others in pairs, and still others in teams of 3-30. There seems to be no rhyme nor reason to how groups are put together. Personalities clash, tempers flare, and you sometimes end up with a teammate who you have no idea why you’re together.

Maybe that’s the point. As a grunt, you are expected to follow orders. Destroy the bridge? Great. Then 500 of you swarm that bridge and keep swarming until you either destroy it or die trying. As an Army Ant, you’re in a whole other world. Recover the lost plans? Fine... try to recover them. But, High Command knows that things go wrong, that intel changes, that circumstances dictate. Make the judgement call. Your orders are to go north, but something tells you to go east? Go east. Do it. Trust your gut. Do what you think is right, and explain it to your commander later.

Make no mistake, your commander is going to be miffed. He’s going to ream you a new posterior. Take it. Do the right thing. I’d rather be right and in trouble than wrong and follow the rules. I’d rather disobey orders and save lives rather than obey orders and lose lives. Wouldn’t you?

You’re an Army Ant for a reason.