the dmv, with gunsIn January, I went to the TMC -- the troop medical clinic -- on my FOB to seek treatment for a very minor but persistent soreness in my right knee. The medic who examined me asked if I wanted a profile that would exempt me from physical training, and I declined. All I wanted was a few days worth of Naproxen, which I got, to take down the inflammation. And then I went back to work. And passed a PT test the following month, by the way, without having ever said another word about the knee.
Now, in March, the United States Army is conducting an inquiry into the matter of my right knee. My commander is to complete DA Form 2173, "Statement of Medical Examination and Duty Status." I am to provide information that will enable him to complete the said report, by completing DA Form 2823, "Sworn Statement," which first requires me to complete DA Form 3881, "Rights Warning Procedure/Waiver Certificate," in which I acknowledge that I waive my right to seek legal counsel before offering sworn information regarding the said knee. The TMC's "Chronological Record of Patient Care" is also to be used in completing the commander's report.
So currently I have seven pages of military forms on my desk, waiting to be completed by me and by my commander, so the institution can make a record of the fact that my knee was a little sore three months ago.
The State Bureau of Paperwork Production and Unneeded Analyses (Military Branch), grinds on. Sometimes we even fight wars.
Having said all this, I just talked to the people at my company and battalion level who decided to initiate the storm of paper. And their reasoning makes perfect sense, and no, I'm not kidding. Which just reminds me: The wasteful and foolish dynamics of military life have their origin in much higher pay grades. The bizarre daily fact of being a soldier is that you do stupid things all day...in the company of smart people. Who are fully aware of the stupidity, and just try to get through it so they can get to the part where they do their jobs. If this institution ever figures out a way to really use the talent it has in its ranks...