Wednesday, July 12, 2006

How To Deliver Bad News To a Senior Officer

Kirk spent a year or so on the insane schedule (or as it came to be, the 8-days-on FOUR DAYS FISHING!! 8-days-on FOUR DAYS FISHING!! routine). Then he shifted to day work which meant the rest of the family got to see him now and then, but happened too late to save terminal sleep disruption. Oh, and I think he mourned the loss of FOUR DAYS FISHING!! But at some point, for some reason I don't know because it was probably classified, he was sent down to do information operations (info-ops) work at the Alcom building.

The Alcom building is where the Alaska Command lives on Elmendorf. I think it's a NORAD kind of thing. Sorry to sound vague, but remember, wife of security clearance person, so I never asked questions.

I believe that much of the time they were doing important, very secret, real world things. I believe this because Kirk never told me a thing about them. If I were a seriously curious person our marriage would have been a shambles. Because I'm almost violently willing to allow other people to have their own business without my needing to meddle in it, we were very good.

But he could talk about the exercise part of the job. There were several he was involved with. For one, for instance, he got to write up the intel scenario, and he did such a good job they had to call a 'time out' (time out?? probably there's a much more serious and impressive term for this but I don't know it) and get him to tell them what was 'really' going on because otherwise the whole thing would go pear shaped.

There was one that was big enough to involve a general, probably two to make a matched set. Kirk was the person who got to meet this man at the door of the incident room (or whatever they called it) and say 'Sir, I have some bad news.' Now, this is not something that comes up all the time really, it's a fairly rare opportunity Kirk had. He had to say: 'Sir, I'm afraid you're dead.'

You see, he explained, your team called you on your cell phone while you were driving in. They had phoned you at home in the middle of the night to get you moving in, which was fine, and then they called on the road to fill in some vital details. And that, sir? That use of the cell phone? Well, the enemy tracked your GPS location and dropped a missile on your car.

The general blinked at Kirk for a moment (a long, slightly fraught moment) and then an evil grin split his face.

'Okay son, I understand. That's fine. Me, folks? I'm a ghost. I'm just floating here in the ectoplasm' and watching every move you make, you newly headless chicken who has to flop helplessly around coping with this darned excercise. No pressure though.

Kirk said there was a roomful of non-general people who were quite cheerfully wanting to kill him.

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