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Friday, February 22, 2013

Mess Hall Cups - Its just a flippin Coffee Cup

Communication (good & bad) - Meetings: their agenda and conduct - Get it right the first time - Organization and opportunity

Mess Hall Cups tells the story about how crazy situations can get when communication is less that perfect. The simple becomes complex and next to impossible. 

At the time, I was less than a year returned from an overseas assignment with the Army in Alaska and serving as the Procurement Officer in a proto-type Materials Management Center (MMC) supporting the units of the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. I had been selected to represent my organization as it’s sole member in the materials section of the forward headquarters.

Along with managing, processing and monitoring material requests from the forward location through a electronic transceiver set-up communicating with our rear location hundreds of miles and several states away; I had the additional responsibility of directing the data transceiver section from the Data Processing unit that routinely supported the MMC.

I also had drawn cash money from the Finance Officer at Fort Bragg in the event the requirement for readily available support items were needed that we could procure off the local market—by the time the events recorded here take place, local procurement had been accomplished several time (mostly small vehicular repair parts).

Our forward section leader was a major named Labatt—the officers in the section referred to him as Combat Labatt. He had never seen troop unit duty having served in post level transportation positions such as post motor pool commander, household goods coordinator and the such. He was a nice guy and paid a great deal of attention to what we had to say as the responsible officers within our areas of responsibility. He fell into his moniker of Combat Labatt due to an incident when he had to brief a visiting dignitary in battle dress—he had never before geared-up in military web gear and he looked a sight when he casually strolled into the section tent that afternoon. He was quickly corrected and assigned his new moniker.

The story’s goal was to procure twelve minor pieces of equipment for our mess facility in a remote location in the panhandle of Florida. The task seems simple; one might think. Overall,  I have no idea whatsoever just how many people in total were involved—I was on one end of multiple telephone conversations and during the time thought everything was on the up-and-up.

Following the story there is a discussion of communication; both good and bad. Pointers are covered on holding meetings and advice on getting it right the first time.


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