Apropos of the thoughts in my 15 March 2013 Face Book business post re patience, persistence and a little luck, consider this vignette:
Representing a combat medic trainee. Good guy, smart, independent minded, a little naïve and immature (he’s 22) – with a bit of a challenge vis a vis the social graces … patience not a strong suit. Translation: He’s got a short fuse.
So he buys a trip to the local hospital for an evaluation and the uniformed docs there recommend separation for “personality disorder”. Commander at the time wants to get rid of this kid, and puts him in a “hold for separation” category. However, there’s another report by a contract civilian, extremely experienced psychiatrist saying the kid is “good to go.” In other words, he’s a valuable asset who should be allowed to finish the last two three weeks of his specialty training. But … the commander isn’t budging, and he’s apparently not even looking at the second opinion. He didn’t even call the second doc back despite repeated calls and emails to get his attention. Not good.
What happens? The former commander is relieved about ten days ago. Gone unceremoniously …. Don’t know why. A new CO arrives and immediately begins to look at the many separation files pending. He and I speak a week ago and what he said still resonates: “Fathers and mothers across this country entrust their kids to us and expect us to train them properly, as they should. I don’t think your guy was afforded everything he was entitled to; I’m not saying he’s a saint by any means, but I’m willing to take a second look at his packet.” Still get goose bumps thinking about that call.
The new CO has eighteen years in — former Drill Sergeant with a wealth of wisdom and experience way above his 0-3 pay grade. He’s who I want to see more of in positions of leadership across the board. Sad to say there are all too few of his kind out there.
The new CO has been good to his word. My client is back in a training rotation and not facing imminent separation. If he doesn’t make it now, well, it’s all on him: he knows it, his family knows it, everyone’s read in. I really hope I get to go to this kid’s graduation in a few weeks. I’ll look him in the eye, shake his hand, tell him job well done, and, “mind your P’s and Q’s from here on out.” Then I’ll go over to his new CO and salute him before I shake his hand.
Like I said, patience, persistence, a little luck … and men and women who know how to lead, and aren’t afraid to do so. Makes my job look easy.
That’s it for now. Happy Easter weekend to all.
Bill Meili, Attorney and Counselor at Law, COL (Ret.), JA, USAR, 214 363-1828, firstname.lastname@example.org