Chair Force Engineer

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Graduation Day (Again)

The important thing is that my introductory acquisition training is over. It's a little bit disappointing that I did not make the top ten percent. I think I essentially kissed that goodbye on the first morning when I fell asleep during the Colonel's lecture.

I got to meet some good folks, spent time with some familiar ones, and maybe I learned a thing or two. The most important thing now is to get back to Kirtland, readjust to my new life, and find me an office to work in.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

All Diseases, Physical and Mental

I contracted food poisoning from something I ate on Sunday, whether it be the omelet from Bob Evans' on Sunday morning or the Philly Cheese Steak from the hotel restaurant that night. It hit me like a sack of bricks on Monday morning. After my digestive system had expelled the offensive food, I developed a fever that hurt my ability to concentrate in class. Maybe I shouldn't have gone to class at all, but learning a little bit of something is better than learning a lot of nothing.

The most frustrating aspect of Monday's class was the debrief from our second test. The original schedule called for the debrief, followed by a review of some lessons, followed by testing on those lessons. Alas, the debrief went all the way until 4 PM because too many people asked too many lame-ass questions. It's one thing to add a legitimate complaint about a test question; it's another thing to quibble with the instructor about the testing standards or try to analyze why a particular person got a particular question wrong. Maybe I'd have found the session more therapeutic if I had failed the test; instead, I was one of the lucky ones who passed by the seat of my pants.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

How to Avoid Buying a $500 Hammer

I had just begun to build my life in Albuquerque when I was sent for three weeks of acquisition management training in Dayton. I'm not actually staying in the city, as some dork messed up the hotel reservations for the class I'm taking, and most of the students had to be lodged nearly 20 minutes away from the classroom.

The training can be equally boring and frustrating. The most frustrating aspect is the testing, as it's so hard to cut through the deconstructionist jargon to get to the heart of the questions. Most of the training is common sense, yet it takes so long to convey the message.

The funniest aspect is that one of our many instructors, a Major with a Ph. D. in mathematics, has dozens of corny phrases. "Got your finger in a bowl of chili," "put a warm belly button on that project," and "blowing smoke up your kimono" are just a few of the goofy one-liners in his arsenal.

The only positive aspect of this training is meeting the people I commissioned with, yet again. Tom and Rob and Uriah have all been around on a daily basis. We've gone to dinner countless times. Tom and I wanted to see "Batman" last night, but Uriah the Lush went to a bar instead, so we had to meet him there. The bar gave us a chance to meet up with Milton, a great guy from our ROTC detachment who commissioned in Spring 2004. Uriah took a break from his game of "drunk darts" to put on a demonstration of his dance moves. The crowd went wild, and I took enough pictures to make sure that nobody forgets his mad dancing skills.

The Purpose of this Blog

The blogosphere is populated with "mil-blogs," written by members of the U.S. Armed Forces, usually those who have seen Iraq or Afghanistan first-hand. This weblog is not one of them.

Instead, this weblog chronicles the adventures of an Air Force officer in the field of acquisitions. I am not on the "tip of the spear" like my conrades in Iraq or Afghanistan are. I am about as far away from the tip as possible. I'm on the ass-end of the spear. And every day, I'm racked with guilt that braver men than I are going out and trying to keep the world safe for democracy.

That's not to say that life as a "Chair Force Engineer" isn't interesting and isn't worth reading about. The adventure that I will take over the next few years, complete with its triumphs and frustrations, is the subject of this weblog.