The subject throughout has been Gratitude. We all ought to realize it takes the effort of others, and our humilty to recognize it, that forms us into the people we are. This is the fifth in a series of six short articles originally posted on Facebook in June of 2020. We are re-posting them on Veterans Log each Wednesday, with the final landing on Veterans Day.
#5 of 6
Are you fre*king kidding me!? This guy wants me to re-do this message AGAIN!??? It’s just a message man, nobody pays attention to these things any way. There are planes to fix, we’ve got a ton of other things to do, and here I am staring at these couple sheets of paper with red ink all over them. I’ve got to make the grammatical corrections and then try to figure out what HE wants it to say, in the way he wants to say it. Mind Reading 101…
There were two subjects in high school I absolutely could not stand. Math and English. No fault of the teachers, I just wasn’t any good at them. The English Comp college course I took in Guam convinced me that a college degree was not the path for me. I wasn’t good at writing and could care less to do much of it.
Senior Chief had a bit of a different perspective on writing. He went on to explain his view to me in quite the one-way conversation after I overstepped my bounds with my displeasure in having to re-do the message numerous times. It seems that message carried with it much more than a brief description of a broken part on an aircraft. It carried with it a detailed account of how this same broken part was in fact a safety mishap, how it could adversely affect the lives of others flying the same equipment. It had our names on it, our squadron’s name on it, and it was to be a long standing representation of all of us, good or bad. Well, when you look at it that way…
Challenge accepted. I went back to work. I wasn’t one for shoddy maintenance on our aircraft, so I’ll be damned if I’m going to send out a less than stellar written product now that I understood the importance behind it. Even though Senior Chief was frustrated with my attitude (to say the least) and had to re-calibrate me, he also took quite a lot of his time helping me sharpen my writing skills. Punctuation, descriptions, tying maintenance manual references into the narrative so others could better understand it.
And finally, several messages later he takes a look at a first draft I brought him and says, “Send it.” What? “Send it, it’s good.”
Turns out, Senior Chief’s way of teaching English Comp was a lot more interesting to me, carried some real world value. He made it easier to understand the “why” behind things. And for the most part I no longer carried a stigma that I was no good at writing. Just had to work at it a little more than others. To the point that I decided when I got to shore duty, I was going to pursue my Bachelor’s degree. Which I did. Then I pursued an online Master’s degree program- 100% completed by writing some extensively researched and very long papers.
Thanks for the guidance and encouragement Senior Chief, you are a scholar and a true professional.