Renewal (3)

Something big came down the pipe in late April 2013 from our higher headquarters. A tasking to provide a name for the Commanding General’s Aide-de-Camp.  This type of tasking would normally be sent down to all the battalions, they would all provide a candidate, and the brigade commander would decide who he would select. I decided I wanted to bypass all that.  I WANTED IT. I read through the job description and I was like, Yes, and Yes, and oh Yes absolutely.  This job is MINE. No doubt. The brigade commander was on board and so I became the nominee for the general’s aide for our brigade. A month and a half later I had everyone in my unit convinced that I was going to be selected.  No doubt whatsoever. By mid-June I had a new boss, a new brigade operations officer or S3 (a major). Coincidentally, I happened to know him pretty well.  He was my battalion executive officer (XO) when I was a battery commander. Kind of a spazz when things seem a little overwhelming, which is what happened to him when he took the job. There was basically no transition time between my outgoing and incoming bosses, but he had me…or did he? As I had the entire brigade convinced that I was going to be the next aide, him included, how can I assist him in the craziness of our current state of brigade operations? The biggest being the preparation/execution of the brigade’s biggest yearly event, Holiday Block Leave. This event is where we send up to 5,000 basic training Soldiers home for the holidays.  Kind of crazy and not something I was in agreement with but hey what can you do except execute.  Holiday Block Leave was mainly my baby and under my purview and with me leaving there was no subject matter expert to take my place (yet). The world was kind of falling in on him, it didn’t take an empath to see that. So here’s something that came to me: A deal with the Universe. I proclaimed that I would be absolutely fine if I didn’t get the general’s aide job, and then I would be there for MAJ Harrison and he wouldn’t have to worry anymore. Let Go. Surrender. About another week went by and I had my interview finally with Major General MacDonald. It went GREAT. We really hit it off, and the small world of it all was he at one time, commanded the same battalion I served in at Fort Bragg, 3/321. I was feeling really good about the interview but never lost perspective on the deal I had made. There was still one more interviewee to go and after another week, the general’s current aide called me……I knew it as soon as I heard his voice.  Didn’t get it.  I felt such a tremendous release/relief and thanked him. Now I could get back to WORK. So as it goes, my brigade commander was waiting for the decision to be announced before I had my senior rater counseling with him for my evaluation report. In that counseling session I was a bit taken aback when I was reading his comments…#1 captain out of 37 captains that he senior rated…?  What the…??? Then I’ll never forget this. He leans back in his chair, hands behind his head and whimsically says, “So what do you think about San Antonio?”  Say whaaaaaaaaaaat??? “Ben, how would you like a second command…in San Antonio?” Yes, sir.  YES, SIR, ABSOLUTELY.

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