Tuesday, April 12, 2005

a smoke, a whiskey and a day in db for the driver's soul

I suddenly realise I do have stories to tell. Not my own, though; my life as a trainee, and now as an MTO, has been pretty uneventful so far. The drivers under me are a different story altogether.

A driver's life is shit. From one of their mouths. Of course, it's not standard across all SAF camps. It depends very much on the commanders and supervisors, needless to say. I've only just taken over for a week, so I haven't made any changes to the shitty life of the drivers, but after hearing many of their stories I'd really like to help them find something in what they are doing.

The typical life of a driver (in my unit):
0745: Reach camp, wait for first parade, which should have started.
0755: First parade. Get shouted at for being late. Duty IC reports strength. Forgets to salute. CSM shouts at him again.
0800: Supposaed to report for detail. Starts doing first parade tasks and checks after drawing out vehicle key.
0820: Leaves for detail late. Gets scolded again.
1100: If lucky, detail ends here. Return to camp. If not, eat lunch outside, keep driving.
1200: Mid-day parade. don't have green water bottle. Get shouted at again.
1500: End of detail. Return to camp. Do last parade tasks.
1600: Rest in driver rest area. Fall asleep. Get shouted at again.
1730: Last parade. Drivers no energy, look very slack. Get shouted at again. Finally fall in. Report strength, fall out. Get shouted at again for not signing book out book.

You can see that it involves alot of shouting. The not so typical day includes reporting to camp at 0630 for exercises that stretch the whole day, sometimes 2 days. Or else there's weekly maintenance to do on vehicles still in camp. The real shit is in the monotony: 50kph on the highway, doing the same checks on 3 vehicles in 1 day, getting shouted at for the same things...

granted, many of the things they get shouted at are their own fault. but just you try and educate a driver. they can't understand that the SAF does not run on their honour and fairness system, they find it hard to survive the politics in-office, and nobody takes care of their welfare.

So at this point in time the least i can do is hear them out and help them cover their asses with paperwork, at the same time figuring out what the hell is going on, what neds to be done, and waiting for my computer account to be activated so i can finally get cracking. With any luck they'll walk out of camp with their pink ICs, slightly more astute and with a future to look forward to.


Zen said...

Yup tt didn't look lk the the normal Jenna Jameson but I guess tt was her new look after lookin a bit too washed out. Heh.

Wesley said...

Hmm... This is a good post to dispel the urban legnds of drivers as being the BEST job in Army cos got free license ma!

But they forget about the 50km/h and the "zhou bo lan" specs in MTL who only know how to boss the drivers and drink kopi.

Being the ORDed driver, I feel I shall enlighten u others on the tortures of drivers.

NExt time...

Stormtrooper's Lackey said...

not to mention that drivers have the highest likelihood of being charged in army.

kureshii said...

license? hah...accident = reset lileage record, poor performance = no recommendation. thousand-and-one ways to lose that percious license. and besides, some of them have their civilian licenses already. what to look forward to?

getting charged is a no-brainer. old-time-soldiers as MT supervisors, new-age soldiers as drivers = summary trials flying around. i am working double-time trying to keep tempers down where i work.

MaKan GuRu said...

drivers have the WORST job in the SAF, next to medics that is. We had a saying, being a driver means "you already have one leg in DB" Be in any accident, even if it is not even remotly your fault, and off to DB you go.

in my career as a VM, i have saved the ass of at least 4 of my drivers. in fact, there was even one incident of a Fiat tonner being "serviced" out of camp in a private repair shop. don't ask, lets just say till this day, with some very resourceful body work on our part, there are tonners out there with green wire mesh as grills and so far, no one has noticed.