FOD Fun… Or Not

This is another little glimpse into life in the Army and the completely awesome (cue wacky irony sound) shit you get to do. Today’s special journey into the organized and camouflaged madness covers FOD. We’ll get to the explanation of that acronym later, and you all who suffer anxiety when confronted with acronyms need to relax. This is my acronym, not yours. It won’t hurt you. Trust me, I’m with the Government and I’m here to help.

Ok so about the acronym. FOD stands for Field Officer of the Day. This is a duty you pull, nominally for one day only. It is open only to certain levels of Army officers, and we have generally between 15 and 20 years or so in uniform. At this point, we can be trusted to execute very important jobs without supervision because of our deep experience and (hopefully) practiced ability to tie our boots unaided and walk and chew gum simultaneously. Keep in mind this is the theory, not the practice. I was to be the Lord High Protector of Fort Leavenworth.

The FOD is the guy picked to be the senior person awake, ready to handle whatever crisis might erupt. Examples would include an asteroid armageddon or zombie apocalypse. In reality, it’s being the designated guy to write up a report when some dumbfuck goes and gets his ass a DUI, or make sure stuff that’s supposed to be locked up is in fact locked up, or help settle a slap fight between two fat chicks in spandex at the PX. Armed with this authority (I had an armband and shit!) and responsibility, I let the mantle of the duty settle on my ready shoulders:

Inspections. I zipped down to the airfield in my War Wagon to complete my first inspection. Sure enough, the entire airfield was still there. I was thankful nobody had moved it or outright stolen the fucking thing, but I managed to keep superfluous emotion out of my log entry: “0945 / Airfield secure / Action: logged and noted.” Later, a dangerous inspection location – the on-post day care facility. I followed the director (a cute little old lady who might top out at about 90 pounds) around and was enthusiastically shown every play mat, coloring book, crayon bucket, snotty nose, diaper pail, and clean-up kit on site. I noted that our future generations were being well-prepared for service and citizenship.

Duties. After inspecting and lunch, I rammed a full work day in the cubicle farm into three hours before reporting again for the remainder of my duty at the Garrison HQ. This was serious stuff. Not only would I be the carbon-based, sentient life-form responsible for representing the Garrison Commander (a full Colonel), I also represented the Commanding General (a three-star) in all matters large and small during the night. Did I mention this was on Halloween? The most challenging task I had to perform was to drive out to two railroad crossings and unlock the barriers, swing them into the closed position, and lock them so that the trains would not blow horns while crossing. This is clearly a task that no less than an Army Major ought to perform. I had to return after my first try to do the other sides of each crossing. Clearly I should have grown up and played near railroad infrastructure as a child to prevent this oversight.

Reports. With any important recurring duty comes an equally-important memorandum. In this case, because the Army has become 10% paperless after years of effort, an email. However, this would be no light missive fired off casually. Someone deep in the bowels of the E-Ring of the Pentagon, and possibly other key locations in Washington, D.C., would read and derive great meaning from my FOD report. I carefully followed the required format, and agonized over word choice and spellcheck. Through the haze of being awake for 27 hours, I finally managed to craft my memo and click ‘send.’ Later that day (at about 33 hours with no sleep), I got the reply: “Thanks.” It was a civilian staffer here on post.

As I hinted at above, I was properly relieved of duty and went home to grab a bowl of cereal and shave so that I could be back at work in time for a key meeting with my boss and schedule some travel for next week. This all proved challenging since by that point I couldn’t spell my own initials. I was comforted by the fact that I had successfully kept the peace here in Kansas.

What!?! This shit is important, dude!


65 Responses to “FOD Fun… Or Not”

  1. “This is clearly a task that no less than an Army Major ought to perform” Ahaha that really made me laugh! from England were it is 11:48 😀

  2. Reminds me of a M*A*S*H episode where Hawkeye was OD. As I remember, he reappropriated some funds. 😀

  3. Dude, you could run the world. It would be much better if you could use superflous emotion while doing it though. Like maybe “All you asshats stand over here, and you! Hold this grenade that I just took the pin out of.”

  4. Really hope your CO doesn’t read your blog.
    Or has a great sense of humor if he does….

  5. Wait. You’re in the military? Who knew!

  6. They make you wait for FOP till you’ve aquired 15-20 years experience? Isn’t that sorta overkill? My guy in the Navy (subs) years back, only had maybe a year or two when they made him COW (chief of wtch, or some shit) but that was just nightshift duty with the Captain and XO off theboat…

    Hey, did I mention I’m a member of the Mile-Low club?

    • *Spock eyebrow* @ mile low club. Now THAT is impressive. And here I thought the Autobahn Club was cool…

      FOD is assigned to Field Grade officers, so by default you’ve got at least 15yrs. I merely twisted the meaning somewhat for comic effect. That’s how I roll.

  7. Your post makes me laugh.

  8. This all makes me think of TPS reports.

  9. Becoming Bitter Says:

    Lol BrainRants…”Thanks” for the laughs you give me.

  10. John Erickson Says:

    Different FOD than I was originally thinking. I thought you had been dragooned into a FOD walk, and was wondering why you let some squids inflict that on you! (And yes, even though a civilian, I have been on a FOD walk. For a couple of dang Czech trainer jets, that whined so high, not only did your fillings disintegrate, but the dogs were still howling 3 days later!)

    • Army aviators do FOD walks as well, and we tankers understand FOD too but call that Foriegn Object Damage, which is what you get when the M1’s turbine gets chipped by large dust or even pebbles, meaning the crew failed to blow the V-packs. Bad.

      • John Erickson Says:

        Did you ever serve with M-60s? If so, do you ever miss the big diesels? I always loved the M-5 Stuart with the twin Caddy V-8s – smooth as silk.
        I have to admit to a fondness for pistons on my airplane engines – those darn turbines are just too finicky. When you can shoot a couple pistons off a radial and STILL have the plane return, well, it kinda takes the shine off a turbine!

        • The M1 turbine is problematic and expensive. I’ve heard tell they’re gonna engineer a variant of the M88 diesel PAC to replace it to save money. However, there’s nothing like making 70 tons go 50mph…

          • John Erickson Says:

            Anything further on the “secondary engine” front? I’ve heard talk of a small diesel to run the electrics and electronics without the turbine, a secondary turbine, even of stealing a powerpack sort of what’s in the Chevy Volt – a small gas (or diesel) engine charging a large battery pack, thus leaving the turbine off, or at idle, for longer periods, saving fuel and wear.
            I personally prefer the Leopard 2’s engine – but I don’t live with them, and it reveals my preference for German armour…..

          • No, I was at a trade-show style thing. The turbine will go completely if this goes forward.

          • John Erickson Says:

            Any word on that wondrous M-8? The “light” tank with bolt-on armour? I thought that was a great idea, start with the 105mm gun and 50-cal-proof armour, then add on armour for the threat. Basic vehicle easily air transported (two per C-17, if I recall), fly the armour in as needed (on C-130s). I know they cancelled it once, but I had heard stirrings about it by the DOD “cutters” who want something tougher than the 105 on a Stryker, but cheaper than an Abrams.

          • Never heard of it.

      • John Erickson Says:

        Besides, I prefer the flight capability to the top speed. Though I imagine the landings are rather similar to punching out of an F-16 at 600mph….

  11. I’m so glad that the security of our country is in the hands of such a conscientious officer. Makes it easier to sleep at night up here along the Canadian border.

  12. lol i never could understand why crate loads of beer were taken on [important] exercises lol and a fish n chip van sent out onto salisbury plain here luxury or what? yes an officers life is really hard lol xxjen

  13. FOD, huh? My husband is currently gone for an Of the Year Board. Although, not of the Officer variety…yet. If I keep my fingers crossed tight enough maybe he won’t change his mind about going from enlisted to officer. Every now and then I read him your blog. We both agree we wish you were somewhere in his chain of command. Would make for a much less boring day at work for him.
    In the mean time, I can’t stop coming back to read more. Thanks again for the laughs.

    • Well that’s impressive. No shitty Soldiers go to an ‘Of the Year’ Board. Good luck to him, please, and if he wants any advice on possibly going from E to O let me know. Fuck I just rhymed.

      • He would very much appreciate advice. He’s putting in a lot of effort toward school first, then on to OCS in a year or so. He struggles with having to start at the bottom all over again. His soldiers are all for it, though. Which has helped him be persuaded, but he’d probably love your input. And I didn’t even catch the rhyme until you pointed it out.

        • School I assume is academic, not Army, so that ought to be his focus. If he’s already tracking into OCS, he will be fine and the only advice I can give him will be how to avoid being a dilweed 2LT.

  14. I have been visiting the websites of some of the regulars who visit yours, and the further afield I flutter, the more impressed I am by you. I am just dazzled by your productivity, stamina and organizational ability. Post a blog EVERY day, reply to every posted comment, (On Burrito Rage alone, that topped out at almost 250 times) manage the site itself, visit (what? a dozen?) other blog sites and leave thoughtful comments, IT tech, both at home and the office, cook, perform a (more than) full-time job, including travel, raise kids, support the wife, and you still have time for a few beers and some NCIS. You are amazing sir.

    I crawl out of bed at the crack of noon, feed and water four cats and a dog and I’m winded. I have to repair to the livingroom (I haven’t been doing the proper maintenance) to sit and read the paper. I was going to attend an anti-procrastination seminar, but I never got around to it.

  15. Think fast too! My mind grinds fine, but exceeding slow. 20/20 hindsight, but I need binocs on the rearview.

  16. The FOD in the Field . . . we yield to the power you wield.


  17. Did you consider exerting your authority as the FOD by waging strategic squirmishes on neighboring states?

    • I did. Missouri ignored me and Nebraska just rolled over and went back to sleep. Oklahoma said, “Hay! Naahs gun! Let’s go spotlight us sum deers!”

      • John Erickson Says:

        Don;t suppose you could lay hands on a minigun for a weekend? Whenever they start popping off during deer season around here, I’ve always wanted to put up a stuffed deer, wait for 3 or 4 guys to fire multiple rounds at it, then have it open up at 6,000 rpm. You know, one of those “HELLO!” moments. 😀

        • You think I work on a force projection installation?

          • John Erickson Says:

            hey, you need some form of organic air defence, no? Fine – pick me up 4 SAWs. I learned how to link 4 MG42s together, couldn’t be that hard for a lighter gun. Heck, I could even do it with an quartet of M60s, seeing as how we followed our great gun-making tradition in stealing the best German ideas!
            On a side note, have any M231 Bradley port weapons around? Or did they grind all those up (which they richly deserved)?

          • The BFV PFW’s I have no idea about, but I would readily grab one and a ruck of ammo if I had to do nasty close-in shit. They don’t have the 3-round burst limit…

          • John Erickson Says:

            PFW? Is that like PDW? Do they use those great 5.7mm ones, or just the usual H&K MP5 variants?

          • PFW=Port Firing Weapon. No, they’re M16 variants. Short barrel, mini flash supporessor, no plastic barrel guard. Again, the good side is the selector has ‘fire’ and ‘safe’ so the trigger is an ’empty magazine’ button. Booyah!

      • John Erickson Says:

        Sorry, hadn’t heard ’em called PFWs in a while. On the Personal Defence Weapon front, have you ever seen the P-90s? I think they’re made by FN (have to look that up), fire a hot 5.7mm round from a 90-round top clip, bullpup configuration. They used ’em on Stargate SG-1. I prefer the MP-5K, version 2 or B (I think they call it), smooth top for hiding under clothing. Add in the silencer from the MP-5SD – sha-WEET! 😀

      • Hey, my mama resembles that remark!

  18. 1) heh heh, you said ‘duties’
    2) I thought FOD would stand for something-up of the day, but I guess I was… well….

  19. world of tanks hack…

    […]FOD Fun… Or Not « BrainRants[…]…

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