Last week, Fish tweeted something about the Q not being complete until the backblast is written. Of course, he is right. And of course, I am one of the offenders who is not getting the job done. His tweet quickly brought back memories of my days in the Army and the obligations that we officers had to the institution, to our unit and to our men. Yeah, when many of you think of Army life, you likely envision men in green face paint, jumping from planes, humping across deserts or slogging through swamps with M-16 in hand. I doubt anyone conjures up a picture of a tired officer, having been awake for 36 hours, sitting at a desk completing an After Action Report (commonly known as an AAR). But memories of those long, boring hours writing AARs have stuck with me just as much as any of my ‘Hooah’ moments from the service. I distinctly recall many nights sittigm at a desk, ready to clean my gear and grab some much-needed shut eye, but unable to do so until the AAR had been submitted.
The Army makes it clear to every officer that the AAR is just as important as pre-mission planning and activities in the field. You ever wonder how historians know that Billy charged the enemy foxhole in Korea to win the Medal of Honor while Johnny cowered behind a rock and shit his pants during some unmemorable battle for Hill 358-197? Or that a Patton used a pincer movement in a battle in Italy rather than a frontal assault? It is because a group of sergeants, lieutenants, captains and maybe a colonel or two — after having fought, bled, struggled and survived — sat in a hole or behind a flimsy field desk and wrote a complete report of what happened that day. The Army then took all those reports filled with forgettable names, mounds of data and seemingly useless details about which almost no one cared at the time, compiled those reports into even bigger reports and then filed them away in a basement somewhere for posterity. Years later, some bookish, Ivy league historian found them in a dusty file cabinet in the basement of that military archive, pieced them all together, and of course, wrote a NYT bestseller.
Many years from now, when Dredd and OBT are sipping on Geritol and preparing to write their Coffee Table sequel touting the early days of F3, they will have at their disposal this mountain of backblasts as reference material. Maybe enough for a chapter on the never-ending squabble between Ceesus and Someday (although Someday is now known as last Sunday), a picture-filled chapter of “Where’s Waldo” with places CR has traveled for Leap, and of course, a treasure of material to recap all of the service opportunities and the amazing impact F3 has had on the communities it has served.
And with that, here is the backblast of what happened last week (tomorrow morning) at Fortitude:
17 PAX arose in the early morning mist to enjoy a classic workout called ‘The Hands of Time.’
COP for SSH, IW, Mtn Climbers and Merkins while we wait for stragglers.
Mosey to Field Next to AutoBell where the orange cones awaited. Few more warm-up exercises and then a quick skinny on Hands of Time.
Merkins at 3, 6, 9 and 12. Squats at 4, 7, 10 and 1. Heels to Heaven at 2, 5, 8 and 11. Round and Round until Q calls another exercise.
Mtn Climbers at 3, 6, 9 and 12. Imperial Walkers at 4, 7, 10 and 1. Russian Twists at 2, 5, 8 and 11. Round and Round until Q calls another exercise.
Peter Parkers at 3, 6, 9 and 12. Side Straddle Hop at 4, 7, 10 and 1. LBC at 2, 5, 8 and 11.
Partner Up – Run the square – Start with 10 hand slap merkins, partners run in opposite directions to end of block, 5 burpees OYO, run to meet at end of adjoining street, 10 handslap merkins, run in opposite directions to end of street, 5 burpees OYO. Run back to start, 10 handslap merkins. Repeato.
Mosey to Mens Shelter lot for COP and 15 side straddle hop.
Thanks to Slaughter, Pipeline and Country for the leadership in keeping this AO running like a well-oiled machine.
And thanks to Jedi for being our steady Fortitude rock out there – 73 years young and posting week after week.
And finally, thanks to all of the men of the shelter who eagerly join us each week. Without guys like Happy, Merkury and Triple Threat, none of this would be possible.
“The key to an effective AAR is the spirit in which it is given. The climate surrounding an AAR must be one in which the leaders openly and honestly discuss what transpired in sufficient detail and clarity that not only will everyone understand what did and did not occur and why, but most importantly, will have a strong desire to seek to have the opportunity to practice the task again.” – Army Training Circular, TC 25-20, HQ Department of the Army, 30 Sept 1993.
Until we have the chance to practice this task again, my Q is complete.