Miscreant E4s

In the Army — and most probably in every other branch of the military — there is somewhat of a tradition of Miscreant E4s. The paygrade of E4 is the first rank that involves any sort of official leadership, and — as such — is expected to make frequent faux pas. An E4 with a good head upon his (or her) shoulders, dedication to the mission and … flexible … scruples can often be the difference between a successful ARTEP, and a “No-Go”.

As a “fer instance”, let us suppose that you are somewhere, knee-deep in snow, watching herds of brass monkeys headed South. The never-sufficiently-be-damned cab heaters on the unit’s M3 Bradleys have gone Paws Up — again. Your miscreant E4s will show up just before chow, having “repurposed” a “stray” trailer for some extra cab heaters.

Later on during the same exercise when you suddenly need that “stray” trailer, it will appear — as long as you don’t touch the bumper number. Fresh paint smears something awful.

If your E4s don’t have the lion’s share of the pogey-bait, the really good FMs, and the superfluous equipment that just tends to make things easier (“A shower? How in the hell did you manage to bring a pressurised shower out into the middle of BFE?!”), they know where to get their paws on it. That, along with a certain willingness to trade, bribe, beg, borrow or steal repurpose as required to Accomplish The Mission, tends to make the task of the military commander somewhat easier less aneurysm-inducing. Vishnu bless ’em.

However, E4s without a mission to focus their little nefarious minds upon are often the source of the stories that begin: “This ain’t no [deleted] I took my eyes off the little [deleted]s for ten minutes and the [Insert Descriptive Military Noun Here] exploded/ burst into flame/ sank/ floated/ wound up on eBay/ got pregnant/ moved, when movement was physically impossible/ broke the sound barrier, when not physically possible/ divided by zero/ wound up on top of the base watertower/ etc.,” are typical.

Several miles of Interstate Highway shut down due to Tobasco-augmented smoke generators? E4s.

Nightly News video shot of hanging hams in the windows of the C-130 doing a flyby at the local airshow? E4s.

Base Commander’s beloved prize-winning pecan orchard mysteriously converted into high-velocity matchsticks by precise application of low-yield explosives? Bored E4s.

When I was promoted to my current position, it required thirty minutes of arguing on the part of the Chief Deputy before I finally accepted the promotion — and that was with the caveat that the Sheriff and the Chief Deputy understand that I am absolutely and totally addlepated when it comes to the day-to-day administrative paperwork. “Nae problem!” sayeth them, and Thing1 was detached to be my ADC.

Well, year later and I’ve gone from reporting to the head of a Bureau of the Sheriff’s Office, to reporting directly to the Sheriff. As such, my duties have expanded considerably and I have developed another ADC: Thing2.

Both Thing1 and Thing2 are sergeants with eight years+ experience in the Sheriff’s Office, they are both — literally — young enough to be my children, and they are both female.

I have learned several things over the last year. The first of which is that I have no idea how the fathers of daughters survive, much less maintain their sanity. Seriously. Multiple conversations in the office between those two have ended with me yelping, “I’m sitting right here, and there are things that I do not need to know about!”

Secondly, when it comes to flexible scruples and ruthless pragmatism … all those E4s I’ve known — and I’ve known a lot — all those male miscreant E4s don’t hold a candle to my two female miscreant sergeants.

For example: I’m sitting at my desk, when Thing1 and Thing2 stagger through the doorway, carrying a cube-ish, OD green wossname.

Me: “What is that?”

Thing1: “It’s a wossname!”

Me: “It looks like a fridge. With Air Force markings.”

Thing2: “Really?”

Me: “You’ve been in the DD-1033 room, haven’t you?”

Thing1: “Isn’t the DD-1033 room locked?”

Me: “Yes.”

Thing2: “Then it couldn’t have been the DD-1033 room. Place we found this wasn’t locked.”

Me: *migraine salute*

Sheriff: *wandering through with a cup of coffee* “Huh. Nice fridge. Probably fit better over by the filing cabinets.”

Both Things: “Thank you, sir!”


And I’m not known as the greatest respecter of rank around, but really …

I’m wandering through the office when I hear the walrus snorting of Senior Officer Who Shall Remain Nameless in his patented Condescending Neadertal persona, together with a voice I recognize as Thing2. This immediately causes me to buttonhook the corner in full fire-breathing mode only to find Thing2 apparently hanging on every word coming out of the pie-hole of SOWSRN.

SOWSRN: “Condescend. Condescend, condescend, condescendingly.”

Thing2: “Really?”

I swear I’ve seen smaller eyes in anime.

SOWSRN: “Condescend!”

Behind SOWSRN, I see Thing1 steer a two-wheeled dolly into the open door of the office occupied — coincidentally — by SOWSRN.

Thing2: “I would never have though of that!”

SOWSRN: “Condescending, condescend, condescended.”

Thing1 reappears in the office doorway. Strapped to the dolly is one very large, very expensive (and thus very scarce), very tightly controlled widget. Thing1, dolly and widget disappear down the hallway.

Thing2: “It’s been so very interesting talking to you! We mustn’t keep you! Bye!”

SOWSRN turns and ambles back to his office, whuffing contentedly. At the door he turns. I’m totally at a loss. I think I may be covering my mouth with a hand. I’ve never done that before.

Thing2 (sotto voce while giving a small wave): “Smile and wave, boss. Smile and wave.”

I swear by Freyja: Those two are going to be the death of me.


Oh, you've got to be kidding me.
Some music for the Hallowe'en Season ...

37 thoughts on “Miscreant E4s”

  1. Thank you, thank you, telling new true stories that build up to another gorilla suit story.

  2. That's some good snark, LD, thanks for the chuckle. But I'll suggest that E5's with an adequate amount of tact are just as good at acquiring scrimshaw as E4's, and even more adept at breaking s**t.

  3. I think I love your ADCs. Working as I do with some of THE most…creativity-impaired minions EVER, I think I'd welcome having someone around to keep ME on my toes for a change.

    Also, I'd forgotten the term 'migraine salute.' Which is sad, for lo, I perform it at LEAST four times daily. Ten, if I'm dealing directly with Certain amongst my minions. (-_-)

  4. He's Baaack! Happy days are here again. And I love the Madagascar movie reference.

  5. They say daughters are your punishment for being a man.

    Perhaps your sergeants are your punishment for being one of those miscreant E4s.

  6. Now you begin to understand rearing FarmGirl and her cohort R ( who did the great blogarado waxing )

  7. We preferred to call it "reaquisition of under-utilized assets." Because stealing it would have been misappropriation of government property, and we'd never do that!

    Some of my best (and worst) moments as a 1st/Sgt came about because of the more creatively minded junior minions, and they do, indeed, keep you on your toes.

    And, BTW, welcome back! We've missed you!

  8. I'm assuming that the ADC description implies Assistant to the Deputy Chief… So if I'm correct – Congratulations on the promotion… Since you seem to have 2 highly creative (… ahem..) assistants just sit back and enjoy the ride

    Oh, and WELCOME BACK

  9. In the USMC they are Lance Corporals (E-3's). Corporals are the E4 rank and pretty much establishment.
    After you've seen them fight, you find ways to forgive their less egregious actions.
    Check out Maximilian Uriarte's Terminal Lance. http://terminallance.com/
    V/R JWest

  10. "exploded/ burst into flame/ sank/ floated/ wound Up on eBay/ got pregnant/ moved, when movement was physically impossible/ broke the sound barrier, when not physically possible…."

    Joe and I have no idea what you're talking about.

  11. Just Do Your Sgt Schultz I see Nothing I hrear Nothing I know Nothing. As one of the former E-4s both in the army and in the State Prison. I can sympathize and smirk as well

  12. do yourself a favor and make sure that if they can't somehow "acquire" candy or something to keep them happy that you do so.

  13. Creativity in pursuit of mission objectives is how the Service works. Enjoy & see nothing you might have to mention later.

    Ulises from CA

  14. Why do I suspect that both Thing1 and Thing2 have the first name Sweetyoung?

  15. C.S.P. Schofield…..

    I suspect that if you were to preface Thing1/2 with the words Sweet Young and you were not on their approved list then ending up on their target list would be a near certainty.

    And woe betide you then.



    I'm reasonable sure that is not what 'Dog was referring to, but it made me chuckle.

  17. Well written.

    In the Corps is was the E3 (Terminal Lances) that made the world go round.

    And it's not theft, it's tactically acquiring..

  18. Somewhere in Paris, there is a refinished piano. It was repurposed for a little get together at a POW camp just after WWII. A certain infantryman that I may be descended from may have left some keys in a truck for the POWs to retrieve said piano for refinishing.
    The pastor didn't even recognize it when he came to the party…

  19. I think you may have spilled a 55-gallon drum of understatement on your keyboard…

    "thirty minutes"

    Yep. Right about there

  20. Oh my. I have a Thing 1 and Thing 2. They're 6 and 3 years old. I've been dreading the fights over clothes in about 10 years. Now I have something new to worry about.

    Well, I guess nerdling the third (the male child) is going to get quite the education.

  21. Smile and wave, 'Dog. Smile and wave.

    My husband swears by that with our three daughters, who are 9, 7, and 7.

  22. E-4 mafia does not steal. It Secretly Takes Equipment to an Alternate Location…

  23. Great to have you back LawDog. Your muse seems just fine, though all muses tend to have fairly broad hussy streaks.
    Being a daughter, I'm not sure I can comment on the whole "things you don't want to know about" thing, but I personally think it's very important for kids to have siblings of the opposite gender (it's so educational, sometimes more so than parents or those involved would prefer, but you can't have your cake and eat it too).

  24. So happens I have SEVEN daughters.

    And I am NOT in possession of my sanity.

  25. Oh, you lucky Dog, you! Thing1 and Thing2 made me think of Dr. Seuss, and this was only reinforced with the most excellent diversionary tactics of Thing2 with SOWSRN.

    Glad to see you back with your muse in tow (or is that on your toes?)!

  26. I have no idea what you are talking about; I have never been in the army, never worked in law enforcement, I am a lowly civilian on the other side of the planet. But I read this over and over, and I laugh and laugh, savouring every sentence. I have been a student, though, and we didn't call it "stealing" we called it "rescuing". And we used to return it. Sometimes 😀

  27. Never ask a question unless you're absolutely certain you want the answer. What you don't know you can't testify about.

Comments are closed.