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Getting Hammered on Staff Duty


fm2176

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Those who know, know.  Twenty-four hours of pure excitement...often stretched to a 28-hour or more day.  Report to work at 0600 for accountability, shift starts at 0900, relieved 24 hours later only to have to report to someone to close out.  Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.  In most units, it's an inconvenience; on the trail it's actually a break.  Two days mostly away from trainees.  No mommy/daddy games, watching 20-somethings cry, meting out corrective action, and occasionally actually training tomorrow's Army. 

 

Anyway, as I spent the day in mind-numbing boredom, alternating between starting Final Fantasy VI on my phone (and realizing that I first played the game the day it was released in '94, having played most re-releases as well since) and dreaming of a day when I can actually build/repair things regularly again, the relative peace was broken by the sound of a Bosch Brute demolition hammer.  Contractors have been making some repairs to the building, and I'd seen the hammer earlier, but had no idea what it would be used for.  A few hours later it was evident.  I watched as the contractors removed some old HVAC equipment from the mechanical room located right next to the Staff Duty office.  Nice and peaceful, watching the Caterpillar skid-steer load the obsolete system that likely predated my own initial training.  Listening to the contractors use a Sawzall to cut old lines, seemingly having fun in their work.  Little did I know about the slab.  The demo hammer went in, and for the next three hours my world was jarred. 

 

I conducted checks earlier and looked in the mechanical room.  The Brute is lodged in the slab, of which about 3/4 remains for my relief and (possibly) their relief to endure as it is removed.  There are also a handful of well-used tools in there, which make my little-used DeWalt, unused (so far) Fuel tools, and even fairly well-used mechanics' tool look like pampered would-be's.  In a little over 8 hours this shift is over, but the hammering will continue.

 

:) 

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we did a job once in a hops mill to replace 26 feet of stainless rails 4 guys should have been a 5 hour job, turned out to be 3 days because of their rules of ability. we all got there at 6:00 AM first morning and waited until 3:30pm for someone to ok a crane operator to lift our equipment up to the 3rd floor with a hoist (couldn't touch the controls) then once up there we had to wait until 11:30 AM next morning for the plant electrician to plug in our 550V welders. then they wanted a crew for fire watch and they couldn't come up with 3 guys to watch us until next morning. needless to say we did what we had to do in 3 hours and 15 minutes and waited again 5 hours to get back to ground floor......the plant is no longer there........

 

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8 hours ago, EEtwidget said:

It always struck me odd that we contracted out duty our own personnel was trained for. I thought it odd but never said anything. Watching someone else do your work isn't all that bad. Unless you're starting 24/12 rotations. 

Generally there are little known contract issues with the state or country that the facility is located in that require a percentage of civilian jobs be supplied based on the size of the force in residence. At my permanent duty station, the general supply depot was run by civilian clerks, which always seemed to be a security issue to me, but it was part of the agreement of job creation for locals that was being applied between the Army and the state of Hawaii. There were many times when we sat on our thumbs and watched civilian crews work at jobs we could have easily performed, and frankly we were generally bored out of our skulls and would have welcomed the activity, but that was above our pay grade.

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I would be the one on the other side of your story, pulling the equipment out and putting the new in, but it's been a couple years since I've last been at a base. We've had several contracts last year, but I wasn't chosen to go on the jobs, although I would have liked to. Last time i went somewhere was in Oklahoma at Altus AFB, late 2012, I keep hoping I'll get to go on another job because it's an adventure and pays very well. 

 

Pop in a set of earbuds and grab a pair of ear muffs...

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I survived that shift.  The crew came back the following morning right as I was being relieved.  I had to endure a few hours while my relief got a day's worth of hammering.  As for the work, I understand the need for contractors to do it, whether it is due to agreements with the local community or due to liability/safety/coding or other issues.  Military personnel who hold jobs in various trades aren't necessarily the best choice for building/repairing/installing stuff stateside.  Also, in fifteen years of military service, I've yet to meet someone who holds a carpentry, electrician, plumber, or other skilled MOS.  A friend of mine from the Recruiter days was an AC repairman, but he usually talked about vehicle AC systems and probably lacks the training for large building units.

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