Military stories from past to present, both wars.

How to screw a single guy…

September 6th, 2007 Posted in The SandGram v1.0

How to screw a single guy:

Now I’m sure that anyone who “Googles” some words relating to this post will be very surprised to find out that it has nothing to do with SEX. Actually, all you young Officers and Enlisted Marines out there, take heed, this has to do with you. See, for some reason, there is a prevailing wind in the military to shaft the “single” guy and or gal when it comes to entitlements that the Government owes them. There’s bound to be that awkward moment when it comes out that you are not married. The clerk will check the block on the right that says “single” and move on. As you get older and wiser, you learn that you just got screwed over. Here are some examples:
• DLA [dislocation allowance].
While living in lovely New Bern, North Carolina, I had to kick out my two civilian roommates (you’ve already heard some of their stories), and find some replacements ASAP. During a Wing safety stand-around at the base theater, I met two single Lt’s; one who realized the full potential of living on a beautiful lake away from base; and the other who needed some extra incentive to feel the same. Lt. Dan was living on base in the BOQ, waiting for his orders to attend his MOS school in California. I explained to him that if he didn’t move out of the “Q” [Bachelor’s Quarters] most “Ricky Tic,” he would lose his DLA which in the 90’s equated to roughly two months of “BAQ” [Basic Allowance for Quarters, a.k.a. Basic Allowance for Housing, or BAH] which equaled six hundred dollars, and helps offset the cost of moving off base. All he had to do was sign the lease, turn it in, leave me three rent checks and the six hundred dollars was all his since I already had the deposits paid on the gas, water, phone, and my first born child.

Lt. Dan was excited to think that he could pay down some of the debt on his uniform loan he took from the Marine Shop in Quantico for his dress blues etc. On Monday, we moved him in, signed the lease and off to work we went. He went to his admin guys to drop off the lease and await his check. I get a phone call about an hour later. “Captain Bell?” I’m not sure who is calling and say “yes.” “Hey, this is Lt. Dan, and Sir, I have to tell you that I’m pissed off that you screwed me.” You could tell he was very annoyed. “What is the problem, Lt?” He proceeds to tell me that the Gunny, in charge of the admin shop, denied his DLA because he was single.

This was lesson one for the Lt. “Hey Devil Dog, do you think they just give pilots DLA every time we PCS (Permanent Change of Station) because we are better-looking than our grunt counter parts? I’m telling you that he is full of crap! You rate it, and I want you to go back in there and tell him to show you in the “JTR” (Joint Travel Regulations) where it says you don’t rate it because you are single. If I’m right, you buy me dinner tonight with some of your cash, if I’m wrong, I’ll cut you a check out of my own pocket for six hundred bucks. How does that sound?”

Lt Dan did go back and confront the Admin NCOIC. About an hour and half later I received another phone call. “Sir (very happy voice), you were right!! I do rate it. He spent about an hour reviewing the manual and making phone calls. Turns out that he has been screwing over all the single Lt’s who checked in for the last three years and it’s too late for them to go back and claim it.” He is on cloud nine, so I say, “Great, I would like to have dinner at “Monte’s steak house,” say about 1800?” The answer for most things in the Corps are found in the “ABDTW” manual (always been done that way), located in some far off office that they could never find. I So I just live by the adage of “Show me in writing.”

“Ditty Moves” [where you move yourself].
When I PCSd to Okinawa Japan, I put my household stuff in storage, like a bed, couch etc., and then set up a small mini-move, the “Ditty move.” It weighed a certain amount and was shipped pretty quickly, in around two to three weeks. This included my clothes, uniforms, flight equipment etc. Well, after a year on the island and buying my TV, stereo system, blue lions and a ton of corny stuff from the year there, I had enough for a regular household move from the Island. How much weight you rate goes along with your rank.

I went to the “TMO” [local traffic management office] guys on Camp Foster and filled out the proper paper work in triplicate. When I was able to meet with Corporal Smuckatelly, my official councilor, we discussed the move, and as I looked at my calendar in my trusty “week-at-a-glance,” I asked the typical questions. “O.K., the house-hold move takes up to forty-five days to float back on some freighter, huh, and the small ditty move is less then two weeks?” He nodded his head as he was reviewing my paperwork. “Well then, I’d like my household move on this date, and my Ditty move on this date which is two days before my scheduled freedom bird off the Island.”

Cpl Smuckatelly looked at my dates, then at my paperwork, then at my left hand. I could see it coming a mile away. “Sir, are you married?” “No, I reply.” “Well then, I’m sorry Sir, but you don’t rate a Ditty Move back to the states.” Normally, this type of silly red-ass game gets my blood pressure up, but I wanted to see where he was going with it this time. “Well, Cpl, if I don’t rate it, then how did I get all of my stuff sent over here from the states that way?” He looked over at my paperwork again, and then said, “Sir, not sure how Cherry Point TMO got away with it; maybe it came from a different pot of money.”

I just looked at the dates again, and told him without looking up, “Go refer to the JTR and find that reference for me will you? I’m going to buy a coke while you check things out and if I’m wrong, I’ll buy you one, too.” He went and produced the JTR, spending the next twenty minutes flipping pages as he mumbled, “I could swear on my life that it was in here.” He even called his boss, the Gunny, and they put their heads together in the next office looking for another ten minutes. They then consulted their boss, the Chief Warrant Officer. The Chief Warrant Officer came in shaking his head with his Cpl in tow. “Sir, I can’t find it in here, but I’m sure that we are right.” I looked at the two of them and then said, “Well gents, if it’s not in your Bible there, I’d like my household on this date, and the Ditty move on this date and in the future, please don’t screw over the single Marines.”

They complied, and I went back to the “Q” that night explaining to the other Officers who were also leaving on the same plane. Two of them looked at each other and laughed, “Those bastards did the same thing to me and I fell for it.” The other guy was fired up and told us he was going back there in the morning to correct his move.

There are other stories like this I could tell. I don’t want to come across that I’m the “dickhead Officer,” but it drives me nuts when I hear of guys not getting what they’re entitled to. Last week, I was visiting Gunny Lewis, the Marine that got me back into the Corps, and as we were talking in his office, one of his new Sergeants came in talking about this DLA thing and how he didn’t rate it because he was single…

So for all of you “TED’s” (Typical Enlisted Dudes) and “TOD’s” (Typical Officer Dudes) just remember, for as long as you are in the Corps, if there is doubt, then there is NO DOUBT, so ask for it in writing before you accept it at face value.
Semper Fi,