In the Air Force, you have to attend NCO Professional Military Education several times in your career. Around fourteen to seventeen years….its a six-week school. To be quite honest, I considered this six-week period in my life to be the biggest waste of time ever. There’s nothing I learned….other than marching around in a circle. They have a big requirement to make three speeches during the six-week period…which are heavily graded and end up being twenty-five percent of your total grade. At the end of my first speech….the instructor just sat there. Most of the guys were given a “C” or “B”, with improvement suggestions. The instructor just looked at me and said there wasn’t anything he could critique me on….I was a “A-plus” and he actually liked my speech. The other two speeches were the same way. The amusing thing is that I barely put an hour into writing each of these, and maybe practiced them maybe three times each.
At some point on the very first day, in the very first hour…in your group of twelve students and one instructor….there is the introduction period. Usually, you stand and say “I’m Carl, from Ramstein, and work over at TRANS. I have a associates degree, and working on my bachelors in Greek history. I’ve been here in
I was standing there today talking to my associate, who just came out of the PME school a month ago. They were sitting there for their class introduction phase, when the third guy stood up and somewhere in the middle of the introduction…the guy said “Yes, I’m married to my third wife. The first wife was a nut and alcoholic....and the second wife cheated on me while I was deployed.” My associate kinda just sat there, and then the next guy led off and went into the same direction. My associate stood up and did the normal introduction….figuring that this was going to rectify the situation and end this marriage-rehab circle....with no chit-chat over his first and only marriage. But no….the next guy led back into the same topic area.
I sat there, thinking back over my years in public forums like this and how guys never discussed their “details” like this. None of the guys in my period would have ever said in public something to this effect.
I sat there and asked him if this "openness" continued on. It did. It sounded to me like a Doctor Phil episode. One guy talked about his twenty-year old girlfriend.....he was 35 years old. My associate just didn't get it. This wasn't normal. Folks just don't stand there in a professional environment and talk about their cheating first wife or cheating second husband. The obvious to me....alot of folks are on their 3rd marriage.....for both men and women. Twenty years ago.....it was ok to accept a second marriage situation and that was kinda enough. That isn't the norm today.
So why bring up the topic? I sat there and paused on this. In the old days.....guys left work and went for a beer, and talked about their problems. The chance to associate with a friend and sip several beers....gave them a chance to dump problems. Women did the same thing....discussing their lying and cheating husband with a work associate and eventually reaching a conclusion....dump the idiot. But then the Air Force cleaned up. They went sober. They made the afternoon beer call obsolete. They made drinking a sin. They forced these guys to pretend that they didn't have problems. They kept their problems inside and hidden.
Now, these guys are at a point. They need a forum where they can confess sins and dump their problems. With no bars....they take the next best place....their training forums. And the curious thing is that they are meeting folks....male and female....that have the same issues. A learning atmosphere? No....it never really was a learning atmosphere.....even I'll swear to that. But now? Its like a Doctor Phil show....where folks in uniform dump their life. Pretty sad in some respects.