Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Just a Memory

With the Alvin Greene episode still continuing in South Carolina.....I came to remember a fascinating event in 1984 around one of the US Army posts in Germany.

Typically, a Army guy will come out of basic training and then be assigned to further training or just be labeled "infantry" and then sent to a staging point. In Germany....between 8AM and noon....at least two passenger jets would roll in each day and dump off around 200 Army personnel on any given day.

The troops would all process through a unit in front of the air terminal and then they'd get their real orders or assignment in Germany. Up until that point....they had no idea where they were going.

There would be some chow, and then they'd hand you the bus assignment...and around 2PM....the buses would start to roll out across West Germany.

So there was this Army kid who arrived...was processed....and then sent onto his post. He hands over his records, and there's supposed to be a financial briefing within three days.....and you get your paycheck all fixed up. This kid....for whatever reason...never attended the briefing.

Days passed. Weeks passed. Months passed. This kid had a three-year contract....and spent the entire time in Germany. So he comes up within sixty days of leaving Germany, and the Army....and they pull his finance records.

In basic training.....he got two partial checks, and then one final check before departing the US. Then, nothing for the entire period of 2.6 years. The finance guys couldn't understand this.

So they brought him in. They discovered at that point....that the kid had marginally a sixth-grade education. He had some basic reading skills....and was mentally no more than a twelve-year old kid. The guys in the barracks knew this. His boss knew this. His commander knew this. None of them ever put one and one together....to realize the big picture of this kid (he was now 21).

So they added up the missed paychecks....and it came near $35k total. In 1984....that was a fair sum of money.

Then they asked how he survived. Soap, shampoo, etc? He told that his mama was sending a envelop each month with $40 in it.....and that was more than enough to pay for everything. He ate every meal at the chow hall. He drank water from the tap. He never consumed beer. He never went off-post. He had the same clothing that he had from high school. He had bought a couple of pairs of tennis shoes but mama paid for those.

So the finance guys sat down and spent an entire day with this guy....explaining basic finance and how to handle money. They didn't feel good about giving him almost $35k.

His plan? He was going back to home and didn't really have much of plan beyond that.

Through these years....I've always been curious about this guy. I'm guessing that he made it ok, and maybe his mama kept the money in the bank for him.

He was happy with what the Army gave him.

He was Alvin Greene in a way. He didn't really think beyond his little world and was able to enjoy being what he was.

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