In Iraq for 365

About my experiences in Iraq... the frustrations, the missions and this country... and the journey home

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

ID Card Lady

I am not a person who likes conflict. I try to be diplomatic and avoid confrontations. Today, I stood face to face with ID Card Lady, a woman who’s renowned for crushing military egos. She picked the wrong person this morning to take out her sexual frustrations. She’s one of those ladies who is married to a high-ranking enlisted man and thinks her marriage equals uniform rank. Before I go into detail about our battle of wit, let me explain the process at which took me to ID Card Lady…

I think I’d rather get shot at than go through what I did today. We endured redeployment briefings that were as exciting as watching a NASCAR race (which is not a sport!). The army realizes we had several traumatic experiences so they augment this with briefings about our mental health, physical condition, how to be reunited with your family and our veteran benefits. We also had to fill out scores of paperwork and for some reason the army has figured out 20 different ways to write a date. There’s ddmmyear, mmddyear, yearfullmonthdd, etc. Screw it up and you have to redo the paperwork. Anyway, while everything was extremely interesting and important, I am not much of a classroom guy (which is why I graduated college with a 2.6). It took everything I had not to fall asleep. Upon the completion of several long, boring, briefings, we were given a rather long list of stations we had to clear. Finance. TRICARE. Medical. Dental. Chaplain. Legal. G6. Retention. ACAP. DD214. And ID Card…

Her hair was natty and she had a smoker’s voice. “Can I help you?” said ID Card Lady. Yes, ma’am, I need to get my new ID Card so I can receive all my new veteran’s benefits, such as VA Home Loan and VA grants for this business I plan to start. “Well, did you go to finance,” she asked after a series of coughs and a few sips of coffee. Why yes I did. “It’s not signed on your sheet.” Cough, cough, sip, sip. Well, I went there, ma’am. “I will say this again, it’s not signed on your sheet.” No problem, ma’am, I’ll go back to finance and get a sig. I wanted to say, hey, pull that corn cob out of your ass, splash some cold water on your face and give me my new ID Card so I can enjoy all my veteran’s benefits and you can go back to polluting your lungs with Camels.

So, I went to finance and got a signature and returned to ID Card Lady’s cluttered desk that was covered with pictures of her ugly dog. “Did you get your end of leave form?” Why yes I did. Here it is. She took it from my hand and gave me a dirty look with her dark brown, cold eyes. Then, she started typing the information in her computer, so I could get all my veteran’s benefits.

My final day of active duty will be February 15, but my commander is trying to push it to the right a couple days. I won’t be doing anything; I’ll just be on leave status during this period. I didn’t think it really mattered, but I told her anyway.

Ma’am, I don’t think it matters, but there’s a chance that the end of leave date could change. “What? That totally changes everything. That means your active duty benefits will shift two days.” You know, I really don’t care. Just put in the info, take my picture, sign the form and we’ll call it a day. “Well, I do care and I’m not putting this in the computer if it’s not right.” I don’t know if the date is going to change, but what’s two days. I mean, I just want to go home. And right now, I can’t do that if you don’t sign this form. “Well, let me tell you something, I am not going to sign your form if you don’t know if the date is right.” Then, her colleague walks in. The colleague wore tight spandex pants and a sweater that revealed more than needed to be seen. The ID Card Lady explained the situation to the Colleague, who agreed with ID Card Lady who emphasized I didn’t care. “We can’t do anything until we know the date is right. And you should care,” said the Colleague whose breath smelled like a whisky cabinet. She totally took that comment out of context. All I want to do is go home. “No, I didn’t take your comment out of context. You’ve been giving me attitude since you walked in this office.”

In the past year, I don’t think I’ve been more ticked off than at that particular moment. I wanted to tell her that her dog was ugly and she looked like a shriveled up piece of beef jerky. But I remained cool and sternly said… Listen here, you haven’t seen attitude and I don’t appreciate the way you’re treating soldiers who’ve been shot at, mortared, received life-scarring wounds and seen more crap in person than you have on T.V. “Don’t tell me how to treat soldiers. I’m married to a Marine. And I don’t appreciate your attitude.” At this point, I realized that I’m going up hill in a pair of broken slippers with this lady. Trust me, lady, you have not seen an attitude yet. Then, I stormed out of her stinky office.

At the end of all these briefings, I get to fill out a survey about how efficient the process was and how we were treated by the workers. Now, I couldn't live with myself for getting somebody fired, so I’ll not mention this incident. However, Friday, I will be re-united with ID Card Lady. And while today’s battle may have ended in a standstill, she will feel my wrath if she messes with me again and doesn’t give me a new ID Card so I can enjoy my veteran’s benefits. By God, I’ve been in Iraq for a year; I think I can handle ID Card Lady.


At 5:04 PM, Blogger Chip Anderson said...

Hooboy. Welcome back to the world. I'm afraid the only satisfaction you'll get from the ID card lady is what you write about her here. Hey, maybe you should give her directions to your site!


At 5:34 PM, Blogger Army Mom said...

See...and you thought you would have nothing to write about when you got home. And already you have met ID Card Lady and the airline security folks. Fun times!

At 6:30 PM, Blogger liz said...

UH! I FEEL YOUR PAIN! The ID Card place here at Dobbins AFB (in Georgia) we call the ID Card lady "THE Bitch" not just any old bitch but THE bitch. The whole tiny room is full of her wonderful attitude. Such as right next to the "We support our troops" crepe paper is the "DO NOT CHANGE THE CHANNEL ON THE TV UNLESS INSTRUCTED TO TO SO BY MGTMT" and "We love our customers" right next to "DO NOT CHANGE THE SEATING ARRANGEMENT, FILL OUT THE SIGN IN SHEET AND HAVE A SEAT!" and lets not forget "DO NOT WAIT UP AGAINST THE WALL, SIGN IN AND SIT DOWN!"
Lots of nice polite reminders of who thinks she's in charge.

At 7:06 PM, Blogger Brian H said...

Send the link for this post to her supervisor. I think a few people will be sending to mil and public newspapers and mags, anyway. :)

At 9:43 PM, Blogger FVK said...

She sounds more like the ID Card-Nazi! Hang in there...

At 10:06 PM, Blogger strykeraunt said...

Just think of all the grief that you could possibly save other soldiers by simply putting a couple of words down on the survey...and you are definitely a word person :D If not, I like the ideas mentioned above too!!

At 4:22 AM, Blogger Rosemary said...

My Mom always tells me, "Do not give anymore info than is asked for." When you go back tomorrow, DON'T SAY ANYTHING. She may ask if you got it straightened out. You say, "Yes Ma'am." That should be that. We can hope, right?! LOL

Other than that, I hope you are doing well. Have a great day.

At 5:23 AM, Blogger ac blue eagle said...

I've met people like the ID Lady. We all have. My funniest experience in the military ID line was over-hearing the lady preparing a new ID card for the fellow in front of me ask when she came to the line about hair color: "Do you want me to put gray or bald?"
My own discharge came after seven days' crossing the North Atlantic on a troop ship, no doubt one of the last voyages of a WWII Liberty ship. I remember everyone on the ship crammed into a big room at Ft. Hamilton, NY, I think--and some senior NCO telling us all to be quiet and do as we were told. He also said anyone who said anything or did anything would be pulled out and not be discharged until who knew when. Sure enough, one fellow did make a noise--and he was pulled out! Of course the rest of us held our breaths through the rest of the process--and we were all discharged!

At 5:57 AM, Blogger Huntress said...

" Now, I couldn't live with myself for getting somebody fired, so I’ll not mention this incident"

I'm tempted to say MENTION THE INCIDENT - let them know about how awful her attitude is - but Ive come to some battles are not worth fighting.

Just do what needs to be done to get out of there...and put it behind you. You have seen and experienced so much this past year that will stay with you forever while the memory of this bitch will fade away quickly or be turned into a moment of laughter after a few drinks..."I stared down evil insurgents, I survived mortar attacks, nothing fazed me ....except for the
(whispers)ID Lady.

At 7:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PHEWWWWW! I hope you get your ID.

I for one know the type of DA Civilian you are talking about. the one that has a job to do and doesn't care what soldiers they Piss off because we can't make them do push-ups. They hold on to their one peice of authority so aggressivily.

I truly hope you do not Meet USR Lady at FT. Riley.

At 8:41 AM, Blogger Pawatwoop said...

ID Card Lady sounds alot like the Sewing ladies at CIF who yell at all the new Joes. As a recuit I never did figure them out, and was terrified of them. Now as a Drill, I find them endlessly entertaining.

At 10:48 AM, Blogger Kim said...

Sminky... those broken slippers really don't match your uniform... make sure you hide them when you go back to see her tomorrow! ;)

At 12:24 PM, Blogger CaliValleyGirl said...

A wise man I know once said: "In the army, if leaders aren’t stern and decisive, the soldiers will take advantage of the “nice guys.” A bad attitude, or disrespect, can lead to the mission not being accomplished. The mission not being accomplished can lead to the battle being lost. I think you get the point."

I think you get the point, too...*smirk*

And come on...she isn't going to be fired. Plus, seriously, would it be so bad if she were fired, and someone else were hired to do the job, who was a little friendlier, more proactive...and gee, while we're at it, hotter?

At 8:59 PM, Blogger JUST A MOM said...

You go get her Smink!!! Give her the good ol' what for with a little extra. Tell her that where you just came from is a very nice place to vacation, maybe she will go!!

At 8:51 AM, Blogger MAJBuckster said...

Just ask her if she knows what A-76 means (a DA directed study usually followed by rude DA civilians being replaced with lower paid, inept contractors.) That'll more than make her day.

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