Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Ollie and the Ivy

Here it is.

The 4th Infantry Division Patch on my right shoulder.  Steadfast and Loyal.  Soldiers call it a combat patch. It's the mark of having served in a combat zone. The Ivy is a play on the IV of the Roman numeral 4.  Clever, huh?  I'm proud to wear the patch, but any patch on my right shoulder is an honor.  My 23+ years seem vindicated.  The red tab above it is part of a tourniquet.  We all wear it in the same pocket, so that should it be needed, you know right where to look.  Given the dangers that I am exposed to on a daily basis, I suspect having it is overkill.  I can't fathom the paper-cut or staple stab that might require me to staunch the flow of blood at its arterial source.  I am not kicking in doors, calling for fire or close air support. Mostly, I am reviewing government contracts, policy letterszzzzzzzzzzzz, oh, sorry.....proposed operating procedures, and the transfer of property between NATO Framework nations and guarding pots of money.  It is a very complex command environment.  My new friend Ollie understood this and helped by sending this:

Ollie isn't too great with letters, but he is clearly a strategic thinker, an organizational genius, and a fiscal wunderkind.  His note came in an "Any Soldier" care package.

As you can see, he included the NATO organizational chart.  It is a perfect depiction of the complex international positions and command relationships.  He has also color-coded the lines to better chart the "colors of money" that enable our mission here in Afghanistan.  As you can see, lots of green goes in at the top....and lots of red comes out at the bottom.  Somewhere in the middle things get a little bit messy, but somehow it works.  We're going to complete this mission having done our best for the people of Afghanistan.  Ollie indicates this with what is probably a heart, but  after 5 months away from home looks a little bit like cleavage to me.  I digress. Ollie clearly knew that it was my job to help make all of this work and wanted to help.

Clearly uncertain of what to do with all this, Ollie concluded with "I love you?".  Note the question mark.

Its okay Ollie. It can be a bit confusing, but the 4th Infantry Division and I are doing our best.

I love you too?

Thanks for the box of Savannah Smiles.