Saturday, November 26, 2005

Army Bookkeeping

Our fine prosecutors seem to enjoy going after the book keeping bad boys like Enron, but they’d have had a real ball if they had looked at the goings on in the Army during and after WWII. Let me give you a few examples from my nefarious career as a Supply Sergeant for an infantry company right after the war.

Soon after the fighting stopped, an order came in for all the troops to turn in their gas masks. In theory, a gas mask had been carried by each GI since he first went into a combat area. If it had been lost or stolen (Ha!) the GI was responsible and had to pay. The supply sergeant had to fill out a form called a Statement of Charges, turn it into Payroll and the charge was deducted from the transgressor’s pay. In truth, our company’s gas masks littered the lands of France, Germany, Austria, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean. A number of the cases were still in use for carrying candy bars, cigarettes and miscellaneous personal effects. When the order came down, I collected a woefully small number of actual masks. I scrounged for any more masks I could I find. I put all of them in a jeep trailer and headed off to Quartermaster. I did not want to undertake the paperwork for the deficiency I faced, so I offered to help the guy at Quartermaster count them. While I counted I tried to listen to his count, so that my count plus his would come close to the required number. When we were both finished, he asked my count. I took a deep breath and fibbed, “163”. He said, “I got 102. Let’s see, that adds up to exactly 199. Congratulations, Sergeant, you hit it right on the nose.” I took the paperwork, told him he was a real square shooter, and hurried back to my supply room.

1 comment:

Marilyn said...

You're SLICK. :)