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Conduct unbecoming

Conduct unbecoming

Conduct unbecoming

By RICHARD B. TOBIAS

1 Bn 393 Medics


     Our newspaper-reading habits change with our age. Time was, it was headlines first, then sports, then comics. Lately the comics aren't as amusing as they were, so we've switched to the obituaries, the death notices. After all, we constitute a shrinking generation.

     Nothing irks me more than the undertaker's bland announcement: "He served in World War II." Even a Pentagon payroll clerk deserves better! I find no fault when a family lists all honors, medals, and awards the deceased had accumulated. After all, they should be uniquely his.

     Now I've never had the opportunity, nor to be honest, the urge to wear all my medals. Most have little significance; they merely pinpoint my geographical location at a given time, or what was going on nearby. Most reflect what happened to me, not what I myself did. Which brings up one glaring omission: I never got the Good Conduct medal!

     Guys who knew me know I was no angel. I got away with just about everything achievable, attainable, or administratively prohibited, short of outright mayhem, treason, or homicide. It's just that I never got caught that's important. For achievement of that magnitude recognition is deserved.

     I accumulated no "bad time" for acquiring some "social" disease. Civilian police were, at times, tolerant of aberrant behavior of those in uniform. Even company punishment could be tailored to guarantee a clean personnel record. I took my share of KP, over-scheduled guard duty, and barracks orderly service, and my record remained pristine. Worthy of recognition? Sadly, no. And it's all the United States Congress' fault.

     You see, a two-year period of innocence must accumulate. A month or so before that mandated time Congress declared me, as a 90-day wonder via OSC, an officer and a gentleman, ineligible for Good Conduct medal recognition. Shafted again. Story of my military record!

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