Cleaning the Barracks Lights by John L. Neel

My office phone rang. On the other end was a Lieutenant Colonel, Army, father of one of our new Rats. He wanted to thank me and congratulate VMI for what was, in his estimation, a well run, highly organized, professional Matriculation of over five-hundred new students. He lauded the cadets and staff for all of their hard work, heaping praise on everyone from the Superintendent to the guys who parked the cars.

He did, however, have one complaint and he thought that being the Sergeant Major, I would be the perfect person to contact. He said he knew that .  Sergeants Major can fix anything.. 

.  It seems that he noticed there were dead bugs in the light fixture in his son's barracks room, a small oversight, which was the only thing he had seen wrong the entire day. He thought he should let us know so we could address the issue in future years., I said. .  Sir, I appreciate you bringing this to my attention. We try to make sure everything is perfect, but this, I will have to admit, is something I didn't check. I will take immediate action to get that cleaned.. 

.  Would you give me your son's room number?. 

He ended his call with another Thank You and a hope to meet me next time he was on Post.

Five minutes later, I kicked in the door to his son's room, flamed them for every little thing I saw wrong, including the bugs in the light fixture, and gave them two minutes to get it cleaned up.

I did have a look at other rooms and found the issue to be a marginal problem. I had a word with our Barracks Custodial Supervisor for the next summer.

I never heard back from the Colonel, nor did he introduce himself to me when he came to see his son.

I hope he had a good laugh when his son, no doubt, told him about it at their next visit, but more so, I hope he learned something about VMI and me in this small lesson.

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