This is a vent more than anything. It is not at all uncommon to see an E-mail advertizing a lost weapon being sent to all hands on our network. I used to wonder how that could happen, that is until today. Today I got off work and went to breakfast. When I left chow, I went down to the bus stop. There was a Soldier sitting there with his weapon on the bench. I sat down on the other side of his weapon; only vaguely aware that the muzzle was pointing right at me.
Soon enough this OFFICER stood up and started walking about. He went about 20 feet or so away, and turned his back on me. There was his weapon, bullets and all, within arm's reach of me. I could have picked that thing up and walked away with my very own M16A2 Service Rifle; not to mention that he did not know me from Adam. He had no clue if I were suicidal, or homocidal. If I had any thoughts of either, here was a perfect opportunity for me to act on it. All I could do was shake my head in disgust.
People that knew this Lieutenant came up and spoke with him and left. Several random people walked by, looking at me, a civilian, with a weapon at arm's reach, and nobody questioned this scenario. Finally a good friend of this man's joined him. They were standing there, not paying attention to this weapon. The Lieutantent was talking about how he was going on vacation from this place soon. I'm thinking, "NOT if you get Court-Martialed for losing your weapon, you're not".
My bus came and went. I wanted to stay and see if this dude was actually going to totally forget his weapon. Finally These two gentlemen's bus came. Sure enough, our hero started walking for the bus. "HEY SIR!" I yelled out. He kept walking. "HEY-- LIEUTENANT" He turns around and asks in a seemingly irritated voice, "YOU TALKING TO ME?" "YES SIR!", I call back, "WHERE'S YOUR WEAPON?" He quickly notices the M16 sitting next to me and hurries to get it. He mutters a seemingly frought over "thank you" as he runs back to the bus.
This was a VERY serious incident. Had it been one of my Marines, I can only imagine that I would OWN THEIR SOUL for the rest of the time they worked under me. IF it had been one of my Officers, I would have had EASY STREET for the rest of the time I worked for him. All of my performance reports would have been golden. This was a potential career ending, jail time serving event for this man. He's lucky that I was there watching out for him. I couldn't beleive he turned his back on his rifle, some twenty feet away, leaving it within arm's reach of a civilian that he didn't know from Adam. With the scraggly beard I sported that morning, I could have easily been mistaken for one of the Iraqis that work on this base. I guess today's Military does not put the same emphasis on weapons that we did. Well, this isn't as good as the original, but it will suffice.