AND THEN, IT REALLY HIT THE FAN!

{Foreword: Lt Don Keith served as an FO with the 2/9th before becoming a "briefing officer"}

My first day on the job as the Asst G-2 Intel Officer was to brief Gen Cunningham on events of the previous night.  I had a chart with about 25 "incident locations" held on by magnets.  My task was to point to each location and tell what happened there.  Well, I hit the chart with the pointer which dislodged the magnets, and all the locations fell down.  Helluva start on my new assignment, looking stupid and clumsy in front of the General and his Aides.   Those Three Stooges you've seen on TV were reduced to One and I was it.  Well, I carried on in fine military fashion and simply said: "About here...there was an incident".  I didn't have a problem with that because I knew just about where the actions occurred.   Now, general officers are usually very forgiving about these kind of "accidents", but not their Aides.  My Major boss said not to let it happen again!

The next day, there was no problem...or so I thought.  There were two charts behind me.  My briefing instructions were to say: "Sir, the track/vehicle status..."  And the general would read the chart, nod his head acknowledging that he had read the first chart.  Then I was to say: "Sir, the light and weather data..."   He would read the chart and I would continue the briefing.  Except!!  The charts were in the wrong order!  He read the weather chart first as I was saying it was "the vehicle chart" because I had not looked behind me.  I became aware of people laughing in the briefing room, so I looked behind me and I saw the mistake.  I recovered by saying: "Well, you all could see the material and, being officers, you could tell what the information was".   That got a bigger laugh than my mistake did...but not from my Major boss!   After the briefing, he took me aside to say that I was going to be replaced.  Strange how General's Aides were like Dads in the stands watching their sons strike out in a ball game.  I told my boss that I would personally handle the charts next time and they would NOT be out of order!

Next morning was a new day!  Briefing Gen Cunningham was going to be a piece of cake.  This time, I did NOT hit the magnetic chart! I was on a roll after discussing about 35 different incidents.   Now came the charts.  I carefully picked up the track/vehicle chart and said: "Sir...the track/vehicle data".  Gen Cunningham gave me his nod and then I took the chart I was holding and walked it right into an open fan!  It exploded into a zillion pieces and went flying all over the room.  The entire place was in tears from laughing!  Let's see...which one was I....Curly, Larry or Moe?

I smiled and said: "Sir, it's been a pleasure briefing you.  Guess I will sent out to the field to see what damage I can do there!"  General Cunningham said: "NO!  You will remain as my Briefing Officer.  Besides, I never know what's going to happen next!"

 

Lt Don M. Keith

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