TOC: Tactical Operation Center; the field headquarters.
A leader sticks up for his or her people and looks out for them. A leader protects them from other peoples’ pettiness or abuse or shortcomings. Anything less than that is a fraud.
The scene portrayed here did not actually happen to me, and as far as I know it is only Army Legend. But it could have happened– people who get so focused on their rules or whatever that they cannot see the wider picture: tunnel vision. This particular Sergeant-Major is wrapped up in his world of minor rules and PT belts and band-aid solutions that he can’t comprehend a unit that doesn’t do the same. It is always awkward when someone from outside your chain of command tries to press their rules upon you.
I suppose I should say something about my picking on Sergeants-Major. The Sergeant-Major portrayed here is from another unit; I made his shoulder patch vague and based on no unit I know of– just an oblique look at some geometric pattern. I didn’t want to give the impression I was trying to portray a particular unit as messed up. This guy just represents poor leadership choices, and Joe Rock, fortunately, rose to the occasion. He was lucky in that the situation presented fairly obvious choices, and he knew his own chain of command would back him up and probably laugh this guy out of the TOC.
But I am probably giving the impression that Sergeants-Major are useless, dumb, or malicious. It’s not the case. A Sergeant-Major is in a position of great influence, and a good one can make a unit shine. A bad Sergeant-Major can destroy the morale of a unit. My opinion is, if you can’t be good at the job, at least be one of those passive ones that just stays in an office with his feet up, drawing a paycheck. It is better to be passively useless that contribute to destruction. I’ve met good Sergeants-Major too, people actively involved in watching out for the troops, seeing to their welfare, and being approachable. If the troops are afraid to approach you because they fear you’ll use a problem as a launch pad for another redundant, stupid regulation that perks up your NCOER, then you’re doing it wrong. This mindset can apply to civilian business management as well.
A Note on The Art:
An observation about the art that reflects some of today’s comic: I, too, have gotten wrapped up in one way of doing things. For a long time I’ve been applying camouflage and shading in the most tedious manner possible– drawing an outline, coloring it in, then going back and re-touching the areas where colors and lines overlapped. I started using the “lasso” tool in PhotoShop for my shading a while ago, but for some reason I never clued in that I could do the same thing for the camouflage patterns. All of a sudden it struck me that I could save a lot of time by using the “lasso” for camouflage patterns too. So hopefully I’ll be able to use this to make my time flow more smoothly. This seems so head-smackingly obvious now I can’t understand why it didn’t occur to me earlier that I could use “lasso” in that way.
I’m also experimenting with using a finer pen for my inks, and then saving at a higher dpi (dot per inch) rate. I used to save at 200 – 300 dpi and feared that a higher rate would expose more errors and scan artifacts; but I read a book on digital comic publishing and it turns out the pros use 600 dpi. So I tried it, and it seemed to come out crisper. I’ll continue to experiment and try to refine the comic– I already can see a lot of progress from the earliest pages, and my new feature of “Blast From the Past” on the Facebook page (plug, plug) will take a look on some of the early days of BOHICA Blues.
And, oh, yeah– why a 2-pager today? Any special occasion? No. I’m just enjoying this. Have a good week!