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I work in the US Army as an Information Technology Specialist (MOS 25B) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Ostensibly, my job is to operate and maintain the computer network for my Battalion (2 BCT, 2-502 Infantry Regiment, HHC company, S6 shop). What I end up doing, however, is far from that. At least, what I do is the unimportant, monkey-flips-the-switch stuff. When we're stateside we aren't allowed to touch the switches, routers, servers, Exchange accounts, wall ports or anything else, really. I do printer installs, software troubleshooting, minor hardware troubleshooting, take fragged laptop computers to the Image Center where new software is installed on top of dead software, submit new Exchange account requests to DOIM (Department of Information Management- a civilian organization that runs the entire Ft. Campbell network) and sundry other boring tasks that can be done by any knuckle-dragging ape.

I have absolutely no control over our network. When something goes wrong, however, it is I who gets the complaints- "Your shit is broke. Fix it." Every other soldier who doesn't work in the Commo Shop tends to believe that I am in full control of the network and that I can make things happen with the snap of my fingers. Would that this were true! If it were, my professional life would be a lot easier. Unfortunately, DOIM makes it clear that they own the network and that I am little more than a functionary at the end-user side of things. I'm a facilitator, a pair of hands at the terminal point of the I.T. realm.

But there is a silver lining. There is a day in the future that I have to look forward to, a day when this dog will be on top.

When we deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan or wherever else they may send us, I am in control of my Battalion's network. I will be the one to build it from the ground up (pretty much by myself, actually). I will hold the keys to the gates and the city known as the 2-502. I will be the one to say:

"All your 10 Base-T are belong to us."

I will be sure to pack the old-style coaxial T-terminal cables along with some old NIC cards with the proper fittings. While everyone else gets to have 100mb transfer times, any civilians attached to our unit will be working at a tenth of that speed. And when they request a new image for a laptop, I will tell them it'll take a few days, that they have to fill out all kinds of unnecessary paperwork and they will have to dance on their heads for three hours just to get me to take the damn thing off their hands. And they'll thank me for it. Repeatedly. Because that's what I have to do here, in the states, where my skills, training and talents are going to waste doing stupid, menial things like updating Adobe Acrobat.

Vengeance is mine, sayeth the G.I. Geek.

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