Tag Archive for 'EME'

Inspection Blues !

An Inspection in any organization is a major task involving month long preparations , brushing up all the SOP’s [Standard Operating Procedure ] , and many rehearsals before the D Day .There is always an element of  ” window dressing ”  to hide any possible shortcomings in the system , especially in the upkeep of facilities and equipment .The main purpose of an Inspecting Officer is to judge  the state of  ‘ fitness ‘ of an organization to discharge its intended role. In the case of Armed Forces , it is  to test  the ‘ battle readiness ‘ of a field force when there is no war  around. Thus , peace time soldiering is all about training for war and periodic inspections including technical inspections .

The incident here happened at Bareilly  in UP during the late 60’s where I was posted as the Adjutant in the rank of Captain in an EME Battalion. Our operational role was in the UP – Tibet  border against any possible threat from the Chinese. It was my job to ensure that all administrative aspects about the inspection was taken care of which included a ‘ book inspection ‘ by the staff of the divisional Commander  and above all  pull all the strings to get a good impression of the General during his visit to the battalion which includes a working lunch at the Officers Mess .

I got into the act and ensured that everything is taken care of in its minutest details. I came to know from the ADC to the divisional commander  that the General was very fond of gardening  and always appreciated good potted  flowers . Our Officers Mess lacked a good garden and I had noticed some good flower pots painted in blue with a variety of seasonal flowers with the neighboring Signals Regiment . The adjutant there was a good friend and I borrowed about two dozen flower pots from him for our Inspection. After a successful tour of the Battalion in the morning , the divisional Commander along with his staff came over with our Commanding Officer [ C O ]  to the Officers Mess for lunch. While walking in , the General noticed the freshly painted flower pots with good flowers and appreciated the same .  Everything went off well and my CO was very happy .

It so happened , our battalion was the first to be inspected by the General and the Signals Regiment was the last after a gap of two weeks or so . During the visit of the divisional commander to the Signals Regiment , unfortunately , there were some glitches while they were tested for establishing communications with the higher HQ and the General was not very happy with the CO about this lapse which reflected poorly on the ‘ fitness ‘ aspect of the regiment. When , he moved into the CO’s office for a final chat ,  he saw the same flower pots he noticed in our officers mess , this time displayed in front of the office of the CO of the Signals Regiment . I heard  he sarcastically commented to the CO there ” Come on Colonel , I am sure you can at least  have your own flower pots in front of your office ! You don’t have to borrow them from the EME Battalion ! ” .  The adjutant of the Signals Regiment , I believe , got a strong reprimand from his CO for this fiasco and did not speak to me for some time! . Inspection Blues!

The Three Levels in Relationships

On the last day of my service in Army uniform , I had to introduce a guest speaker from the Army Ordnance Corps [ AOC] to a batch of senior executives undergoing a training program in management at our Alma Mater MCEME at Secunderabad where I was performing the duties of Dean of the Industrial Engineering department .

Our Technical Corps [ EME ] and AOC worked complimentary to each other , the AOC in charge of procurement and we in charge of maintenance and repairs to military equipment . We were bound to clash at many points of crisis and at times blame each other for equipment outages in the field army .

I touched upon this trend and told my students that from my thirty years of Army experience , one take away I can offer before I retire is that they should all be aware that it is possible to maintain three different levels in relationship – in the instant case with AOC . It can be adversarial [ we can blame each other till the cows come home !] , it can be symbiotic [ I scratch your back and you do it for me when the need arises] or it can be a synergistic  effort to fully achieve the mission of the Army . It was entirely upto us – both AOC and the EME .

When I reflect on this after 15 years now , I see a very deep meaning to my extempore advice then . It is a lesson for life and goes much beyond the realms of management or work .