Saturday, June 30, 2007

Cat herding is nothing to being a tour guide

Thinking back to those days as the chief of community relations at the former Lowry AFB, I had to admire the Capitol staff and all the junior aides who did tours. I remember an 8th Air Force tour where a staff of about 8 helped to host 500 World War II vets to a tour of our base. Our most notable facility was our weapons school (see above) where we had every fighter and bomber in the Air Force fleet. In fact, the guys at the weapons school used to kid me about having a second office at their school.
However, I have to also admit that it's truly hard to deal with educators when they're in a tour guide. As a former educator, I always found it amusing that there were always one or two that wouldn't follow instructions or stay in the group. About two to three times a year, my base would host "Centers of Influence" tours with local educators. The recruiting commander for a local region would take eight to ten educators or guidance counselors on a tour of a base to show them how we trained their students.
Most of the folks who took these tours were great people. In fact, I had an educator from my hometown who knew my mother, a fellow educator and former teacher union rep. He called my mom to tell her what a great tour guide. Still, I had one out of 200 or so who came to Denver complained to their recruiter that I made them stay on schedule. And, when I had one Air Force captain from the Air Force Recruiting Squadron call me about it, my boss, SMSgt (Retired) Jimmy Teet overheard it. He asked me to transfer the call to him, and he told the captain nicely that the majority of the feedback was positive, if not outstanding. "We CAN'T please everyone, especially the ones that won't listen to us!"
One of the things that I loved about working for Jimmy Teet was that if you did your job, he stood up for you. I remember one time that I was driving a group of educators home from a night on the town, when one commander told me to pull over at a 7/11 to get a case of beer. I told Jim the next morning about our unscheduled stop in case someone saw the Air Force "bluegoose" parked there, and my former boss growled: "X*^((&^%) it. You should have called me from the pay phone. I would have met him at the billeting office with the base commander."
Needless to say, Jimmy called another senior NCO at Air Force Recruiting who forwarded the info to his commander. About a month later, Jimmy came over to tell me that the former recruiting commander was off to a drug and rehab school.

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