March 3, 2014

He's so terrible, help is the last thing he needs.

He was struggling.  He knew his stuff, was smart enough, but when it came time to brief then execute the flight he would fumble.  He couldn't speak without uncomfortable pauses or explain a concept without the "ums" spreading throughout his words.  Malignantly the quirks, the hesitation would overtake everything he wanted to convey.  The brief was ineffective and once in the jet, he couldn't execute the procedures he knew so well.  A lack of confidence would be reinforced by mistakes and his confidence would spiral out of control until it overtook his ability to perform.  Circular.  Like a Merry-Go-Round.

It would be easy for the instructor cadre to complain about his consistently poor performance, or to find his weaknesses in performance to be chinks in his character.  It would be easy to close the door and gossip until the man was broken into human waste, at least in their minds.  This would be easy.  They would almost yearn for his continued mistakes just so they could vindicate the words they had said about him.  To look on with disgust and judgment, as if the performance defines the man.

This would be easy.  So the other's true character was displayed when he said, "I won't let this happen."  He took the man under his wing, to show him the way to control his nerves.  To reduce the quirks, calmly think about his words before delivery, systematically work through a maneuver while executing.  To prevent this man's character from the impending damage.  It will not be easy.  He will be frustrated.  But he knows it is the right thing to do.  The difficulty of the task solidifying his need to intervene.  So the man would improve.  So the man wouldn't fall.  So the fellow Marine would succeed, be a better tactician and aircrew.  So the man would remain a man.

Because he can.  Because he must.  Because it will be hard.  Because no one else will.

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