Marine Corps veteran and unofficial life coach Jack Mandaville has all the right answers for all the toughest questions. Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.
CIF keeps rejecting my gear turn-in. There doesn’t seem to be anything I can do. Any help?
Sgt. Darnell Reardon
Hi Sgt. Reardon!
You’re basically asking, why is it that a general-grade officer can lose billions of dollars’ worth of equipment during the Afghanistan withdrawal and still find themselves rewarded with a fat pension and a cushy post-military corporate job, and you’re being treated like a criminal because the CIF guy found a microscopic amount of dirt on your canteen?
I’ll tell you one thing: This kind of bureaucratic caca wasn’t something classic warrior societies like the Spartans had to deal with. No, they were too busy doing war, doing each other, beating their slaves, not conforming to an increasingly democratic world, and throwing babies off cliffs. Real alpha shit.
To truly understand why the CIF guy won’t take your gear, you must understand the life of a CIF guy. The typical CIF guy is a retired 20-year E-6 who has to work on base because his second ex-wife is a born-and-bred local and he’ll only be able to see his kid — who is suspiciously darker complected than him and has the same unibrow as his Greek neighbor, Giorgio — if he stays in this shithole military town. He does his grocery shopping at Walgreens, vacations at the same Branson, Missouri, resort every year, and only watches police procedurals on television. He’s as basic as they come. And trust me, I know basic. I’m from Minnesota.
Furthermore, and more importantly, you must understand that the CF guy’s maniacal thirst for power derives from the fact that nobody listens to him at all in real life. Because he’s fuckin’ stupid and prone to regurgetating bonkers conspiracy theories to anyone within earshot. I’m not talkin’ about inconsequential ones like the moon landing being fake. This guy takes PTO and a $52 Spirit Airlines flight to Dallas so he can witness JFK Jr. rise from the dead and reclaim the White House from our lizard overlords who have controlled all aspects of American life since the first Bush administration. He’s absolutely exhausting to everyone around him, he knows it, and now you’re paying the price as he meticulously goes through your gear to find any reason to send your ass back to the barracks with more cleaning to do.
But here’s the trick: get on his level. Then you will breeze right through the CIF system no matter how much dirt and filth is on your gear. It’s simple. All you have to do is become a hardcore conspiracy theorist yourself. Done? Okay, now, let’s say you’re trying to turn in some gear and the CIF guy comments on its lack of cleanliness. That’s when you chime in and say something like, “Oh, man, sorry about that. I guess I’m just a bit scatterbrained from the PTSD I got during Operation Jade Helm.”
This will intrigue him, as subscribers to the Jade Helm conspiracy theory believe that in 2015 the US military was going to invade Texas and put people in FEMA camps. Even though the CIF guy has never been to Texas, the fear of being imprisoned in a FEMA camp is still very real in his mind. And by mentioning your PTSD you are not only validating his totally irrational fears, you are also letting him know that you have deep misgivings about your role in the operations. You’re one of the “good” guys.
That’s how you win. You have to feed every aspect of his paranoia. Guys like this are like children. They just want their way, and anyone standing in their way is going to get treated like shit. And take it from me, a guy who talks to his nephews once every two months, the best way to deal with children is to validate and feed into their bullshit. Educating them is simply too much work.
Before you know it, he’s signing off on your CIF form and sending you on your way because now you just gave him the ammunition to go on Twitter and talk about the Jade Helm veteran he just encountered. It’s win-win!
I hope this helps! If not, you can always just slaughter a pig and get the blood all over the gear so it has to be written off as a HAZMAT loss.
I love you,
Jack Manford Mandaville I
Jack Mandaville is a contributing editor at Coffee or Die Magazine. He liked being a Marine, but loves being a civilian that does commentary on military culture because there’s no real sacrifice involved. He’s a satirical writer, entertainer, and amateur provocateur. His only real love outside of his work opportunities is falling asleep to Netflix.
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