So way back when, when ships were made of wood and men were made of steel, our Chief had retired leaving me as the Shop supervisor. The shop was top of the line with a great crew. No planes were grounded due to Avionics, the morale was high since time off was generously given if you flew after 2000 hours on a duty night, half days off on Friday (again because the duty section would happily pick up the work load knowing for the next 3 weeks they would get off), very little broken equipment on the "down" shelf (due to squirreled away hard to get parts,) etc.
Then we heard a new chief was ordered in coming from "A" school (A school in the CG and Navy is the initial school to teach your basic rate, or MOS). His reputation was not great. Graduated A school, went to his first (and only) operational unit and promptly got the reputation that he was dangerous after blowing his third starter off 3 different engines on 3 different aircraft. Then got orders to the schoolhouse. At school he was an asshole doing nothing but push rules. You know the type, "Those that can, do, and those that can't, teach."
So we were receiving this guy, who had been to one operational unit where he failed, then went to school and promoted up to E7, who had never been qualified to fly, never been in a direct supervising position, and was known to only push rules (another sign of no leadership.) And he was coming to be the Supervisor of our shop at the busiest air station. Lovely.
Chief Ilas (not his real name) showed up and promptly Introduced himself as "Chief Ilas with one S." But we could call him Chief. He nosed around for exactly two days before pulling me aside and announcing the shop had too much time off, that we were not allowed to squirrel hard to get spare parts, the windows looked dirty, and the list went on. I tried to explain why we did things and as a result, I was immediately demoted and a new shop lead was put in charge. The new lead immediately put into effect everything Chief Ilas thought of so we were in compliance with every rule and regulation the chief could find.
It had the expected results. Morale plummeted, planes started sitting on the ground for avionics reasons, broken equipment started to fill the down shelf since we had to wait for parts. I argued with this asshole only to be assigned/restricted to the UHF bench to fix broken equipment. I had to, as the senior E6, ask the junior E6 if I could go to the head. This was not going to last.
One day, in walks the chief and I hear "Good morning PO Radiant!" I, without thinking, said "Good morning Chief Silas." Immediately, he begins to scream that "his name is Ilas! With one S!" OK chief Ilas with one S. Two can play this game!
Next morning as I'm sitting at the UHF table, I hear, "Good morning PO Radiant." The reply was "good morning, Chief Sila!" He blew a gasket and chewed my butt for a few minutes. "It's Ilas! It has one S." I interrupted and said "I only used one S." This set him off even further. It was grand watching this guy get all red in the face, veins popping, screaming at the top of his voice, spittle flying everywhere, noticing my shop mates all watching and trying to stifle smiles, etc.
Word went through the air station like wild fire about his melt down. Word eventually got to the Leading Chief Petty Officer who called me into his office. Now I liked this guy and had great respect for him so he was talked to as more a friend than E6 to E9 (another mentor of mine). He asked what I wanted to do. Did I want to stay in the shop and try to "right the ship?" Or move to maintenance control?
I thought about it long and hard. About 2 seconds, and said "Maintenance!"
As I carried my last box of stuff out of that shop, I yelled "See ya Chief Sila!"
2 or 3 years went by. I was promoted to Chief and transferred to another air station. I even bought a house! After I moved in, I got to know my neighbors that lived in the neighborhood. Then one of them said that the house two doors down from mine was owned by a Coastie but he'd been transferred a few years back. I asked if they knew his name. Yup. It was Ilas!
I thoroughly enjoyed giving him a call at my old air station the next day. Hi Chief Sila! How are you? Just wanted you to know things are going well up here. Like my job and the family is fitting in quite well. And Oh, Yeah. We are neighbors now! The silence was glorious!
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