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Old 09-03-2013, 04:41 AM
 
Location: Europe
89 posts, read 198,082 times
Reputation: 141

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Currently on my 2nd NATO assignment. At times it can be the highlight and best kept secret of a military career, other times it's just bewildering how comically mismanaged everything can be. Going to use the emoticons to explain the range of emotions a NATO assignment can inspire. This is all in fun, add on if you'd like.

- Initially finding out you're going to a NATO unit. No UCI's or ORI's for a few years! Europe!

- Arriving during the holidays and receiving nearly the whole month off without taking leave due to the high amount of NATO/host nation holidays.

- A month later, everyone's still on leave. Ok...that's different. No biggie. Europe!

- Incredibly diverse chain of command from dozens of nations. Culture! Minimal interaction with US troops.

- Many members outright refusal to speak the official NATO languages: English (and somehow French although they maintain an off and on relationship with the organization). Many things lost in translation. Host nation troops suggesting you learn their language not for leisure but to get any work done around base.

- How dated most of the equipment/networks/aircraft are. This belongs in a museum, not on a flghtline.

- Walking around SHAPE for the first time. Salute. Salute. Salute. Salute. Salute. More saluting.

- Your first NATO TDY/Birthday Celebration/ Going Away or just random get together...bottles of champagne being popped, whisky pouring, an actual party enviroment. I'll pass, we're not allowed to have fun in my military.

- Oh, you're going on leave again? That's cool, have fun. See you in a month.

- Certain nations entire enlisted force being all E-9's. Ok, makes sense.

- Lower ranking personnel's refusal to listen to your order/opinion because you're not the same nationality.

- Oh.....leave...again? How many days do you get a year!? Okay, see you in a month. Sigh.

- You're expecting? Congrats! Wait.....you get how many YEARS for maternity leave? Oh...well, I won't be stationed here when you return so...nice knowing you?

- Realizing you're alone in the office all summer. So much for seeing Europe.

- Certain nationalities refusing to deploy because "this isn't our war". Personnel become mysteriously injured/sick overnight.

- TDY to (insert popular beach/skiing location in Europe), personnel are suddenly healthy, calling every 30 minutes to get in on trip.

- Having two chain of commands (NATO & US)...this isn't confusing at all. So am I or am I not allowed to do (activity x)? My NATO Commanders says yes, US says no.

- US Personnel having a signifcantly reduced workload from what we're typically used to.

- US Personnel come rating time...what did I do all year!?

- Potlucks. Any type of food you can imagine! All authentic.

- Outprocessing, reflecting on your time in such a crazy organization. Going to miss this place!
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:04 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
29,722 posts, read 47,472,880 times
Reputation: 17560
Funny

I served in a Policia Department on a NATO base hosting a wide assortment of nationalities.

Over a third of our personnel were Local Nationals, and a bunch of our US military personnel were non-citizens or ESL service members. It was very different.
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Old 09-08-2013, 06:30 AM
LLN
 
Location: Upstairs closet
4,912 posts, read 8,352,677 times
Reputation: 6345
When I was running an intel center that supported NATO, it seemed like every freakin day was a NATO holiday. Unbelievable. It was rare to get someone on the phone the same day. Maybe its changed, but I doubt it.
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