12 September 2014

If the Army Changed Diapers, and Happy Birthday Joseph!

The following originally appeared in the blog "Musings of a Factotum" on September 17, 2008, shortly after the birth of my first son. 

As a new dad, I have the privilege of waking up to a screaming baby at the inconvenientest times of night. He is beautiful, and his cry is even adorable, even at ungodly hours. Sometimes he wants food, other times it a fresh diaper he wants. For the former, his mother promptly obliges. In the case of the latter, I can lend a hand, which I do quickly so I can get back to rest.

Though I don’t always get up eagerly, I don’t complain. Four days before Joseph was born I was at Fort Meade, Maryland doing some Army training. It’s the kind of place where you have to wake up at 0400 and present yourself for inspection. Fireguard duty in the middle of the night is the norm, and cleaning dirty latrines is a fact of life.

So waking up to change my own son’s messy diaper is no big deal. I do it and move on. But it got me thinking, what if changing diapers was an Army task?

First, everyone in the room would have to wake up and be in uniform before they could report for diaper duty.

The diaper changer would report to the NCOIC, who would ensure that everyone was in the right place and ready to go. Of course, any NCOIC worth his stripes would never abide a baby making noise while preparing to execute a mission, so someone would have to get the little one to forget the predicament that brought them to this point.

The next step in the baby-changing procedure would be the completion of all applicable DOD forms. This is to ensure that NCOs and officers can track the different diaper changings. Despite the fact that such forms never get read or followed up on, they are very important.

The Risk Assessment is the next step. The Army loves to assess risks, and there are many, even in a routine diaper changing. Take the risk assessment lightly at your peril.

Diapers and other supplies (wet wipes, lotion, powder) need to be requisitioned from Supply. More forms, and more approval. All requests need to go through the NCOIC for preliminary approval, but need the Commander’s signature. For any supplies used, forms need to indicate who used them, the quantity, and the time they were used.

Before changing the actual diaper that is dirty, a run-through should be conducted to improve accuracy and performance. After the drill, an After Action Report will help identify strengths and weaknesses.

Finally we are ready to change the diaper. By this time, the boy is potty-trained.

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