Gate – A method of control used to separate one group of people from another. Gates employed by the Air Force can not only separate host nation civilians from military personnel, but also separate Army living quarters and Air Force living quarters. Some of the locations chosen for gates are completely ridiculous. The apparatus used for gates is sometimes nothing more than a rope that the gate guard monotonously puts up and down all day to let cars through.
Gate Shack – Usually a square 5 foot by 5 foot box made of some kind of metal. The gate guard resides there while there is no activity at the gate. Gives the appearance of having electricity, but there is no guarantee of this.
Post – Wherever the gate guard happens to be placed at the time he starts work. This could be a gate shack or a vehicle. If he is placed at a gate shack, he will not move from that spot for 12+ hours except to get food, and even that is highly scrutinized by the person who occupied the vehicle in the first place. No one likes the transition from mobile to immobile. This leads to absurd time demands placed on the gate guard so that he gets his food and gets back as fast as possible.
Post Briefing – A series of statements intended to give the listener, usually a high ranking official, the status of your 5 by 5 box, gate, and yourself. The statements are mostly facts the listener could have gathered just by looking around the area: nothing extra special intelligent.
Airman – Sometimes considered an expert at his job, sometimes considered a dunce. This individual spends most of his time carrying out the expectations of his leadership. Hence, if he is thought to be a screwup, he will make it so. No sense in doing more than what’s expected of you.
Leadership – A person or persons that have lost all ability to relate to people younger or significantly lower ranking than themselves. These decision makers sit in an air conditioned office all day dreaming of ways to modify the jobs of people under them. The input of the person actually doing the job is not required when making changes.
Consider the following story.
A lonely airman stands at his gate shack. He started at midnight, but it is now 6 am and consequently time to the real Air Force to get started. The number of cars increase quickly as the morning progresses and the airman is working hurriedly to check ID’s so that he may let them pass through the gate. Around three cars back, he sees an orange cone mounted on the dash of a pretty expensive car. This indicates that the person driving the car is high ranking and deserving of a post briefing. The thought runs through his mind that a while back, post briefings included mainly useless facts added by the airmen. This increased the time it took to give the briefing so as to inconvenience leadership and generally teach them never to ask for a post briefing again. It so happened previously that a colonel who was very busy, came upon a gate guard and was asked if he wanted a post briefing. Although he was in a terrible rush, he asked for the briefing anyway. This particular airman took great joy in detaining this colonel as long as he could which came out to about 7 minutes. The colonel was so angry that, from that point on, everyone’s briefings were shortened and made to be exactly the same after that no matter what post you occupied. (Now back to the story) With this in mind, the airman prepared to give the briefing to the person in the vehicle with the cone. A smiling Colonel graciously slowed his vehicle to a halt to accommodate the gate guard as he attempted to validate the man who was obviously allowed to pass as any sane person could see. After the gate guard affirmed the Colonel’s authority to enter, he popped to attention and requested that he give a post briefing which he was loathe to do. “Why on earth would the Colonel want to know the status of my box?” the airman thought, “He has certainly heard the same speech over and over. After all, we can only say what they let us say now.” However, the Colonel asked for the briefing. “My name is Airman Snuffy”, the airman said, “My primary responsibility is to control entry into the Air Force housing ensuring only authorized personnel are allowed to enter. I am armed with a rifle with 3 rounds of ammunition with a ball to tracer ratio of 4 to 1. My primary means of communication is small talk with the people who pass through my gate. If all other communications fails, I may fire my weapon three times in the air. Of course that means all my ammo is gone. However, deadly force is authorized in accordance with AFI 35-817. My name is Airman Snuffy and I am from Kalamazoo, Michigan. This concludes my post briefing. Do you have any questions. (I use a period instead of a question mark here because that last sentence is said more like a statement for obvious reasons.)
Now that you’re wondering what the colonel said in response, it is a good time to tell you that the airmen never said all those things. The encounter happened but no airman would ever say what he is actually thinking if he values his life.