OTC Christmas

They held a contest for a poem to be recited at the 2012 Operational Test Command (OTC) Christmas Ball. I won. Here is my entry.


Twas the night before Christmas, all alone in Stone Hall
Without friends or family, I had drawn the short straw.
The life of a soldier – pulling staff duty alone
Studying the TEBC, and without my iPhone

The battery had died, and not a charger to be found
Needless to say, my spirit’s run aground.
Newly assigned and lost as could be
I’d never seen an outfit anything like O.T.C.

I was sittin’ there thinking how different it was
From all other units – I figured it’s because
There’s civilians around, and old as can be!
Most could make a claim as my grand-pappy.

I was feeling more hopeless the longer I sat
When a sudden noise made me yell “What’s that!?”
The elevator was moving, but how could that be?
I’d done all the checks for security.

I heard the bell ding, my hair’s standing on end
The door starts to open – then “Merry Christmas, Friend!”
A big man steps out, all dressed up in red
But all I could muster was – “So where’s your sled?”

He laughed, “Ho, ho, ho!” then gave me a wink,
And was shaking my hand before I could think.
“While making my list and checking it twice,
I decided to come and give you advice.”

“I know what you’re thinkin’ son –you feel right bad
that you aren’t in a “real” unit – well, you should be glad
that you landed right here. – Right here where they test
all the equipment you use, and make sure it’s the best.”

“Why, there’s not much you’ve used in Afghanistan
that hasn’t been through Operational Test Command.
And the rapid acquisitions that are just bought and sent
have the FOA to check out how well things went.”

“From UAVs, radios, main guns and rockets
To the boots that you’re wearin’, and circuits and sockets.
Testing IED defense and hundreds of threats
This outfit is about as important as it gets.”

“Not just here at Hood, but in other places too,
Sill, Bragg, Hauchuca, and Bliss to name a few.
So while you’re digesting your acronym soup
Remember how much you’ll help fellow troops.”

“Take a walk down the Testers’ Hall of Fame.
Learn about these heroes, get to know ‘em by name.
‘Cause everyone here truly dedicated their life
So soldiers like you’d make it home to your wife.”

As he stepped in the elevator with a wink and a nod
I felt I could march where the brave dare not trod.
The doors closed and then he was gone from my sight.
Wishing me “Merry Christmas and to all, a good night.”