Nation’s field grades begin annual fiscal year migration away from food
A new life cycle has begun.
THE PENTAGON — As the air cools and the first leaves drop, the Army’s field grades begin their annual migration away from buffets and towards the goal of making height/weight in time for the Oct. 1 start of the fiscal year.
“We call it a reverse hibernation,” said Army wildlife specialist Dr. Steve Erwin. “Bears might fatten up for the winter in preparation for a long winter of food scarcity, but the North American greater army field grade, across the population, lose ten pounds in September and then gain it back at Christmas block leave.”
Erwin added that once a field grade talks about starting keto or intermittent fasting for the next month, it releases a pheromone that lets all the other field grades know to follow the herd and begin migration.
By tagging a few field grades with trackers, Erwin and his team assessed that the lines at Green Bean and Chipotle are usually half as long after the FY22 migration begins.
The annual cycle ends in the culling of the field grades, an early October event where dazed officers wander onto a scale or mate with each other in a dramatic ritual known as “pencil whipping.”
“Once you understand what these animals are going through, you can use their behavior to work with them instead of against them,” said Sgt. 1st Class Roger Peterman, a military working dog trainer.
“On the one hand, you’re more likely to get that school slot when they’re tired and listless from drastic calorie cutting. On the other hand, if you get caught with ketamine in the barracks in September they’ll be too hungry to listen to your story about how it wasn’t yours. My best suggestion is to spring the traps by putting an Rx bar on the desk and slowly backing away before announcing yourself.”
Peterman acknowledged it’s unlikely for a field grade to eat during the migration cycle, but providing some enrichment in their pen can help stop the hungry grousing.
“I like to walk into the future ops cell and yell ‘National Defense Strategy,’ to get them tussling with each other,” Peterman said. “But you need to do what works best for you and your field grades to help build a strong bond.”
Sgt. Alston Gregory found Peterman’s advice especially useful.
“When I went to my XO in September and described the food insecurity in my family, he just said that he was jealous as he stared into the distance with those cloudy, yellow eyes. But when I returned on October 15th after the refeeding cycle, he was really comforting and helped me get into the food bank.”
Erwin added that to the untrained eye, it might be difficult to sense where a field grade is in its starvation cycle. Soldiers should look for indicators like shaker bottles, waist trainers, 80s sweat suits, and beef jerky wrappers in the field grade’s habitat. The field grade should have glossy hair, strong fingernails, and show signs of high energy like yelling about font size to no one in particular while jogging in garbage bags.
The return of the Halloween candy dish by the cell phone locker is a good sign that the field grade migration back has begun, but the only sure way to know is by checking their dens, Erwin added.
“An unusually low number of field grades at the gym or that one doctor that gives out profiles easily, and a high number of field grades at the Green Beans or that microdistillery they won’t shut up about is the only way to be sure it’s a new fiscal year.”
No matter what, Erwin concluded that it’s safe to assume that the annual cycle will be complete in time for a free trip to Golden Corral on Veterans Day.
Blondes Over Baghdad lets someone else take the top block because it’s the selfless service thing to do. She’ll go to ranger school when there’s a 3-beer policy. Follow her on Twitter at @BlondsOvrBaghd