Quartermaster Duties

It was always somewhat difficult to get stories out of my grandfather, who had been in the Coast Guard for his late teens and early adulthood. Nonetheless, while he was alive I was able to gather that one of his frequent duties was being a quartermaster. Looking at his behavior, it’s not hard to understand why this was the case. He was very logistically inclined in his behavior, whether it came to storing large amounts of wood for his fireplace, keeping large amounts of meat in multiple freezers, growing his own vegetables, keeping a power generator in case of power outages, and so on. He was a person who kept prepared for matters and had a knack for storage. Not everyone has that skill by nature.

I certainly don’t, even if I have slight vestigial hoarding tendencies myself. Nonetheless, for reasons that are beyond me I keep end up finding myself as the quartermaster for various supplies. I’m not sure what it is about me that leads me in such a position, considering that I don’t consider myself particularly skilled in the matter, but I simply do my duty as best as I can. And let us try to piece together how this happened, as it’s a bit mystifying how I ended up being thought of as someone to keep store for the school here.

There are at least three different sets of supplies in the same building I have to keep track of. One set of supplies is for classes, which does not require much effort at the moment, since the school is not in session. There are not many people demanding pencil sharpeners (which aren’t very solid or long-lasting here), pens and pencils and highlighters and folders and the like). Another set of supplies that I have been guarding for a few weeks includes all the cleaning supplies, some of which are not easy to distinguish. This collection also includes a group of floppy mops that are being chained together with a bicycle chain to strongly discourage their use. And starting last night and today, I have now become the quartermaster of the meat on campus, because students have been pilfering it for their own use and leaving less meat available for the rest of us (something that greatly bothers me).

One of the issues when it comes to being a quartermaster for students is that many students are reluctant to ask for things. Many students assume that if they ask for supplies it comes with some blame attached for running out or breaking things. That’s not personally the way I work (I tend to ask a few questions, but only because I’m a relentlessly inquisitive person by nature). Nonetheless, it is interesting to be a steward of supplies on such a frequent basis, especially if it can count as experience in logistics to handle such duties in other avenues later. It may be a useful skill, to be a steward and quartermaster. I shall have to keep the matter in mind, as being able to faithfully handle supplies is a useful skill.

After all, one of the most famous quartermasters in history was one Hiram Ulysses Grant, better known as Ulysses S. Grant because of a mistake at the US Military Academy. He was honored for his bravery as a quartermaster during the Mexican-American War, and despite never being a very greedy person himself, proved to be a faithful steward of our nation’s armies during the later stages of the Civil War. After all, to be a good quartermaster you can’t be really greedy about money or items. You have to faithfully guard something but not view it as your own property. All too often those who want to pilfer want to be a treasurer or a quartermaster, but I suppose lacking a great deal of greed I’m probably well suited in that sense for the job. I suppose that is what others must see, at least.

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About Nathan Albright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in American Civil War, Musings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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