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Improving Teamwork
“Lay it on me.” “I’ve got to get a new ID card for my wife.” “Did  she  lose  her  card?” “No. Those people back at the base took it away from  her—said  it  wasn’t  any  good!” “Do you know why?” ET2 Door unfolded a letter and reread a portion of it. “She didn’t say. She had gone to the commissary, and the man at the door took it—said it wasn’t any good.” PNSN Frost thought for a moment, shook his head, and  turned  to  PN3  Doe,  “Doe,  I  need  some  help.  Door just received a letter from his wife, and she said that her ID card was taken by the commissary. She was told it wasn’t any good.” As PN3 Doe came to the counter, he asked PNSN Frost to get Door’s record. “Your wife didn’t say why the  card  wasn’t  good?” “No, she didn’t.” “Do you know if it had been damaged in such a way that it would appear to have been altered?” “I don’t think so. At least, she never said anything about it. I don’ t think it’s right for the card to be taken away from her. I’m a million miles from home; and she can’t  go  to  the  commissary,  the  exchange,  or  the hospital. She’s going to have a baby, and she has to go to the hospital for regular checkups. I think it’s a raw deal.” “It does sound like it, but there has to be a reason. Let’s see if we can figure out what the problem is.” After PNSN Frost got the record, PN3 Doe opened it and began to leaf through the pages. He located the DD Form 1172 (application form for dependent’s ID card) and glanced over it. “She got the card just over a year ago. Is this information correct?” He turned the record so that Door could read the form. “Yes;  she  never  had  any  trouble  with  her  card before,”  ET2  Door  replied. Then  an  entry  on  the  form  caught  PN3  Doe’s eye—the expiration date! It was a month ago! Quickly, he turned to the enlistment contract. It had the same expiration  date,  but  there  was  also  an  extension agreement.  “Door,  have  you  ever  filled  out  a  new application  form?” “No. Should I have?” “I’m afraid so. Looks like we both goofed. Her card was  issued  with  the  expiration  date  of  your  enlistment. That was a month ago. You’re now on your extension. That explains why the card was picked up. It wasn’t any good; it had expired. Well, we can correct this problem.” PN3  Doe  obtained  the  forms  from  the  cabinet  and returned to the counter. “It will just take a minute for me to type a new application. Then you can sign it, and we’ll get it in the mail to your wife. She can take it to the personnel  office  on  the  base,  and  that  office  will  issue her a new card.” ET2 Door was silent for awhile, then he said, “We won’ t have any mail leaving this ship for over a week. Then it will take up to 2 weeks for the letter to reach her. She will be without a card for almost a month. Can’t she get it any quicker than that?” PN1 Seaman had followed part of the conversation while he was going through the incoming mail. Upon hearing  ET2  Door’s  question,  he  came  over  to  the counter. He greeted ET2 Door, turned to PN3 Doe, and asked, “Anything I can do?” “Maybe.” Briefly PN3 Doe related the problem. “Door  just  had  a  letter  from  his  wife.  The  base commissary  picked  up  her  ID  card  because  it  had expired. His extension went into effect last month and no one thought to get a new card for her. I’m filling out the application now, but as Door just said, getting her a new card is going to take some time. Is there a faster way for her to get her card?” PN1 Seaman replied, “Yes, there is. We can send a message. You have handled this problem very well, Doe. Go ahead and finish the application, have it signed, and leave it and his record on my desk. I’ll have to check a couple of references; then we’ll draft a message that will authorize the issuance of a new ID card. The message will go out today, and Mrs. Door should get it tomorrow or the next day. She can take it to the base personnel office as soon as she receives it, and that office will issue her a new card. Oh, don’t worry about her medical care. She can obtain that without her ID card. She just has to sign a form at the hospital.” In this instance, PNSN Frost sought help for a situation  that  he  couldn’t  handle.  PN3  Doe  responded well to the customer, but he was providing a routine solution for a problem that was more than routine; however, he quickly accepted PN1 Seaman’s offer to help. Although PN1 Seaman could have offered to help sooner, he was able to provide the proper solution. ET2 Door was fortunate to have had his problem resolved by teamwork at its best. When you are faced with a problem that exceeds your ability to solve—use the team’s ability. 4-4

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