Firefighting, Fireground Management, Leadership

Notes on Punishment

Issue 5 and Volume 169.

In recent columns, I told the story of becoming a battalion chief (BC) and then being assigned to a battalion that had historically been used as a special place to punish those organizational leaders considered outspoken, verbally out of control, and generally unacceptable. My sin was I successfully got through the beginning level (BC) command officer promotional process at an age/level of experience that was way too early according to my chief officer boss, who reluctantly promoted me. I did not have profound feelings about the dynamics of punishment or really think much about it, probably because I was never on the receiving end of the punishment process. Up until then, I had a fairly normal career; I got along with my colleagues and bosses and quietly was promoted a couple of times before this trip to Devils Island. As I went through this promotion/punishment adventure, I experienced not only…

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