So it took me a while to learn how to properly use the DA 4856. But I can clearly remember the very first time I used it.
I was a Cadet (MS III) and I was doing weekend drills with a Reserve unit in Texas. I had previously been a private, so the transition to drilling cadet was kind of jarring. Not many people paid any attention to me. I am sure that this is quite normal, as one day everyone had authority over me, and the next they had no regulatory authority over me, if not me having a small modicum of authority over them.
When I asked the Commander and XO what I should be doing and how I should function in the unit this is what they said:
Commander- Think of yourself as a Third Lieutenant
XO- A really, really week Third Lieutenant
And that was all they said
So, with no instruction, I just naturally assumed that I should go back to my old Platoon. I talked to my Platoon SGT, who basically just said, "I really don't know what to do with you". Seems to be a trend.
So I basically acted like I was still a Private. I had no experience on how to be a PL because, well, I never had one. On top of that, I was not deep enough in ROTC to know what the hell a PL does. But now, because of the dot on my collar, the NCO's no longer felt comfortable giving me orders (understandably) and did not know how to incorporate me into what work needed to be done. I ended up doing manual labor when I could, but otherwise just sitting around a lot. When I could, I used the time to study for school or catch up on reading.
So the third or fourth drill I did as a Cadet, we did an SRP (Soldier Readiness Processing) Rodeo. It was being organized by a particularly annoying 42A Specialist. No one liked this kid (and for good reason). But you have to give the guy credit, he was a hell of a 42A. I worked the dental/medical station with a PA who traveled down for the drill, and I was reviewing paperwork. This SRP went absolutely great. Everything got done to standard very quickly. We were actually able to let out early because of it.
So, I thought the kid could use a good counseling. I wrote it up and asked the XO if it was appropriate to give it to him and put it in his counseling packet. She said that I could. So I asked him to come to the 1SG office where I had typed the counseling statement up (on a typewriter of all things). I sat him down and counseled him on his good conduct.
He laughed in my face. Yes. The Guy was a jerk. Thought it was stupid (and it kind of was, I mean, getting a positive counseling from a reserve cadet? Weird at best). To date, that is the only positive counseling I have given. Not because it was a bad experience, but because they generally seem useless.
But I did it. And I laugh a little each time I think of it.