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Last updated on 11 September, 2021 at 3:08 PM
From The Locking Review Vol. 1 No. 1 June 1955
N.C.Os are a fortunate lot, for as everybody knows, an N.C.O. has nothing to do. That is, except to decide what is to be done; to tell somebody to do it; to listen to reasons why it should not be done, why it should be done by someone else, or why it should be done in a different way, to prepare arguments in rebuttal that should be convincing and, what is more, final. To follow up and see if the thing has been done; to discover that it has not been done; to inquire why it has not been done; to listen to excuses from the person who should have done it, and did not do it; and to think up arguments to overcome the excuses.
To follow up a second time to see if the thing has been done; to discover that it has been done, but done incorrectly; to point out how it should have been done; to conclude that as long as it has been done, it may as well be left as it is; to wonder if it is not time to shake up the person who cannot do a thing correctly, to reflect that the person in fault has an adoring mother, but that no other N.C.O. would put up with him for a moment; and that in all probability any successor would be just as bad or worse.
To consider how much simpler and better the thing would have been done had he done it himself in the first place; to reflect sadly that if he had done it himself he would have been able to do it properly in twenty minutes; but that as things turned out, he spent two days trying to find out why it was that it had taken someone else three weeks to do it wrongly; but that such a procedure would have had a highly demoralising effect in the R.A.F., because it would strike at the very foundation of the belief of all airmen —that an N.C.O. has really nothing to do.
(With acknowledgements to the Magazine of the Electrical and Wireless School, R.A.F., Cranwell; Vol. 1 No. 1, Feb., 196 (sic). The characteristics clearly remain constant.—Editor.)