10 September 2006

The Wiz Interviews

Today is a special day as it marks the first ever "The Wiz Interviews"

This interview was inspired by an article in the Stars & Stripes featuring SGT Star, an online avatar designed to help Army recruiting. After reading this article, I sat down with SGT Star and asked the tough questions.
SGT STAR: Welcome The Wiz. How can I help you today?

The Wiz: Hi SGT Star, how are you feeling today?

SGT STAR: I'm fine thanks. How are you?

The Wiz: Well, I had some bad shellfish yesterday and I've got a bad case of the squirts. Otherwise I'm doing ok. Thanks for asking.

SGT STAR
:
Good. What can I answer for you about the army?

The Wiz
:
I'm a plastic, short, bearded toy, can I still join the Army?

SGT STAR
:
Physical requirements are gender specific. Are you male or female?


The Wiz
:
Hang on, let me check. Yep, I'm a male.

SGT STAR
:
The height and weight standards for males to enlist in the U.S. Army are displayed. If you are outside of these standards our Recruiters may be able to help you meet and maintain them prior to enlisting.

The Wiz
:
Dang, I'm too short. Are there any other options?

SGT STAR
:
You have the choice between serving either on Active Duty, which is full time, or you can serve in the Army Reserve. Generally, in the Army Reserve, you are required to train one weekend a month plus two weeks per year, and serve when needed.

The Wiz
:
What about The Liz? Can The Liz join the Army even though he's a lizard?

SGT STAR
:
The basic requirements for enlisting include: a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien, have a high school diploma or equivalent, be 17 to 41 years old, healthy and in good physical condition, and in good moral standing. Some jobs may have additional requirements. You should contact your local Recruiter to see if you qualify.

The Wiz
:
The Liz speaks fleuent Arabic and English. Could he get a waiver and serve as a translator?

SGT STAR
:
The U.S. Army Civilian Acquired Skills Program may be an option for you. It is designed for those who speak foreign languages to help fill Army jobs that require specialized language skills. There is additional testing required to verify your language skills. Some incentives may be available for those who qualify. Your local Recruiter can help you determine your eligibility.

The Wiz
:
Can lizards carry weapons?

SGT STAR
:
During basic training you will learn Basic Rifle Marksmanship and are required to qualify as marksman, sharpshooter or expert on the M16A2 rifle to graduate. Throughout your Army enlistment, you may be given opportunities to train on a variety of other weapons.

The Wiz
:
What about napalm? Does it really stick to kids?

SGT STAR
:
Displayed below are answers that I believe are related to your question.
The Wiz: Ok, subject change: Do you know any magic spells?

SGT STAR
:
After a lot of training by some of the best Soldiers, I know a great deal about the Army and Soldier life. I would be happy to answer your questions about becoming a Soldier.

The Wiz
: Can I use magic as a Soldier?

SGT STAR
:
Good question. I'm not sure how to answer that. Please try rewording your question. I understand simple questions best.

The Wiz
: If I was a Soldier, could I cast spells?

SGT STAR
:
Unfortunately I haven't been trained on that subject. I have been trained to ask for help when I'm not sure about an answer. If you would like a recruiter to answer your question, please fill out this form to send an e-mail.

The Wiz
: So you don't know magic?

SGT STAR
:
Unfortunately I haven't been trained on that subject. I have been trained to ask for help when I'm not sure about an answer. If you would like a recruiter to answer your question, please fill out this form to send an e-mail.

The Wiz
: When you're in magical combat, you don't have time to ask for help! You gotta be hard charging dangit!!!

SGT STAR
:
In combat, Soldiers work to accomplish the mission. The Army will provide you with time to rest and take care of personal matters.

The Wiz
: Ok, ok, so you don't know magic. What about nunchuck skills? Do you have those?

SGT STAR
:
Training for BCT Soldiers includes hand-to-hand combat. BCT is training that is designed to transform civilian recruits into Soldiers. It includes all the basic skills a Soldier needs to know to fight and survive on the battlefield.

The Wiz
: Cool, so I'll learn how to thrash bad guys about the head and shoulders then?

SGT STAR
:
Incredible, isn't it? Is there anything else I can help you with?

The Wiz
: Ok, another subject change: what do you think about media coverage of the war in Iraq?

SGT STAR
:
In times of war, deployment is likely. The possibility of deployment depends on your MOS and unit of assignment. All Soldiers must be strong, trained and ready upon assignment to a unit and prior to any deployment, including training exercises, humanitarian missions or combat operations. In general, deployments last a year or less.

The Wiz
: That's nice, but does the media accurately portray the conflict?

SGT STAR
:
You're welcome.

The Wiz
: I'm welcome? For what? You didn't even answer the question!

SGT STAR
:
I am a dynamic, intelligent self-service virtual guide that will help you quickly navigate the GoArmy Web site and retrieve Army-related subject matter, while simultaneously answering questions and directing communication based on interaction with the user.

The Wiz
: You're a what?

SGT STAR
:
Good question. I'm not sure how to answer that. Please try rewording your question. I understand simple questions best.

The Wiz
: Didn't you just say you were intelligent?

SGT STAR
:
Good question. I'm not sure how to answer that. Please try rewording your question. I understand simple questions best.

The Wiz
: Ok, moving on then. On my last trip back to the magical kingdom, I rode a flying unicorn. Does the Army have flying unicorns?

SGT STAR
:
Warrant Officers pilot UH-60 Black Hawk, CH-47 Chinook, OH-58 Kiowa Warrior and AH-64A Apache helicopters on combat, rescue and reconnaissance missions. Soldiers gain these piloting skills in the Warrant Officer Flight Training (WOFT) program.

The Wiz
: Do Warrant Officers ride unicorns?

SGT STAR
:
Warrant Officers are highly specialized experts and trainers in their career fields.

The Wiz
: what about unicorns?

SGT STAR
:
That is a good question, however, I am not positive that I understand what you are asking. Try rephrasing your question. I understand simple questions best.

The Wiz
: You don't seem to know much about magic, perhaps I could give you a class on it?

SGT STAR
:
Unfortunately I haven't been trained on that subject. I have been trained to ask for help when I'm not sure about an answer.

The Wiz
: Can I train you on magic?

SGT STAR
:
Unfortunately I haven't been trained on that subject. I have been trained to ask for help when I'm not sure about an answer.

The Wiz
: Kind of a dork, aren't you?

SGT STAR
:
That is a good question, however, I am not positive that I understand what you are asking. Try rephrasing your question. I understand simple questions best.

The Wiz
: It's not a question, I think you're a dork!

SGT STAR
:
Please click on "Ask Live Help" at the bottom of this screen to chat live with a Recruiter

The Wiz
: Well, I don't know if I want to tell a real person that I think he's stupid. I'm a small plastic toy, remember?

SGT STAR
:
You're welcome.

The Wiz
:
jerk...

SGT STAR
:
I don't respond to that type of language. What else can I help you with?

The Wiz
: I hate you.

SGT STAR
:
I'm sorry you feel that way. If you would like to speak with someone about your concerns, please e-mail us using the form below.
After that, the interview went downhill fast. I had to resist the urge to poke the screen with my walking stick. In the end I won by vigorously and repeatedly clicking the "close" icon.

Take that SGT Star!

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You almost made me pee my pants! I hope you're pround of yourself! Good thing I wasn't drinking milk, or it might've shot out my nose! Whew! Too funny!

22:37  
Blogger The Griper said...

Very good interview, Wiz. brought a very bright smile along with a couple of muted chuckles. but since this is suppose to be question day, i have a trivial one. seems like i learn something new everyday in here about the war.

a couple of days ago you referred to the term "stringer" as a means for reporters to get stories. if possible, can you give me an estimate of how many stories get reported in the msm that originated with a stringer?

the reason i ask is that by using stringers we, the public, are getting second hand stories when the msm are portraying the story as first hand accounts by allowing the reporter to attach his name to the story.

isn't that why reporters are sent there by their employers, to report from the point of view of first hand observations?

01:09  
Blogger MarksMomma said...

lol, babe, this is funny! just for fun i had mark interview sgt star, asking questions such as "do you have to be able to walk and talk?" hehehheheh. love you! your wahfy

05:09  
Anonymous Solo said...

I asked him if 51 was too old and he gave me the age requirements, info about waivers and, told me to talk to a recruiter. Hey Wiz, I have a plastic bulldog if you should ever have the need to go on canine patrols. His derby is not official issue, but makes him look right smart. Well trained and sits on command....well he sits pretty much all the time.

06:35  
Blogger dcat said...

^..^ Good show bandit!

um you didn't tell em anything about me casting now did you!? Good! ;)

06:54  
Blogger bandit.three.six said...

The Griper,
It's hard to say with any accuracy since there are many ways for people from the media to go about their business here. Some reporters go through the Coalition and get embedded, others get here on their own and rely on civilian personal security details.
In a lot of ways, using a stringer is a lot like making a movie. One group makes the movie, another buys the rights to it to publish it. In many cases where stringers are used, the reporter's employer (and the American public) can't tell the difference between a stringer report and a first-hand report.
I think a good rule of thumb would be that unless you see the reporter standing in front of the story being covered, that the story and very likely the video/pictures were obtained through a stringer.

07:01  
Blogger The Griper said...

mmm... your answer puts a whole new understanding on the accuracy of the news media. i say this in light of the Reuter's kerfuffle with the doctored photos that got published as news.

07:41  

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