Even The Generals Have Bad Days
by 80sarcades

Disclaimer: I own a house, a car, and a cat. I do not own Hogan's Heroes. Rated T for occasional language.

Dedicated with the warmest regards to ColHogan. As promised (11/08/2010).

Traditions and Customs.

Armies all over the world have them; the United States Army is no exception.

From Bugles to Berets, Colors to Ceremonial, the Army of Now maintains a link with the Army of the Past. It honors all the men and women that have served - and died - to keep America free. While some traditions may seem silly to the average civilian, a soldier views them with pride. To that end, the traditions and customs of the service are treated with respect.

Army life, of course, is not perfect; officers and enlisted men are prone to their own share of screw ups, even when unintended. Such was the case with a certain General; it was unfortunate that his change of command ceremony was cancelled when he was hospitalized due to an accident. It wasn't his fault at all that tradition wasn't complied with.

Then again, there is the saying: traditions die hard. Ignoring some of them can bring you bad luck later on in the most unexpected of ways…

June 18th, 1947
Headquarters, 8th Air Force
Bolling Field, Washington D.C.

Major General Robert Hogan closed his eyes for a moment and sighed.

I should just say to hell with it and put in for retirement next year. Even Klink never gave me this much trouble.

He shook himself awake. With a quick motion of his hand, Hogan scribbled his signature at the bottom of the offending document and filed it in the out box on his desk. He sighed again.

Just another 500 or so to go. Ah, the responsibilities of command…

Just then Hogan's secretary - a blonde civilian by the name of Candice Jones - knocked on his door.

"Enter," Hogan called out.

Candice stuck her head inside the door and looked at her boss. "Sir, Colonel Hess is here to see you. Your 1030…"

The General nodded. "Send him in."

Colonel Hess - the Provost Marshal for Bolling Field - came through the doorway and stopped in front of his commander's desk; he stood at attention and saluted. General Hogan casually returned the gesture before motioning for him to sit in a nearby chair.

"Colonel," Hogan began, "within two days, the President will be here for an official visit…"

The junior officer's face paled; Hogan restrained the urge to laugh. At least there are some command perks, he thought wryly.

"…and I need you to get together with the Secret Service to coordinate security. You'll find everything you need in here." Hogan picked up a red folder off of the desk and leaned forward to hand it off to the Colonel. Hess briefly glanced at its contents before looking up at the Commanding General.

"Sir, is there any particular reason the President is visiting or is this part of an official tour?" he asked.

Hogan shrugged. "Your guess is as good as mine, Colonel," he admitted. "He may have a specific reason. On the other hand, he may want to see how our mission works. Regardless, we need to be ready. The Secret Service contact is a man by the name of Jessup; it's in the folder. General Marks, of course, is briefing the other senior officers."

Hogan looked Hess squarely in the eye. "I want no issues with security. If you need anything special, call me."

Hess nodded, aware that the was being dismissed, and stood up. "No problem, sir," he said confidently. "My MP's will surround this base with a ring of steel, sir. No one will get in or out. No one!" the Colonel finished in a loud tone. He then frowned at the sour expression on the General's face. "Sir…" he began, a bit confused. Just what did I say?

The General shook his head and gave Hess a curious look for a long moment before speaking again. "That will be all, Colonel," he said dismissively, then turned his attention back to the paperwork on his desk. Hess immediately came to attention, saluted, and left the room; this time the General didn't even bother to return the salute.

Shit, he thought disgustedly, just what the hell did I do now? Did I just end up on his damn list or something?

Wonder if I should put in for retirement?

Back in the office, General Hogan had no such thoughts about Colonel Hess. Instead, his mind was on another man, this one German.

Hess sounded just like Hochstetter when he did his 'ring of steel' comment. Just thinking about that bastard ruins my day. The things he did to Tiger…

He frowned again, then replaced the depressing thoughts with happier memories of his new wife. Hogan looked at the pile of papers on his desk again and decided that they could wait; he just needed to get out of the office for a while. Perhaps he should go driving around to inspect things in advance of the visit. Usually, roving Generals tended to shake things up a bit. More often, they made people panic; the higher the rank, the better.

Hogan grabbed his coat and walked out of his office; he paused by the secretary's desk.

"Candice, I'm going to go on an inspection tour," he explained. "Push whatever appointments you have to the afternoon and I'll take care of them then."

She nodded; he wasn't the first officer she had worked for. "Should I let them know you're coming?" she asked.

The General shook his head. "And miss out on the fun?" With a short chuckle, he left the room. As he exited the building, he noticed that the paint job on the headquarters building was almost finished. With any luck, the painters would be done by tomorrow.

A/N: Note the presence of the painters. They'll come back to haunt Hogan when he least expects it.

Bolling Field was real and is now part of Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling; both the Air Force and Navy share the installation. The F-80 Shooting Star (jet) was in the Air Force at the time (1947); the Air Force was established as a separate service that year..

Fort Myer is an actual Army post; it provides support for Army personnel working in the National Capital Region. It also has an interesting history: the first flight of an aircraft on a military installation happened at this post. The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) is also stationed here; they are responsible for all Army full honor funerals at Arlington National Cemetery.

Thank you for reading; all reviews, of course, are gratefully appreciated!