Monday, August 21, 2006

Pins and Needles

Flying the mighty T-34C trainer out in Roswell, New Mexico, was incredible! Almost perfect weather all the time while back at the home base in Corpus Christi, Texas, it was overcast and foggy the majority of the winter there. They figured it was cheaper to put all the planes and students out in the middle of UFO country and be productive vice sitting around waiting for the weather to open up.

I was sitting by the flight duty officer’s desk the morning of my formation check ride. That is where you go out with an instructor in each plane and practice flying your Tiny Turbo T-34C on collision courses with each other, and then tucking the nose of your plane a few feet to the right or left of the lead airplane, matching his speed and altitude.

The sensation of rushing another object in space, and pulling the power back at just the right moment to avoid actually hitting the other plane, is the most exciting feeling you can ever have. It would be like driving your car over a hundred miles an hour at another car on the road, and then braking enough to put your vehicle right behind the other and, at the same time, adding enough power so that you become stabilized at the same speed with them. If you do it right, bravo!!! If you mess it up, then they staple your health record closed, and do a fly-by over your grave with the guys who figured out proper formation.

Going for a check ride was already making me nervous, but when I found out that I was flying with “The Thumper” so-named because he liked to whack his students on the back of the helmet with a long dowel rod as he sat behind them, I felt sick. I moved over to a group of my friends sprawled in various positions, quizzing each other on emergency procedures and normal limitations of the plane.

A Navy guy named Larry Ruttenberg asked, “Hey Taco, who are you doing your check ride with?” He was a bit of a pain in the ass because all he could think of was flying jets, and wouldn’t hesitate to throw you under a bus if he thought it would improve his chances of getting a jet slot.

I despondently replied, “Thumper.” They all started rolling their eyes and shaking their heads; in part, because they felt sorry for me, and partly because that meant they didn’t have to fly with him that day. “Thumper” was a screamer and the type of officer who was probably urinated on by his mother as a child.

The FDO (flight duty officer) called out my name to report to him. I trotted over to see what was up. “Taco,” he says, “Lt. Roberts (Thumper) has a review board this afternoon and I’m sending you up with Lt. Temple. Her student went down with a head cold, so go over to the ready room, she’ll be there waiting for you.”

Oh man, Lt. Temple was about 5' 5" with soft brown eyes and shoulder length blonde hair that she put into a ponytail during the day. She filled out a flight suit nicely, and was the subject of many a hushed conversation, as guys will do. Now I was rushing over to the ready room to brief with her and the other crew, cup of coffee in hand (my fifth cup in the last forty five minutes) and little time to think. They were waiting for me, and we rushed through the day’s events and were briefed on what our two-hour flight would entail. We were told to go preflight the planes ASAP so that we could get off the deck in the next thirty minutes. I had a slight urge to go pee but didn’t.

I was able to get the preflight done in fifteen minutes, and was all settled in as she came out to the aircraft and worked on getting strapped in. We all ran through the check lists and started the planes at the same time to make sure we’d both have equal amounts of gas to play with. It was a smooth take off and for first thirty minutes we practiced all the procedures, which were textbook, but as time wore on…I had to pee. Pretty soon, this urge went from “need to Pee,” to man, “I gotta Pee NOW!!” Every bump in the air was killing me; felt like I had needles in my bladder.

You can urinate in the plane in flight, but it’s a big pain in the rear. You have to undo your harness, your parachute, then under your survival vest, you fumble around until you have the said missing member in the clutch of your fingers and extricated from the flight suit. Then you inspect the relief tube one more time (you do this on preflight to make sure some jerk hasn’t put his chewing tobacco wad which would clog the tube) to ensure that when you pull the little trigger on the side of this inverted cup, it will drain out into the air.

On top of all this, I have a female behind me!! Bad enough to have some guy sitting there looking at you in the little mirrors going, “Come on, hurry up already…” Now I have a beautiful gal, with her smoked visor down, possibly looking at me. This was embarrassing since I was a single guy in love with all good-looking women. Not a good situation.

“M’am,” I start out. “I’m dying here; I need you to take the stick if you don’t mind so I can take a leak.” There, I said it!!! She didn’t skip a beat as she acknowledged that she had the controls. I unsuited, got into perfect firing position and tried to release my bladder. Nothing came out. I looked up and all I could see was her helmet, with the smoked visor down, looking right into the back of my head. “Stage fright” is a good word to describe me at that moment, I guess. After about five minutes of me just sitting there, and the other airplane doing break up and rendezvous, she asked me, “Taco, are you done yet?”

“No M’am, you could say that I’m a bit nervous, and it’s not wanting to come out.” God!! Now I’ve said it. I’m the only guy who has flown with her that actually asked to take a leak, and now I can’t do it. Here I am, the bottom of my flight suit undone, Mr. Johnson hanging out, a million needles poking me, and nothing to show for it!! They will make me the laughing stock of the squadron when word gets out on this.

She clicks on the ICS (intercom) in a very sultry, sexy voice, “Taco, Just…think of…WARM…running water.” With a big emphasis on warm! It was just like when I was a kid, and my mom would run the water in the tap to make me pee in the middle of the night. That was all it took as I closed my eyes with the sound of her voice echoing in my brain-housing group. The urine started flowing and boy did it go.

To describe what happens, when it enters the tube, suction is created that vaporizes it upon contact with the air stream underneath the belly of the plane. The pain is ebbing slowly as I evacuate my bladder, a process that has been going on for almost five minutes. Enough time for the instructor in the other aircraft to notice a vapor trail coming from the engine, and wondering what it might be…white smoke… that might be an oil problem.

He comes up on the radio, “Hey Beth, check your engine instruments. This is the second pass on you, and it looks like white smoke I see coming from the engine.” My head tilts down, and I’m scanning my instruments looking for any indication of a fire which thankfully I see none.

She clicks the ICS, “Taco, are you STILL peeing???”

I reply in a sheepish voice, “Yes M’am, still going strong here, almost done.”

She jumps on the radio fast and says, “Steve, we may have a problem here, would you mind getting up underneath the belly, and identify where the source of this smoke is coming from? I’ll hold this heading and altitude for you.”

The other instructor, as he moves the plane closer, replies, “Roger that, moving in.” He gently maneuvers his plane directly under our belly, and then shouts over the radio, “Son of a Bitch!!! That’s piss!!!” as he correctly identifies the vapor coming from the small venturi under my seat. He moves directly to our left, and gives my instructor the middle finger.

Lt. Temple just purred back, “Hey Steve, if you come back, we’ll wash your windows once again.” The other plane just broke left and peeled away. Lt. Temple laughed and laughed at the thought of what she had done. I chuckled too, and all the stress of pissing in front of my female instructor evaporated along with all the coffee that I drank earlier. I was somewhat famous for taking a leak on the other bonehead Navy guy, and for having the balls to do it in front of Lt. “Shirley” Temple. She gave me an extra “Above” (like an A) for the ability to sustain my piss for what felt like a lifetime. So I guess that if all else fails in my life, I have that going for me.

Semper Flying,

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Buy Your Calendar Now!

Hey Gang!!
ANY SOLDIER 2007 Calendar is now accepting orders! What a great way to support our deployed troops by supporting

Wait til you see the fantastic pictures submitted by our troops--even Capt B and yours truly are in it! Over 1,000 photos were originally submitted. Click here to go to the "Where to send" page and then scroll down the page until you see the order form. Here is a sample page thanks to Gunn Nutt. Let's all support the troops by supporting AnySoldier!
Semper Fi,

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Run Forrest, Run

The seven Second Lieutenants sat around a small campfire in the dense forest north of Quantico Virginia. They were out in the “Field” – AGAIN, learning the basic’s of leading Marines in Combat. Half of them were going to flight school and were classified as “FIGMAC’S” (F*%$ it, I got my Air Contract), so this stuff was fun for them and they took things a bit looser than the average “Grunt” Lieutenant. You can always tell the aviator wannabes because at night while walking in the forest, they wore clear safety glasses to prevent their eyes from that errant branch poking you in the Mach one, Mod A eyeball, thus causing you to lose your air contract and becoming a ground pounder!!

Their SPC (Squad Platoon Commander) was the stereo typical Marine Grunt Officer, the type guy who had no personality and only cared about how fast you could run. Truthfully there are 10% like that and the rest are good to go (Captain B!!). This particular Officer was training for the Marine Corps Marathon and used the platoon as his own personal running club. When the other platoons were done for the day, first platoon of Hotel Company would go for a six to eight mile run. This caused much hate and discontent as your buddies were all back drinking a cold beer at the “Hawk”, our little Lieutenant bar in the BOQ (bachelor officers quarters). His name was Captain Jeff MacCrane, but they all called him Captain Migraine, it should have been Hemorrhoid, but no one had the balls to let that one out in Public.

The guys were listening to another story from a funny Ex-Cuban Lt. named Castro, but no relation to the turd down south. Castro was a true “Wetback” when the boat they came over on in mid-seventies, capsized causing his family to swim to shore in South Beach Miami. The laughter attracted the attention of Captain Migraine who decided to hang out with the boys.

“Evening Gents” his monotone voice silencing the crowd. “How are things going?” Everyone just nodded their heads up and down and mumbled “Good Sir.” The silence continued with the only noise coming from the crackle of the burning wood until Lieutenant Butts, the outspoken farm kid from Knoxville Tennessee, asked in his loud southern drawl “Sirrrr, I believe I speak for the rest of the fellas when I say that I like running as much as the next guy, but when we get back to the rear, is there any chance we could do some other form of P.T.???” (Physical training) Migraine sort of reared back and you would have thought he caught Butts putting his hand up his sister’s dress. “What Lt? you don’t like to run?” Butts who hated to run said “Why no Sirrrrr, I LOVE to run, I just thought maybe we could have a little variety, that’s all.” Migraine nodded his head deep in thought and said “I’ll think about it.” Then walked off.

Castro stood up and motioned to his lower half, “Mannnnnn, Butts, you got some big cojones, but I like that!!! I’d love to do something else, hell man, I had to go buy new running shoes” Everyone patted Butts on the back and the word spread throughout the rest of the platoon elevating Butts to “The Man” status for trying to shake up the daily running routine.

Two days later, back in the rear at 1530 (3:30pm), the call was made for the platoon to fall out in PT gear and to bring a soccer ball. The morale of the guys went through the roof!! They ran down to the lower playing field engaged in a game of Combat Soccer, a very brutal sport that resembled “Smear the Queer”, “Soccer” and “Football.” Basically no rules. Migraine stood on the sideline with his arms crossed and played referee, not daring to join the fray for fear of getting his legs broken by some of these 200-230 pound LT.’s thirsting for blood. The whistle blew at 1630 (4:30pm) ending the game and forming the platoon back up. They were all breathing heavy, sweat dripping down their grimy faces but all smiles because Butts had managed to suggest the alternate form of PT. They heard Migraine called out “Platoon, Move Out!!” they all started a slow gait back to the main road, but instead of turning right back to the barracks, they turned left on the main road. Everyone looked at each other with puzzled faces. Someone shouted from the middle of the platoon “Sir, where are we going???”

Migraine looked over his right shoulder and said “Well, you guys got to play your Combat football, now we’ll finish it up with a slow six mile run.”
You gotta love the Corps!!
Semper Fi,

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Husband does not come with the Hat!!!

Hey guys,
Marty Horn from, is holding a couple of raffles to support his site. This organization has helped out untold numbers of our Military and I owe a great debt for everything he and the supporters did for me and my Marines while deployed! Plus, it connected me with all of you out there in Cyberland!! I wouldn’t have this blog to pontificate without the help of Capt. B and Marty who I met through AnySoldier.

Captain B has donated a Flag that flew over his base and Lee Ann Womack has signed a hat and shirt as well. I am donating a Marine Corps desert digi cover that I used over in Iraq for his raffle. (yes it’s been washed and is great for wear while out in the garden or the daily walk)

After that sells, I’m going to donate a prop from one of our UAV’s that flew from TQ in Nov of last year during “Operation Steel Curtain.”

After that, I will donate one of the blades from the first stage compressor assembly of a MIG 25 that I found over in TQ. All these gifts mean a great deal to me and somewhere down the line played a big part in Iraq.

All the money will go to operating expense’s for which is very important!! I hope you all can help him out on this mission to raise some cash!! Here is the link on AnySoldier/Marine to check out the stuff. Marty should have the Boonie Cover on there soon and also a chance to win some autographed “AnySoldier” hats from Capt B and myself. Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think might be able to support one of the greatest sites ever!!!

You may have to cut and paste this into your browser. Guys, I want to thank you ahead of time for helping Marty and the site out!! Out of all the support organizations available to our Military, this one has my sole dedication, support and backing!!
Glad you guys liked “Call a Spade a Spade” because that was a difficult piece to write and without making a novel out of it. More stories to come.
Semper Fi,
P.S. the wife (C.O.) says that the husband does not come with the hat to all of my Female fan base!!!