Sunday, July 29, 2007

Mess Night

Well Gang, we have been home a week now and the fond memories of our little trip to the desert are fading fast as I get back into the cycle of L.A. all nighters in the mighty 737. The night before we left, we had a Mess night for all 224 members of the Detachment there. A Mess night is a formal event that goes back to our roots when we were part of the British Empire. We brought a lot of these customs over to the US Navy and Marine Corps in the 1700’s. Of course, we have added a lot to it, but here is a brief synopsis of the night. There are about two pages of rules of conduct for the event and you are not allowed to bring the rules in with you, so if you mess up, you have to pay a fine, usually a dollar.

I was “Mr. Vice” who carried the gavel and was the sole person that could levy fines against another member of the Mess. What you do is start out with simple stuff like, “produce your dog tags, ID card in the left breast pocket, proper uniform for the mess.” Some Officers show up in what they called a flight suit tux, (a picture is worth a thousand words) I can tell you that they were fined for that. Then we have fun like having each member of the mess write down his 8th Marine Corps General Order and passing it to the right. If they got it wrong, they had to pay a dollar.

We had one pilot named “Wolfie” who drank a bit too much at the Friday night softball game six days prior, and made a giant jackass of himself as he ran around shouting and cursing at the players. How do you fine a guy for that kind of behavior? It was fun putting this one together. We had a urinalysis on Monday and I borrowed one of the little pee cups they use with some red tape and filled it with apple juice. Then I called out the Staff Sergeant in charge of the pee test to report to me up front. Of Course, every one of us had to do TWO pee test during the AT (annual training) and the Marines probably thought I was going to fine the good SSgt for excessive wiener watching. I then mentioned the action of said Officer during the Friday night game and then asked the SSgt if this was indeed the urinalysis of the Officer in question. He took the sealed bottle from me and examined the name on the side, the initials on the top confirmed that it was indeed the pee of our drunken Officer. I opened the container and put my finger in it and then to my mouth, “Hmmmmm, I think we can save the government the cost of doing a test on this one…I taste Vodka in this sample. What do you think SSgt?”

The SSgt, took his finger and tasted the liquid in the bottle, but then smiled and raised it to his lips taking a big sip he said “Sir, I detect the presence of Crown and Coke, and it taste pretty good.” I then took another sip and handed it to another Officer who gulps it down and the strips his shirt off and runs around the head table like a crazy drunk monkey shouting “Look at me, I’m Wolfie, Look at me….” The funniest part of this was hearing the hysterical laughter from all the Marines and looking at the Commanding Officer at the head table (who didn’t know we had this planned) with a pained look on his face as our Commanding General Officer, the Guest of Honor, was sitting next to him watching all this. You could almost see the slow motion of him screaming “Nooooooooooooooooo!!!”

I fined Wolfie twenty dollars for conduct unbecoming of an Officer. That was classic. All and all, we had a great time out there and I’ll leave you with our top ten reasons why we held our two week training out in the heat of El Centro in the Summertime.

10. We go to cool places all year round
9. The boys miss the desert
8. El Centro has great looking hot chicks behind all the oak trees right? (The Blue Angels wouldn't stay there if that wasn't true)
7. We have to use the brown flights suits or turn them back in.
6. It's not hot enough in Texas in July
5. The Group CO said it would be a Cold day in El Centro before we ever had a good time AT.
4. The beer is cold there
3. It's easier to have bets on who will puke on the LAT (low level) missions with the heat.
2. They promised we would go somewhere cooler next Iran

And the number one reason we did our AT out in El Centro is that we spent all of our FY (fiscal year) per diem flying to Thailand, Japan, Australia, St Johns, Norway, England and Hawaii...this is payback.

Semper Fi,

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Friday, July 13, 2007

What can go wrong now?

You know it’s funny, it rains and it pours when the husband goes away. I mean, it has really been raining in Texas. We had over twenty inches before I left for El Centro California for our annual two week training for the Marines. We planned out a fun filled two week trip to the deserts in the southeast corner of Cali next to Arizona. It’s only a hundred and fifteen out here in the heat of the day, but they call it the “Dry Heat.” Actually when guys complain about it, I just tell them, no problem, we’ll go where it’s a bit cooler, like Iran or something.

I still laugh though because right before I left, Teresa had started to build an ARK, we developed a leak in the roof of our garage with all the rain that has poured down on Fort Worth. Then after I left, our dishwasher went out in the kitchen, followed by Megan who laid a big cow paddy of poop all over our white carpet and down the stairs (thank God she bought a steam cleaner instead of new shoes) then yesterday the water went out. One of the main water lines for the city exploded and shot water everywhere, so the girls went to her folk’s house for the evening bath.

I on the other hand, have a great couple of days. Once all two hundred and thirty Marines were settled in their bunks, things calmed down for me and we started to fly. I just had my first flight with N.V.G.’s, (Night Vision Goggles) which we call flying “aided.” Now for all those out there who do this all the time, go ahead and skip this post, for the rest of you newbie’s like me, sit back and let me tell you my thoughts on this. It is ASOULUTLY the COOLEST thing I have done in my flying career. NVG flying had just started coming around to the KC130 fleet back when I getting out, so I never had a chance to use them. The flight equipment guys set you up with a helmet and then you take a class on how to play with these six thousand dollar toys.

Depending on the amount of moonlight, stars, clouds etc, it turns night into a greenish glow, just like you see on T.V. from views of the war. It amazes me that you can see cars parked in a field, roads, cactus and trees from a thousand feet as you plod over the low level course. The major drawback is I sweat like a whore in church on Easter when I wear a helmet. Always did in flight school too, which by the way was the last time I wore a helmet. With the helmet on, you have streaks of sweat rolling down your neck and back. I forgot to bring a snug head bandana like I wore on my motorcycle ride, so went over to a hanger where these flight students from VT 21 (Jet Students) were hanging out. I walked in and asked if anyone had an extra “Skull Cap” which they all have because they wear helmets all the time. They all kind of half ass looked around their bags and then I offered the Squadron patch off of my flight suit. One of the foreign exchange pilots then pulled out a brand new skull cap and I gladly parted with my five dollars patch for the gift. The skull cap keeps the helmet snug on your head with the NVG’S on and it won’t slip around due to all the sweat pouring out of my pores. Even at night, the outside air temperature was 40 degrees Celsius or one hundred and four degrees Fahrenheit at a thousand feet and the air conditioners weren’t working that well. It was HOT.
Man, I digress, flying around and landing with these things on are a blast. Here are a few pictures I took as I waited for my turn in the seat. Hope you guys are having a great weekend and talk to you soon. I'm pretty busy here, so it may be a couple more days before I post.
Semper Fi,

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Lt. Killjoy

I told you guys about a site I love called “Together we served” where you can find old military buddies from your branch of service. Well, I found one of my old Instructors from The Basic School named LtCol Joe Jackson. Joe was a first Lieutenant when he arrived and picked up Captain about the second week we were there in 1988. He taught us tactics, the basic introduction for the boneheaded Second Louies there in Hotel Company. They called us “Honey Company” because we had a platoon of women where all the other companies were all male.

I had last seen Joe over in Iraq and it brought back many fond memories of “The Big Suck” or The Basic School, its proper name. Poor Joe had Tactics after lunch and had to fight the sleep monsters that caused your eyelids to shut tight as all the blood flooded to your stomach, digesting that fine Marine Corps Chow. His partner in crime was another hard charging Infantry Marine Named Chris Powderfoot (all names have been changed btw) who had had a knack for keeping us awake and motivated to be in his class. He would come in and get all the Lt’s to beat on their desk tops like wild animals worked up into a heated frenzy. Then, he would hold his arms up to bring the crowd under control. The Lieutenants all loved this guy because he would start out with a fast dirty joke to set the mood. The only problem was one of the female Second Lt’s took an extreme dislike to Capt. Powderfoot and started to complain to her Platoon Commander that she was offended by these dirty jokes and asked if he could stop. This went up the chain of command and back down to Captain Powderfoot. I guess this just kinda fueled him on more which provoked some really awesome jokes.

Now the young lady in question was really pissed off and made it clear that if he uttered one more offense joke, she would walk out of class and go file a complaint against him. Now the squabble had most of the Lt’s upset and on the Capt’s side with maybe three quarter of the women who thought their fellow Lt. was a bit out of control. Everyone was aware of her threat, including Captain Powderfoot who walked out onto the stage that fateful afternoon. The beating of the desk was deafening as the Lt’s waited for the command of silence. Everyone had a smile on their face wondering if he would tell his joke and face the wrath of a sexual harassment charge.

Captain Powderfoot put his hands up and pumped them for the crowd to stop beating their palms to a pulp. He then said, “Hey, did I tell you about the boatload of whores going to China?” All eyes were on Lt. Killjoy to see what would happen next. The question lingered in the air for several seconds before she stood up and started to move across the chairs to the exit row. Without missing a beat, Captain Powderfoot said “Hey Lt., where are you going? Boat doesn’t cruise till three. O.K., Marines, and today we’re taking on Squad in the attack…”

Lieutenant Killjoy stopped, hesitated for a second, realized that he set her up, and with a very red face, went back to her seat. We never had anymore good jokes after that and Tactics was never the same either.