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,