Military stories from past to present, both wars.

Redman and Rotten eggs

January 25th, 2006 Posted in The SandGram v1.0

Dear Gang,
Well in the light of my glass half full, here is a post that hopefully will bring a smile to your face. This happened three months ago and is a bit of old news. The hardest part about writing is to make sure I don’t violate any operational security directives. That’s why you may only read the mundane side of life here and not the action. Although if I was in charge of the country, I would take all the bad guys from the prison a couple miles away and make them form a nice chain gang. Can you imagine, HOT PINK jumpsuits, chained up together in a line picking up trash on the highway?? That would cut down on two things, the amount of chow we have to ship in here to feed these punks (can’t feed ‘em when they’re dead) and clear the road of IED’s. Now we can also offer our criminals the same choice, go to Iraq and clean up trash and if you survive a year of this, we’ll give you a pardon. Most won’t make it…how can they survive without their cable TV and A.C., at least they could have the Man love from these guys over here (women are for babies, men are for fun). This would go over like a pregnant pole-vaulter of course with the ACLU and every other group. But this is wishful thinking and the subject of many “what if?” conversations we have over here.

I have a buddy over here and for security sake we’ll call him “Jim Adams”. We served together in Okinawa almost 12 years ago and I was on hand for him to be promoted to LtCol on the 1st. He is one of the most talented writers out there and one day he’ll put a screen play or book out that will go straight to the top. I would love to write about an incident that almost made his promotion to Major impossible years ago but that would take about 5 pages to give it justice. Let’s just say that my sense of humor and ability to disguise my voice caused the NCIS unit to look into my friend for a letter that was written by him to the editor of Stars and Stripes oh say Dec 25th 1994 for those of you able to pull those papers up on line. Since he is reading this on line, I will have to get permission to tell about it since it involves the Base General taking a special interest in “Jim” and his natural talents.
I was able to catch a Helicopter over to his base the night before and smoke a couple of Cigars in “Club 9” which is nice but very small. It was a great time and I enjoyed taking an all day walking tour of his base. Lots of old Iraqi stuff there (found an AK-47 ) and cool trash all over. The return home to my base which is very short normally took me on a tour of every base we have here and lasted four hours. Here is what it’s like to ride in the back of a CH-46, the twin rotor helicopter. My wild ride home.

It’s night time when you arrive at the Flight line, ear plugs are issued and you wait until the engines are started. They crank up the APU (Aux power Unit) which causes this giant flame to shoot out the back of the aircraft. Once the engines start, the rotor blades slowly begin to spin. It always amazed me that the blades never hit each other. Two sayings come to mind,” a helicopter is made up of a thousand moving pieces in close formation”, and “I would rather have Venereal Disease written in my health record then Helo hours in my pilot logbook.” Once it’s started you move into the back via a small ramp that goes up and down. Now see the -46 has open windows up front so the crew can man the machine guns there, thus allowing a constant breeze into the back of the bird. Really bad when it’s 110 F outside, decent when it’s in the 80’s and downright freezing in the desert nighttime when the temps hit the 50’s to the 30’s. As you sit on these red web seats (very uncomfortable) you are weighed down with the 30 odd pounds of body armor, gun, helmet etc. I put my goggles on and ear plugs in expecting to catch a nap before I arrived. There is a constant hum of the engines, and as the blades turn they make a sort of dull thud report, almost like a machine gun going off only it does this in cycles. I’m just getting use to this rhythm, when the MACHINE GUNS do go off. They are blazing .50 cal rounds down and the first thought is “cripes, there is only coke can thick aluminum behind me, please Lord if I’m shot, make it a John Kerry wound” Well it’s ok; they were test firing the guns to make sure they worked right.

We go to another base to pick up some people including this big burly Army guy who they put on my left side closest to the cockpit. This turned out to be a good thing because I was expecting a short flight but ended up on the round robin that lasted four hours with about 40 degree wind howling into the back of the cargo section where we all are. Not thinking I’d be stuck on this ride from hell, all I had on was my uniform and the flak jacket with my helmet. After freezing the first hour, I dug into my bag and grabbed my spare socks to use as mittens, then my tee shirt to wrap around my head, that did ok, but my legs were two ice cubes, so I pulled my towel out and put that around my numb stubs. OOOOhh much better, even better was having this Army guy sitting there as my personal wind deflector. Lessons learned, yes it’s not super hot in the day here and that means it’s cold as heck at night in the desert and since the temperature drops 2 degrees per thousand feet in altitude on average, that means better bundle up or you will be thawing out for the next two days. Next stop, this Iraqi soldier gets on the plane. Now this guy has a helmet about two sizes to big, a small flak vest and really bad breath as he leans over to my face and yells “we go where?” Me, thinking I have some chewing gum in my bag somewhere. “Where are you going?” He screams back, “where we go?” now I’m really thinking about the gum to give him, “Where do you need to go?” He snuggles in closer and says, “I go where we go”, well there you are, along for the ride, not much more you can say about that. I turned on my flashlight and looked at his papers just to be clear where this guy IS going. The -46 takes off again, next stop, the hydraulic pump comes on adding another whine to the already loud cargo bay. My eyes are closed, I’m trying to think of that time I broke down in Rota Spain on the beach, that was a good time…please warm up. I smell something like a cross between two day old chewing tobacco and foul rotten eggs. I open my eyes and peek out of my makeshift face cover from my tee shirt. It’s my buddy to the right of me with his face right next to mine. “WE HERE”, no no no, “NOT HERE” I scream back, wrong stop for him. My Army buddy gets off that stop which took away all of my cover and concealment from the wind. Now I’m really cold.

Finally I was able to dig out the pack of Big Red gum some supporter out there sent to us and gave him a piece. This was good but his teeth were chattering so bad, I think he probably bit his tongue once or twice. They are nice guys, bad breath but nice guys. After taking a long hot shower, I brought my body core temperature back up to normal allowing my manhood to drop back out the deep recesses of my body. Life is good… Anyway, that’s what you might expect if you take a long chopper ride…
Until next time,