Military stories from past to present, both wars.

Dat FlyCatcher…

June 6th, 2006 Posted in The SandGram v1.0

We were sitting around the squad bay on various footlockers and little camp stools, preparing for the pre-final inspection before graduation.  Barns, the prior enlisted guy noticed “FlyCatcher” Clements, across the way working on his rifle.

“Hey FlyCatcher, what are you doing?”

Clements looks up with that silly partly opened mouth, “Just putting the final touches on my weapon.”

From my bunk across on the other side, I could see something was terribly wrong with his rifle; it was no longer black, but silver. In his left hand was a pad of steel wool. This idiot had removed all the bluing from the barrel of his M-16A1.
Barn’s got up off of his foot locker and looked at the “really clean” barrel on FlyCatcher’s rifle.

“What?? What?? What’s the matter with it?” He inquired from Barn’s.

“Oh nothing FlyCatcher, you’re going to do great at the inspection” Barn’s replied.

This seemed to please him as he went back to work on his rifle. Barns returned to our side with a big smile on his face as he was shaking his head in disbelief, “This inspection is going to be fun boys, that’s for sure!!”

Normally, you help out your buddy, but in this case, “FlyCatcher” was in another squad and lets just say that we had some good home rivalry going on between us. Twenty minutes later, word was passed to get ready for SSgt. JJ and the Platoon Commander (a Captain who looked like Harrison Ford, but a boyish Hans Solo). They arrived inside the Quonset hut putting one half of the squad bay at attention and the other half at parade rest.

As they smartly turned to face each candidate, Captain Solo would ask a question like, “What is your seventh general order?” “What is the max effective range of the M-16A1?” “How many counts in that movement you just completed?” He looks over the uniforms, sticking his finger into gear that is placed on tightly folded green wool blankets that cover the beds.

Slowly they worked their way down the line. As they get closer to our end of the squad bay, Captain Solo steps in front of Candidate “FlyCatcher” who executes a flawless “Present Arms” to the good Captain showing that his rifle was empty and ready for the inspection.

Captain Solo exclaims, “Holy Crap!! What the hell happened to your rifle Candidate??” As he exams the now shiny silver barrel.

“FlyCatcher”, very proud of his work says “Sir, this candidate used steel wool to get his rifle really clean for the inspection.” The Captain turned to SSgt JJ, pointed to the end of the rifle, handed it back, put his hand over his mouth for some reason, stood there for a minute looking at “FlyCatcher” then smartly turned right and moved on.
The two drill instructors (to the Captains left) were ready to kill “FlyCatcher.” SSgt. JJ leans over to whisper something into his assistant’s ear. We called Sergeant Worth the Tasmanian Devil, because he was just like the cartoon character that would spin up into a feeding frenzy. The Devil just waited until Captain Solo moved on to the next poor soul and then removed “FlyCatcher” from the squad bay.

Over the soft questions asked by Hans Solo, you could hear the Tasmanian Devil outside, running “FlyCatcher” through a series of bends and thrust, jumping jacks etc as he screamed about having him arrested for destroying Government property, etc. We all learned from that example that you don’t use steel wool to clean your weapon…

The best part was being told to empty the garbage after the inspection and walking by the instructors Quonset hut while the sound of laughter carried over the radio playing .

“Sir, can you believe Dat Dummy took all Da bluing off Dat Dang rifle?” SSgt JJ said as the Captain piped in “I was almost starting to laugh, I had to sit there for a minute to compose myself. Well, I guess you can give him an A for trying!
SSgt. JJ didn’t agree with that and promised to stick to “DAT” boy like white on rice…
Remember what my Dad always said… Be outstanding, but don’t stand out!

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