Military stories from past to present, both wars.

Keep on Truckin’ 10-4 GoodBuddy!!

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

The blinding light was directly in my eyes. Even though the tinted visor was positioned between me and the sun, it was blasting right through my retinas. The Marine KC 130 was flying along at eighteen thousand feet westbound, bucking headwinds, laden with a P19 fire truck in the back cargo bay. It seemed like an eternity since we had departed Cherry Point MCAS on our way to Yuma Marine Air Station, but in reality it had been only four hours prior. The usual chatter was bantered back and forth on the Intercom (ICS). It was my leg and I needed a short break to hit the head.

Looking to my left, I asked “Wedge” (the simplest tool known to man) if he wanted a cup of coffee to accompany the second bag of fried pork rings he had put down. He shook his head, “No,” as the crumbs settled on his chest.

I got out of my seat and stretched back. Looking at the Engineer, I mimed “drinking a cup,” and pointed to him. He didn’t move, so I moved around to his side. The sun was blasting him as well, and his eyes were shut, but you couldn’t tell that behind the dark Ray Ban’s that he had on. I shook him gently on the shoulder, causing him to spasm somewhat. After he settled down, I again motioned that I was going to fetch a cup of the Loadmasters strong coffee, did he want some? His head nodded up and down with a big smile on his face. Shouting into his uncapped headset, I asked, “How do you like it?” He leaned forward and yelled, “I like it, like I like my women!!!” I knew what he meant, “strong,” but I couldn’t resist. “Hey Gunny, we don’t charge for our coffee in the Marine Corps.” He just laughed and motioned for me to move on. Looking behind him, I noticed the Navigator and the Loadmaster playing on the H.F. (High Freq) radio, huddled together. Knowing SSgt. Martin, the Loadmaster, he was talking to his little girlfriend at Base Ops in Rota Spain.

First stop was in the back to get rid of my last couple of cups of “Java Joe.” The young Mech was back on the ramp with the first novel in the series of “Lee’s Lieutenants.” Man, these guys are no dummies with all they read while on the road. After relieving myself of the “Java,” I faced the long trek back, sliding sideways against the wall, and the giant fire engine since it took up most of the room in the cargo bay. The noise from the thin-skinned fuselage and the four turbine engines was deafening. Climbing back up to the flight deck, I notice the Navigator, Cpl. Wheeler, slapping Martin on the back and laughing so loud, I could hear it over the racket of the engines.

Stirring the creamer in my coffee, I handed Gunny his “Strong” black coffee and then moved back into my seat. They were talking on the HF radio, pausing, then more talking, followed by deep bellows of laughter. I grabbed my headset and turned the selector switch to H.F. “One,” so I could hear what was going on.

Over the radio, there was all sorts of excited chatter back and forth, but as I listened, I realized they were listening to C.B. channel 19 down below us as we were directly over Highway 20. “Breaker, Breaker,” SSgt. Martin, imitating his best “Dukes of Hazzard” country accents, “Hey Big Silver you up good buddy???” SSgt. Martin then releases the microphone switch and waits. It didn’t take long until “Big Silver” came up on the radio and he was mad!! I guess a lot had changed since the 70s when the movie “Convoy” was on the big screen, and “Good buddy” was the thing to say; now it’s the same as calling the guy GAY!!

“Big Silver” came back over the radio, “Hey, jerkweed, you tell me your twenty and I’ll beat you into next week!!”

SSgt. Martin, keys the mic again. “I’m right behind you asswipe, just where you probably like it!!” This really got “Big Silver” on the roll as he described in very vivid terms what he was going to do to Martin when he caught him, but right in the middle of his rant, Martin keys the microphone switch sending like a hundred and twenty one million gigawatts of power back down into his tiny C.B. radio. He releases the switch and then keys it again, “Hey Big Silver, you up.??? No answer, dead silence.

Actually, I think our radio puts out something like 300 watts of power, enough to talk to the other side of the planet, and a C.B. produces maybe 5 watts. Not sure about the mechanics of it all, but I guess that much power coming back into a trucker’s CB would fry the fuse in the trucker’s radio taking him out of action. After they chuckled again, they would listen for the next victim and pick out the “handle” of the poor trucker who was unaware that he was about to be ambushed.

“Wedge” keyed his mic, “What’s going on back there?” motioning over his right shoulder towards the Loadmaster and Navigator.

I reach over with a smile on my face and key the ICS, “Oh, nothing, the kids are just chatting with the locals, making friends as we pass through and weeding rude truckers out of the gene pool.”