Military stories from past to present, both wars.

Pepe’ Le Pew

January 4th, 2007 Posted in The SandGram v1.0

Corpus Christi 1990

The five flight students were finishing another pitcher of beer at the “Eleventh Hour,” a dark jazz club in the heart of downtown Corpus, but with the added bonus of the upstairs “Crow’s Nest;” a fly boy’s dream come true. Lots of cold beer, assorted liquor and more local aviation history then one could shake a stick at. It was two a.m. and time to rally the troops for the drive home. One of the five was really steaming about his flight that morning, and this guy wasn’t one to lose his cool.

“That SOB Larry, I swear I feel like beating the living tar out of him.” Jake Swan was a Navy NavCad, (join the Navy and learn to fly and get paid as an E-4 till you were winged and then commissioned an Ensign. All this with two years of college under your belt). Jake was in this limbo because, on the scale of things, he was at the bottom of the ocean floor, “lower than whale crap” as he would say. If he punched this Ensign out, then he was afraid that the punk would run him up on charges of attacking an Officer. Larry Ruttenberg would throw you or his own mother under a bus if he thought it would advance him further towards his dream of becoming a jet pilot.

Larry was fast losing friends after he turned in one of our Marines for having a pistol in his BOQ room; actually it was a no-kidding-metal-toy gun that this guy had since he was a boy. So the charges were dropped, but it came out that ole Larry had dropped the “sewer top dime” on him. After that, few would let Larry into their rooms, especially if they were in competition with him for grades, and the few jet slots the Navy had to offer for fear that he would try to find some elicit infraction to get them in trouble.

Boys being boys, the group decided to help out Jake and start “Operation Petticoat.” Phase one would commence in twenty minutes when everyone arrived back at the BOQ (Bachelor Officer Quarters). If you weren’t married, and 90% were single, then we lived in these little studio apartments on the base. It was great camaraderie and made flight school easy when one could walk down the hallway to ask a buddy for some help. Our BOQ was located across from the O’Club and down the street from the ocean. We had lots of wildlife around the area, and phase one of our attack tonight involved “Pepe Le Pew,” the semi-pet skunk who waddled about the grassy area next to our building in search of love and food. Guys would feed the skunk so he became sort of a mascot.

The five students piled out of the Nissan Pathfinder in search of Pepe who was finally found at the end of the parking lot. They fanned out and sort of “shooed” Pepe up to the building, moving north along the many doors till they arrived at Larry’s room. Two of the fellows moved around, out flanking the skunk till he waddled back to a position right in front of Larry’s door. Then they, all at the same time, jumped at the skunk, growling with teeth exposed and hands in the air like claws. Ole Pepe hadn’t really seen this behavior from his human friends before, and let out a massive spray which went all over the front of Larry’s door, the intake for his air conditioner, and the concrete on the floor. The five took off running as fast as they could to avoid the blast, laughing as they went.
Larry, awakened by the stomping of feet outside of his room, opened the door only to come face to face with Pepe right outside his door, and an odor that some in Tennessee or Arkansas would find fragrant, but not to a New York Bronx boy. Pepe turned and sprayed Larry as he waddled off to the screams of a grown man as he ran back into his room.

The five vowed secrecy and told no one of their adventure. Not even whispered to their best friends, “Hey, don’t tell anyone, but last night…” So the next day when Larry did finally show up to the squadron, he cut a wide berth as he passed by, still reeking of skunk. His instructor told him to go home and take a bath in tomato juice that would get rid of it, and not to come back in till he did. Later that afternoon, a new name was written up on the whiteboard behind the flight duty officer next to Larry’s name.
“Pepe’ Le Pew”
Standby for Phase two…

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