Military stories from past to present, both wars.

“IF IF IF IF IF IF IF Worms had Machine Guns”

February 6th, 2012 Posted in The SandGram v1.0


 I love that word “IF” and the other day when I heard a gal bemoaning the fact that “if” they just conceded the contract… and it made me think of the old drill instructor who would say “If…if’s and but’s were candy and nuts, we’d have a real party out here” 

 That of course made me think if of one of my favorite Marines who would say sort of the same thing but with a Stutter…, “If, if if if if if if  worms just had machine guns then birds wouldn’t “F**K” with them.”

 Back in 1994, I had a boss named Major Bill over in Okinawa.  Major Bill was about 6’4 with the same build he had as a linebacker when he played football at the Naval Academy.  He was a gentle giant though, most thoughtful guy in the world and also had the worst stutters you have ever heard.  I’m not talking about a slight stutter, it was a full blowout struggling to get the words out stutter.

I can remember the first time I heard him give a brief to the General up at the Wing HQ and you wanted to just jump up there to help him finish the sentences.  Everyone at the brief seemed to over look this White Elephant in the room and when the Major was done, the General nodded and replied “Thank you Major, great job.”

 Well, it was maybe a few months later that he became my boss over at MWSG-17 on Camp Foster. 

The morning brief with him was tough at first because you knew what he wanted to say and would have to bite your tongue not to complete his sentences.  He did a lot of emails which he loved since he typed so fast.  His briefs were incredible and his intelligence shined through his words on paper.  Funny thing though, after awhile, you never heard the stutter…

 The Major became my mentor for the rest of my tour and I realized why no one ever made fun of his speech impediment, he was just a great guy who was smarter then 99% of the folks in the room and could take them all down on paper if he wanted to. Plus he could pound you into the dirt if he had the urge to.

One day, we are leaving for one of these briefs and I noticed that he had a green pilot “Helmet Bag” with a big GIANT yellow “IF” sewn on the side of it.  Only Pilots had these bags to put their pubs and equipment into and most ground guys wouldn’t get caught dead with such gear for fear of being associated with the dark side.

“Hey Major Bill, just curious, where did you get that helmet bag?”

He looked at the bag, smiled and said “I I I I I I I I  ga ga ga ga GOT THAT in in in in fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa FLIGHTSCHOOL.”

I’m stunned; did he just sayFlightSchool????  “Sir, are you telling me you were in flight school?”

“Ah huh” was his real short affirmative answer that he could get out without difficulty.

“You mean they let you down there talking the way you do”  He just nodded yes. 

 His stutter would begin, build up and all at once pour out at the end. 

“Ma ma ma ma ma ma MY ca ca ca ca cal cal cal CALLSIGN wa wa wa was WAS “IF.”

 “Wow, Sir, I’m impressed, what happened?”

He looked up at me and smiled “If if if if if if if if if if if …IF,   I I I I I I I I I I did did did did did did did DIDN’T have, th th th thth th th th th THIS,  FA FA FA FA FA FA FA FA FA F**KING STUDDER, I I I I I I I I I I I I coulda been a Pilot!!!”

He made it a couple of flights before they finally said he had to go find another job where talking on the radio wasn’t vital…and when he had a going away party, one of the guys gave him the Helmet bag with his callsign “IF” on the side of it.

So Boss, “IF” you are reading this, know that you are up there in the top three best bosses I ever had…

Semper Fi,


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