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  1. #586
    Contributor chanjyj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post
    Don't worry Z. Most officers don't like long ceremonies either. Some more than others )
    Ahh... It was the colour party here.


  2. #587
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    Quote Originally Posted by desertswo View Post
    Here’s a story I promised bigross86 about “my part” in the Yom Kippur War. In October of 1973, I was a Catholic high school football player, and typical teenage boy of the era. I had long hair, relatively speaking, and when not in school was dressed in my usual uniform of the day; Levis, Hang Ten T-shirt and Clark’s Desert Boots. My two best friends and I were similarly attired and were on our way to see a movie. I don’t recall what movie because we never got there.

    It’s the “there” that matters in the story; the movie theater on Naval Station San Diego, known to us locals simply as “32nd Street.” To see a first run motion picture cost the princely sum of $0.25, and cokes and candy were similarly cut-rate at the concession stand. All three of us were Navy juniors; their fathers being Master Chief Petty Officers, and mine a CWO4, although all were long retired by that point. Regardless, we sort of grew up on the base, going to the theater, the commissary, the exchange, etc., etc., etc. It’s just a way of life we sort of took for granted and never gave a second thought.

    So there we are driving up to the main gate . . . in my father’s 1971 Chevy Malibu SS-454; and yes, it had the four-barrel carb and four on the floor. When I asked my father why he bought that beast, his response was, “Because I can.” I think I know where I got my love of going fast. Anyway, we are driving up to the base and all of a sudden there are all these angry looking people wearing starched trees pointing M-16s at us and ordering us out of the car. I swear, we were shitting green. Out of the car we came, up against the car we went, and it wasn’t with a “Mother may I.” These Marines were roughing us up pretty good and had we not been two linebackers and an offensive guard, we might have been on our knees before too long.

    After a minute, a Marine Corps officer and the Navy OOD approach the scene and the questions start. “Whose car is it you long-haired maggot and why are you driving it?” I explained that it was my father’s car, that’s why there is a blue DoD sticker on the bumper (in those days vice the window), and we were just going to the movies. We all had our dependent’s ID cards so no worries there, but I was dragged into the duty hut to call my father. So he comes down in my VW Bug (he let me drive his car if I paid for the gas) and basically bails us out; all the while giving the OOD the skink eye for being a bunch of assholes, but when the OOD explained what was going on, the light bulb went on for him, and us.

    What had happened was the IDF had turned the tide after initially being bitch-smacked by Arab forces in the Yom Kippur War, and the Soviets started rattling their sabers pretty hard, so DoD went to DEFCON 3. That’s only happened a couple of times in Cold War/post-Cold War history; 9/11 (for which I was present at the Pentagon), Yom Kippur, and the Cuban Missile Crisis on the way to DEFCON 2. When it happens, security at bases all over the world gets ratcheted up to almost ridiculous, but necessary levels, and we had unwittingly driven into a hornet’s nest of amped up Marine Corps security personnel who were there solely to defend those weapons we could neither confirm nor deny the presence of, and we “hippies” were obviously pinko, commie, bedwetting, subversives, bent on the destruction of the United States Navy . . . yadda, yadda.

    When it happened again after 9/11 I felt right at home. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
    Awesome story! This October will be 40 years since the Yom Kippur War, and I'm really looking forward to a whole bunch of all the cool articles, TV shows, interviews, etc that will be coming out. Out of all the Israeli wars, the Yom Kippur War is my favorite (even beating the Second Lebanon War, which I participated in) because that was the war where the IDF Armored Corps really came into its prime and showed people who's who and what's what. Massive tank battles both in the Sinai and in the Golan Heights bent the IDF almost to the breaking point, but they bounced back even stronger than ever.
    Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

    Abusing Yellow is meant to be a labor of love, not something you sell to the highest bidder.

  3. #588
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    OK, I feel the need to tell another story. My wife and I were reminiscing the other day about our lives when I was in the Navy, and as I retold this story for my kids, who were mostly either not yet born, or were very young and didn't remember what it was like with me gone a lot (we've been married 38 years but didn't start our family until rather late in the game because my wife broke her right hip at the age of 25 and what with multiple surgeries including a total hip replacement at the age of 27, the idea of carrying a child to term was a bit of a non-starter until she was more or less stable health-wise.

    Anyway, I suspect everyone, even those who've never been in the military are familiar with the concept of the "Dear John letter." On my first deployment in Constellation in 1980, we were sent post haste to the Indian Ocean and Northern Arabian Sea in response to the Iran Hostage Crisis. We were gone the better part of ten months, so as one might imagine, a lot of marriages and relationships were sorely tested. One of those relationships involved a fellow engineering officer who shall remain nameless, but I'll call him "Tony." Tony was an interesting guy. He graduated from Purdue University with a degree in nuclear engineering. One of those quirky things about Hymen G. Rickover's nuclear navy is that he didn't want people who already had that sort of paper hanging on the wall. In his view, people with ME, EE, Physics or Chemistry degrees were just find, but if you had one involving nuclear power, he would reject that person out of hand because he believed you had already learned bad habits. Better that he teach you from scratch than allow such a virus onto his carefully manicured nuclear powered lawn. So Tony went to sea as a conventional engineer. He was by far one of the smartest people I've ever known. He was also one of the most slovenly. Seriously, he was like the character in the old Charlie Brown comic strip, "Pigpen"; complete with a cloud of dust trailing aft. He stood about six feet tall and weighed in at around 250. This was before the Navy gave a shit about weight control; not that Tony was fat. Rather, he was one of those big Polish kids who could eat hay and pull a wagon.

    So, unbeknownst to the rest of us, Tony had a fiance back home in Pittsburgh, and about month five of the deployment she sent him the dreaded "Dear John." His reaction was not even remotely what any of us would or could imagine. He actually invited us to sit at the wardroom table while he re-read it out loud. We were all sort of looking at each other with what must have been "What the hell are we supposed to say to THAT?" and also, "Man, that's way too much information . . ." looks on our faces. So, as he's reading it through for the second time, he suddenly got this really sardonic look on his face, and reaching into the pocket of his coveralls, he pulled out his red pen, and using it, he corrected all of her bad grammar, bad punctuation, and misspellings. Then he graded it an "F" and sent it back to her!!! Man, he became everyone's hero over night. People who didn't even know him would walk up to him and say, "Way to stick it to the bitch Mr. X!" It was classic, and maybe you had to be there to truly appreciate it, but it was one for the ages.

    Oh, and what does he do now? He runs a nuclear power plant. I guess Rickover's loss was the power industry's gain.

  4. #589
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    That's great!

    MORE!!!!
    Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

    Abusing Yellow is meant to be a labor of love, not something you sell to the highest bidder.

  5. #590
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    Bravo Zulu, Captain.

    As for square pegs in round holes...

    I had a room mate in the BOQ in Infantry Officer Basic Course. Dennis was one of the smartest guys I ever met. His educational background was unique. He got a BS in molecular biology...because he thought it would be fun to study. He then enlisted in the Army...and became a SF commo sergeant. He did not reenlist at his 8th year...instead he got out and went back top scholl to study....molecular biology. Got his MS....and then joins the Army with the college option to go to OCS after Basic Training (yes, he had to go back through basic...this was 1980). The Army in its infinite wisdon has a guy with an MS in Molecular Biology and had been an SF commo sergeant in his previous life, decides this guy would make a perfect.....Infantry Second Lieutenant...at age 34 (he made it under the wire by 3 months of being too old).

    And where do they assign him? 2/4 Infantry...whose job was to provide physicam security for the Pershing Missile units in USAREUR.

    He was stationed near me so I saw him from time to time over the 3 years we were in Germany. We ended up back at FT Benning for the 7 month Infantry Officer Advanced Course. I got sent to FT Stewart and the 24th Infantry Division. He got sent to.....Sand Hill and the Infantry Training Brigade where he became the S3 and company commander for a basic training company. He did his 20, retired as a major and then....got his PhD in molecular biology.

    He is a biology teacher at small college.

    One of the nicest and easily the smartest guy I knew. He should have been in the Medical Service Corps or Chemical Corps (Bugs & Gas) where he would have been a Colonel or BG.

    Waste of a good officer.

    Side Note: The US Army Officer Personnel Management System sucked. As an Infantry officer in the 1980s my name was one of almost 8,000 which were managed at Military Personnel Center (MILPERCEN) in DC. I was a name in a giant cauldron. Basically my wishes and desires were fed to the personnel dragon and spit out an assignment based on needs and very little to do with my desires. As I rose in rank it got a little better.

    But you know when the assignments officer calls you and is all buddy-buddy you are screwed. When I was leaving company command the Infantry Captains Assignments Officer calls me up and says "John, I have the perfect assignment for you!" First off, only my mother, sister and brotehrs call me by real name. So I knew I was screwed. He then says " How would you like to command another company?" I was like HELL YEAH!!! His next words turned my joy to fear and my blood to icewater..."You're from Boston, right?" OH SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!OH SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And then he says the dreaded words...."Which one of 3 recruiting companies do you want to command in the metro Boston area?" That was, and remains, the WORST job in the Army for a combat arms officer. You career survival is totally in the hands teenagers and parents who want nothing to do with you. Guys were crashing and burning left and right at that time for not making quota. I asked him if I could think about it for a few days.

    He was changing command in 3 days and heading to division staff.

    I thought back on the jobs I had enjoyed the most in the Army besides the obvious. I did enjoy being support platoon leader and S4. I also knew I had been a good commander but not a great one so I was not going to command an Infantry battalion. And as an Infantry officer not on command track that means you are never assigned back to troop units again.

    So I filled out my paperwork and 2 days later dropped my branch transfer to Quartermaster Corps letter for endorsement on my battalion commander's desk. He was shocked and I explained my rationale. He reluctanlty signed the letter, I submitted my packet and called that assignments officer back and told him no. He got all pissy and said it didn't matter...he was going to just assign me where he wanted. Then I dropped my trump card. Boy, was that a turd in punch bowl!

    2 weeks later I get a call at my desk where a woman says "Please hold for the Chief of the Branch." A couple of seconds later a voice I recognized came on the line and said....is this the Buck Buchanan who was in XYZ Infantry in Germany? Yes sir I replied. He said this is COL ZYX! He had been the support battalion commander when I was a support platoon leader. We had hit it off well back then and he explained that in QM Corps they took better care of their officers. I think the QM officer corps was around 600 total Army wide (most QM were/are in Army Reserve).

    And that is how I became a Log Puke!
    “We had been hopelessly labouring to plough waste lands; to make nationality grow in a place full of the certainty of God… Among the tribes our creed could be only like the desert grass – a beautiful swift seeming of spring; which, after a day’s heat, fell dusty.”
    ― T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph

  6. #591
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigross86 View Post
    Awesome story! This October will be 40 years since the Yom Kippur War, and I'm really looking forward to a whole bunch of all the cool articles, TV shows, interviews, etc that will be coming out....
    See if you can get some stories on Indian Army officers who were part of the war -...how you would ask!!
    I met a retired InA officer from the Parachute Regiment, who told me that they (he and some other InA Para officers) were attending a course in Israel in 1973, when the war broke out. So all courses of instruction were cancelled and the instructors joined their units, these InA officers had nothing to do, so they too asked to be attached to some Israeli units and took part in the war.

    On return, these officers were "court-martialed", they had adverse entries in their records and never made it above the rank of Major. The problem was that India had covert relations with Israel, and overtly we were friends of the Arabs (for the Kashmir vote at the UN), and it would be very difficult for India to explain the presence of InA officers in an Israeli unit if they happened to get killed or captured by the Arabs.

    Cheers!...on the rocks!!

  7. #592
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    OK, as promised over there in Redoktoberlandia, I have a pretty good sea story to tell, and as sea stories must always start with “this is no shit,” trust me, this really is no shit.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I was on that engineering inspection team, and we basically flew all around the Pacific Rim inspecting ships. We had to do one in the Philippines. This was before Mr. Penatubo blew up and they voted to throw us out, but not by more than a couple of months. So anyway, we flew commercial to Narita International in Japan, and then were driven across to NAS Atsugi where we climbed aboard one of these for the 1500 miles over mostly open ocean during Typhoon season trip. No Typhoons this trip although we flew through one going back the other way.



    Regardless, along with us five seasoned travelers; one Captain and four Lieutenant Commanders, was a brand new Navy doctor and his brand new Navy wife. The flight was pretty uneventful but as we are approaching NAS Cubi Point, RP, the crew chief comes back and says, “Sirs, the pilot would like to put it in the break for practice. Is that OK with ya’ll.” To which my boss said, “Sure!” What putting it in the break means is a maneuver that aircraft perform when getting ready to land. They make a low level pass down the port side of the ship so that the Air Boss can eyeball them to make sure there aren’t any material issues, like a hanging bomb, or something else like that. Once they make that pass they do a snap turn to port, going nearly inverted and come back around to land (with a second snap turn).

    So anyway, as soon as he passes the word I stood up and walked over to the brand new Navy doctor and told him, “Watch what I do here and then do it for your wife.” What I did was lock in his shoulder restraints, which we wouldn’t normally fly with unless doing a cat shot or an arrested landing. I showed him how to do it, and as she’s going from white to green in terms of her pallor, he manages to lock her in. I then said, “Relax, it’s an E-ticket but it doesn’t last long.” Now they’re both looking at me like I’ve just read a death sentence and no sooner do I have my own restraints in than the first turn occurs . . . and she’s screaming like all the banshees of hell!!! With the second one she blows chunks . . . and now she’s calling him an asshole for dragging her to the freaking third world and all this other stuff, and I’m sorry but we were just rolling on the floor. Oh, and did I tell you that carrier pilots don’t grease a landing like an Air Force guy? No, they slam that puppy down just as if they are going to catch a wire. More screams and invective.

    In the following months I often wondered what went down when the freaking volcano exploded and buried the base. Something tells me that marriage didn’t last.

  8. #593
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    Quote Originally Posted by desertswo View Post
    In the following months I often wondered what went down when the freaking volcano exploded and buried the base. Something tells me that marriage didn’t last.
    Oh MAN! I can only imagine what she did...while covered in ash, I'm sure
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat ~ Theodore Roosevelt

  9. #594
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    Captain,

    I sure do like your stories!!

  10. #595
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    Oh MAN! I can only imagine what she did...while covered in ash, I'm sure
    We went back not long after the eruption because we had to do a JAG Manual investigation (roughly the military equivalent of a grand jury investigation to prefer charges) on USS San Bernardino (LST something or other with a flat bottom) which had evacuated families from the area. Problem was they neglected to put any Scott Foam in the air intakes for the ventilation system or the diesel blower intakes to protect them from the ash. "Ash" is really a misnomer, because it's nothing but crushed glass for all intents and purposes, and if it gets wet, it turns to concrete. Long story short, the CO and his chief engineer were relieved for cause. You cannot imagine what crushed glass does to diesel cylinder liners, piston rings, and blower cams. It's pretty freaking ugly.

  11. #596
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    Crushed glass or crushed pumice. Ever seen it 16 feet deep around the Pampanga region? The stuff lingered in the towns for a decade and there are still large areas of lahar. Back in 2004 the drive from Clark to Subic entailed driving through a large area of lahar. There is now a highway connecting the two and no more driving through the lahar. I was in Manila during May '91 and then around Clark six months after Pinatubo. Constant throat and breathing issues during the 90's caused by the stuff being disturbed by traffic.

  12. #597
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    Crushed glass or crushed pumice. Ever seen it 16 feet deep around the Pampanga region? The stuff lingered in the towns for a decade and there are still large areas of lahar. Back in 2004 the drive from Clark to Subic entailed driving through a large area of lahar. There is now a highway connecting the two and no more driving through the lahar. I was in Manila during May '91 and then around Clark six months after Pinatubo. Constant throat and breathing issues during the 90's caused by the stuff being disturbed by traffic.
    I think the highest I saw it was maybe four to six feet, but it was sort of hard to tell if it had fallen that thickly, or bulldozers had piled it that high. What was far more telling were the collapsed roofs on a lot of the machine shops, etc., at SRF Subic. It was a mess.

    We went out in town on that trip and I don't think I've ever seen a more emotionally depressed place. Between the volcano and their Senate voting to show us the door (a decision now being regretted by many) people were just bereft of hope. I mean, one might not like what Olongapo was all about, but people at least ate. Now, just surviving was going to be a real issue for those folks.

  13. #598
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    I have been on the base at Subic and in the housing up on Crown Peak as late as 2002. The base is amazingly clean and neat as though the Navy were still there. Gordon took great care to protect the base after Pinatubo unlike Clark which was ravaged. The housing at Crown Peak was available to rent as a friend of mine had an apartment there. Subic had tough times but the place is bouncing back nicely now. Even Clark has bounced back with businesses, shopping mall a short distance from Checkpoint, airlines and so forth.

    Oh, the deep fields were a hike off the beaten path in Pampanga where you would see a cross sticking out of the ground. It was on top of a church steeple of which I have a picture taken in 1992 somewhere. I wouldn't exactly take those hikes again to sight see unless I was armed today.

  14. #599
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    Great stories.

    I remember an incident during a patrol in Helmand province.
    We was crossing an open area when our lead scout stepped on something which gave a high metallic click.

    All fell to the ground, but there were no explosion. It had to be some kind of UXO.
    He stood there with a fearful expression on his face while we pulled back to safety. Then our engineer went up to him to figure out what kind of explosive device he was standing on. After he had carefully removed a portion of the gravel, we could through our intercom hear him say: Fuck mate, know what you are standing on?

    A fucking empty pepsi can!

    One guy had to change his underwear after that.

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    During an exercise, we arrived at a forest edge where we found an area that was easy to defend. It was about two in the morning, so it was pitch black. We had some guys from a signal company attached to our unit and their task was to establish a radio link station.

    As we were in "hostile" territory, it meant that all use of light was ruled out.
    But according to these guys, it was no problem - they had done that many times before so they could do it with their eyes closed - according to themselves.

    But when they raised the hydraulic aerial, they had overlooked that just above were some high voltage wires. The aerial went straight up into the wires, creating a short circuit. It looked like New Year's Eve.

    On the other hand, all lights went out in the nearby village.

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