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When I Was In The Military... Tell Me Some Cool Stories

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Torren61, Nov 16, 2020.

  1. tomkatf

    tomkatf Tele-Afflicted

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    Koza baby!!! :p
     
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  2. Bob Mc

    Bob Mc Friend of Leo's

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    Wow! And my Dad served with Kennedy and was on base when he was killed.
     
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  3. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Doctor of Teleocity

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    Love these stories, and wish I'd recorded more of my father's who did two hitches in the Army, late 50s/early 60s.

    I know he was mobilized during the Cuban missile crisis (probably the majority of the military was).

    He did most of his time in Germany, though he always referred to it as Europe.
    He was assigned to the same barracks there that Elvis had earlier occupied.

    In his spare time he sorted through great mounds of scrap that was still there, left over from the war, for bicycles and parts to restore them, then sold them to be incoming G.I.s.

    He played upright bass in the club with every thrown-together soldier band on base. I never heard him play a note in my life though.

    I never met my dad until I was three years old.
     
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  4. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    a certain amount of my military career is summed up in this brief film clip:


     
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  5. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Friend of Leo's

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    Back when I was a junior Army aviator, we used to land the helicopters at a grassy field near Fort Hood Army Airfield (they called it The Mini-Port), and it was there that we would get our hot gas before terminating the flight or mission at the main airfield.

    There were like a dozen or more concrete pads strung out from north to south, and the fuel hoses were set up nicely next to each pad. The pads that were 'open for business' had the fuel hose and nozzle set up on a grounding stake, and the closed pads had beanbag lights blocking the middle of the pad.) The drill was, you landed to the west of the pads, hovered into whichever active pad was unoccupied, landed, throttled down to idle, and then got out and pumped your own gas. (Jet Fuel, or JP-4)

    (The POL girls would eventually come along with the clipboard for you to log your fuel gallons, tail number, and signature. Otherwise, they did nothing to assist you in refueling your aircraft.)

    If you had two guys in the OH-58, the right-seater always got out to pump the gas, and the left-seater held the controls. Even if he was a 19D Enlisted Observer. (I think this was because you wanted somebody in the seat furthest away from the possibility of a refuel fire, and the fuel cap was on the right side.)

    One time I flew in there single-pilot after dropping my Platoon Leader off at the main airfield. (He had to get to a meeting or something, and I told him I would just go top the aircraft off by myself. We didn't have written mission briefings back then, so his verbal authorization was law, and your word was your bond.) This was in the spring of 1980, I reckon.

    On this particular day, I was the only customer, so I got to pick my refuel pad. I chose the one all the way to the right, and there were four more pads open and available to my left. I hovered in, throttled down to idle, set the frictions, snapped the strap over the collective, and turned the force trim on. Got out, grounded the aircraft, lowered the clear visor on my flight helmet, wrestled the hose over to the aircraft, plugged it in, and started refueling.

    My empty helicopter sat there with nobody at the controls, with rotors turning, and me standing off to the right waiting for the fatigues-clad POL gals to come out with the clipboard.

    I grinned to myself. It was a sunny Friday afternoon, I had enjoyed a good day of flying, and here I was a 20 year old Pilot In Command of my own helicopter.
    I patted the sheet metal of my OH-58A with affection, and waited for the little red button to pop out to tell me when the tank was full.

    Just then, a rather large and noisy Huey (UH-1H Iroquois) landed 50 meters off to my west, and began hovering in toward the refuel pad immediately next to mine.

    I thought to myself, "What the hell? Why doesn't he refuel that thing on the far left pad? He's going blow me over if he doesn't watch what he's doing!"

    Bigger than ****, the Huey turned out to be heavily loaded. The back doors were secured open, and I could see that all the troop seats were full of soldiers, ruck-sacks, and weapons. As he hovered in closer and closer to the pad, the wind blast from his rotor wash became fierce.
    My helicopter began to shudder and buffet.
    I panicked.

    I ran to the open door frame, and threw myself across the seats.
    I brought the full weight of my body to bear, and pressed myself down onto the seat frames. I secured the cyclic-centered with my right arm, and held on tight.
    I weighed about 160 pounds soaking wet at the time, and so my still-running, rotors-turning helicopter with me leaning into it probably weighed right around 2,000 pounds.

    The heavily-loaded UH-1H, hovering in next to me with a full compliment of troops, weighed about 8,200 pounds. It was no contest.

    As the full force of the noise and rotor downwash hit me, my Kiowa began shuddering and skidding sideways to the right. I had one foot on the concrete pad and one foot near the skid tube. I tried to dig the toe of my boot in, and stop the helicopter from sliding off the pad, but it was no use. The empty sheet metal of my aircraft acted like a ship’s sail, and so we slid and skittered one foot, two feet, three feet, and the finally the right skid slid totally off the concrete pad!

    *crash* went the skid, dropping five inches onto the gravel surface below the pad, nearly trapping my foot beneath it. Luckily, the skid landed on a section of fuel hose, so my toes were spared.
    The Huey finally landed, and went to idle. The noise and wind blast died down.

    I climbed out of the door frame, shook off the grass and grit and pieces of gravel, and walked around to the front of my Kiowa to survey the situation. The ship had tried to weather-vane and was yawed several degrees to the left. I had one skid up on the concrete, one skid on the ground, and my rotors-turning helicopter was idling away at about an 8 degree side-slope. I had suffered no mast-bumping, thank God.
    The engine was still running, and the rotors were turning along happily.

    I glared in the general direction of the Huey, and noticed that, as the Infantrymen disembarked to the marshalling area, the pilots in the front seat were looking away from me and staring off in another direction. Their crew chief was hooking up the fuel hose, and busying himself with a close examination of the Huey’s sheet metal and rivets.

    ****ing jerks finally realized what they almost did to me, and they were embarrassed.

    The POL girl finally came around, and I signed her clipboard.
    I assisted her in unhooking the fuel nozzle, and securing the hose onto the ground. (It wouldn’t hang back up on the grounding stake because a good portion of the hose was under my skid.) I cautioned her not to turn off the main fuel pressure lever upstream, because that would worsen my side-slope. She nodded thru the noise of my engine and rotors.

    I climbed back into the pilot’s seat, and secured my seat belts and shoulder harness.
    The POL girl disconnected the grounding wire, and started to walk away.
    I motioned for her to come back to me.
    I glanced over to my left, and surveyed the scene over at the UH-1H.
    The passengers were in the marshalling area, smoking and joking.
    The pilots up front were purposely not looking my way, and the crew chief was nearly done refueling.

    I grabbed the clipboard from the POL gal, and began filling out the next line on the refuel manifest for them. I entered the current date and time, and transcribed the tail number of the Huey from their vertical fin onto the log. The Huey had the yellow horse head emblem on it, so under “Organization”, I wrote 1st Cav. I left the fuel gallons block empty.
    And in the Huey’s signature block, I carefully wrote, “A$$hole who almost blew-over an OH-58 today!!”
    The POL girl grinned, and slowly shook her head.
    “You crazy,” she shouted over my helicopter noise.

    I yelled into her ear, “You hand the Huey pilot that clipboard for me, have him fill in the fuel gallons he took on, and tell them I said HAVE A NICE DAY!!”

    She nodded, and walked away in the general direction of the UH-1H.
    I throttled up to 354 rotor RPM, made my radio calls, executed a very nice slope-takeoff to a hover. Back-taxied, and made my departure.

    A minute later I was on short-final to the 7/17th Cav parking, and hovering in to land on the PSP parking pad. It was almost five p.m. on a Friday afternoon, and I was the last aircraft out. I called down with Yellowscarf Operations on FM. I heard the UH-1H making his radio call on Tower VHF for departure from the Mini-Port. The pilot then requested permission to use the frequency.
    ATC granted him permission.

    “Uh, OH-58, this is the UH-1 that was next to you over here at hot gas.”
    I responded. “Yeah?”
    “Uh. We’re sure sorry about that.”
    “It’s ok. Just give the little ones more elbow room next time.”
    “OK, will do. Have a nice weekend then.”
    “Yeah. You too.”
    I laughed, and shook my head.

    I shut down the helicopter and then laughed some more.

    Crew Chief leaned in the doorway and said, “You crazy. What you laughing about?”
    I said, “You got any beer in the crew chief’s hooch?”
    “Yes. Of course.”
    “Let’s tie this thing down, and then I’ll tell you about it over some beers then, okay?"
    “It’s a deal.”
    :)

    hood army airfield.PNG
     
  6. Torren61

    Torren61 Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    My father was an Air Force security policeman during the Cuban missile crisis. He guarded B-52 bombers. I painted B-52 bombers when I was in the Air Force. Considering their age, it is almost certain that I painted some of the same planes that he guarded.

    He was stationed in Morocco (I don't know if that's where he guarded B-52s). One evening, he was on guard duty on a gate. He was chillin' and heard a commotion in the distance. The sound got closer and he heard someone screaming to "OPEN THE GATE! OPEN THE GATE!!!" It turned out that a US serviceman truck driver was driving his truck and had accidentally run over and killed a civilian. A crowd of locals were intent on exacting justice which would have meant death for this man. Right, wrong or whatever, my father opened the gate and the serviceman was inside the perimeter. Backup was summoned but it was a wait until they arrived. The crowd had a man who spoke broken English and a message was delivered that either the serviceman was handed over or the perimeter was going to be breached and anyone at that location would be dispatched. My father stood his ground and informed the crowd that the first person on the fence would be shot.

    The calvary arrived after a tense few minutes. The area was secured. The serviceman was ushered to an awaiting aircraft and flown out of country immediately without collecting any personal effects.

    When the Cuban missile crisis was going down, my father had to find everyone who had not reported to their stations. Some were found hiding in lockers. I don't know that I blame them...
     
  7. lil scotty

    lil scotty Tele-Meister

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    In 1989 I was stationed at Travis AFB in CA, about 50 miles from S.F. My next duty station was Clark AFB, Philippines, 90-91. What makes those two times and places remarkable?
     
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  8. saleake

    saleake Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I was a fuel specialist in the USAF, working night shift at Scott AFB which was MAC headquarters. In the 70’s, we let our hair grow long and hid it under watch caps during the winter. One winter night I got called out to fuel a T-39 at 2:00 am. The plane had US Senator Strom Thurmond in board. The base commander and wing commander were both there waiting for him on the flight line.

    He didn’t land until 4:30, and by that time, everyone was cold and mad. Senator Thurmond never got off the plane. When I took the fuel nozzle to the crew chief, my parka hood blew off and took my watch cap and my hair flew all over the place.

    I found myself in the office of my first sergeant the next morning. Thirty minutes after that I had a brand new regulation haircut.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2020
  9. Milspec

    Milspec Poster Extraordinaire

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    Just so many to choose from....

    My unit was deployed above the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway. Many of us were not great skiiers, but our column was on cross-country skiis moving along a path in the treeline late in the evening. We sent a guy who was a former pro skiier from Colorado to scout the path ahead. Me and the CO watched him ski off ahead about 100 yards, scream, and then a big wooly thing just lunged into him taking him down the slope. We just looked at each other with our mouths open asking each other WTF just happened?

    Our scout was still yelling and claiming that it was trying to eat him! My CO calmly turned to the column and ordered 4 Marines to ski ahead to rescue our scout, telling them that some Sasquatch is trying to eat the guy. The rescue team had no idea what we saw and just looked really nervous skiing past us while the scout was still yelling down the slope.

    Turned out to be a female moose that was protecting its offspring which happened to be lying near the path. No major injuries, but led to a very tense night moving through the trees.

    -------------------

    I shared a space in Afghanistan with a weired dude from Vermont. He spent his nights reading Satanic books and laughing out loud...not really the guy you want to be around, but he was one hell of a fighter. One day I caught him coming back from the chow line looking really depressed. Depression is one of those things that can kill as easily as any bullet, so weirdo and all, I decided to talk with him.

    His name was Kevin, I called him over to me and asked what was on his mind expecting a bad letter from home or something. He just looked at me and replied "I hate this place, I can find goats, but never a virgin". I just let him walk right on past me after that.
     
  10. Milspec

    Milspec Poster Extraordinaire

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    Aren't those moments priceless?

    While at MCRD in '86, we had a Junior DI who was a sniper and really saw himself as the ultimate Marine. One day he took the platoon on a beach run for 8 miles. We had to run in the churned up soft sand while the DI ran on the harder packed stuff. He blazed a fast pace and never looked behind him until he reached the hard deck 8 miles later. When he turned around to admire his handy work of a bunch of recruits gassed miles behind him, he saw me right on his hip. The look on his face was pure confusion and he kept looking around trying to find an explaination. I was a tall lanky kid of barely 18, but I had already completed my first marathon prior to leaving for Basic. That 8 miles was nothing. He always looked at me like he was still trying to understand what happened all the way up to graduation.
     
  11. Dano-caster

    Dano-caster Tele-Meister

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    Uhm lets see... earthquake Pinatubo...
     
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  12. Dano-caster

    Dano-caster Tele-Meister

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    By the way I loved Clark.Passed through there a few times.Best B.X. in SEA.
     
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  13. lil scotty

    lil scotty Tele-Meister

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    You got it. Born under a bad sign?
     
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  14. lil scotty

    lil scotty Tele-Meister

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    I bought the first Black Crowes record at that BX after reading a review in Rolling Stone. One of my favorite bands ever.
     
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  15. Torren61

    Torren61 Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Goddang I wish I was you...
     
  16. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Friend of Leo's

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    Ha, a curse like that I wouldn't wish on anybody!!

    :oops:
     
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  17. Lonn

    Lonn Friend of Leo's

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    I was active duty USAF Intelligence 1981-2002. I can't tell my best stories for another 55 years because I signed papers saying I couldn't talk/write about some of the things we did for 75 years. Mostly years and years of watching with short bursts of "getting things done". It's not nearly as 007 as that sounds lol, but I'm proud of my time served.
     
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  18. telleutelleme

    telleutelleme Telefied Silver Supporter

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    While TDY to France in 1966 and after qualification our crew was picked to be the Berlin Corridor check crew. Other pilots and navigators would fly along and be instructed on the routes and approaches to Templehof; which could get exciting if the Russians Migs decided to fly alongside. On one flight we also carried a WAF nurse on a long weekend off in Berlin. She was sitting on the flight deck near the navigator's station. As we landed my A/C was told to taxi over to a particular hangar for our return cargo. The cargo was hundreds of maintenance racks and he knew the crew would probably have to help if there was no locals (and they always disappeared). He looked at the cargo and said (Oh $%#^, John look at all the %%%^&*^% racks). Without missing a beat the Navigator says "JJ please watch your language the lady is on the headset". I was standing to the left of her and could see she wasn't wearing a headset. JJ wore a red bandana on his head to keep the headsets from scratching his bald head and you could see his head changing color to match the bandana. Without turning to look at her he apologized for his foul language. The navigator in his best female voice said "Oh my Captain, that kind of language makes me so hot". JJ turned saw what was going on and let out a stream of curses at the navigator and we were all howling. The nurse tapped me and I removed my headset. She asked what was everyone laughing at. I mumbled something about him talking about an old flight story and then I started laughing even more. The rest of the trip was at the expense of my lifelong friend and mentor Col. JJ Smith who passed in 2009.
     
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  19. RollingBender

    RollingBender Tele-Afflicted Vendor Member

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    Never was in the service...I got this in the mail at work yesterday.
    14A7AB1A-E6F5-4D9D-98F5-58EC29E3B509.jpeg
     
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  20. Dynaman

    Dynaman TDPRI Member

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    The HMAS Sydney was a light cruiser operating during WW2. It left Perth in 1941 and was never seen again (until the wreck was found in 2008). A German ship disguised as a freighter was allowed to come right up to it, where it opened fire and sunk the HMAS Sudney with the loss of all crew members.
    Mu uncle was on the HMAS Sydney however he was transferred off it just before it left Perth. He lived a long life.
     
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