Coffee Reward

During his final week of indoctrination Doc’s squad drew night guard duty. The first night of guard duty he drew an abandoned field filled with junked vehicle parts.

The Officer of the Day pulled up in his jeep, with him was the company officer. Doc was instructed to recite my first general order, to which he replied, “To take charge of this post and all government property in view.”

At this point he was praying that his quizzing was over, but it wasn’t.

“Son, what would you do if I came charging across that field, straight at you, with a fully loaded AK-47?” the company officer asked.

Doc’s response was less than a delight to the officers ears as he replied, “Sir, I’d call the Corporal of the Guard.”

“Now, what the hell would you do that for?” he barked.

Without blinking, Doc looked him square in the eye, answering, “Sir, to haul your dead-ass away…sir.”

The following day Doc was summoned to the platoon’s master sergeant’s office. He figured he was in trouble for having threatened to shoot the company officer.

Instead, Doc was surprised to be greeted by the man he had never seen smile, with a broad grin from ear to ear. He congratulated Doc on his outstanding response to the company officer’s question the night before and invited him to sit and have a cup of coffee.

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My Shorts

The wife says my pants are too long.
I tell her she’s got it all wrong.
My jeans are meant to be this way,
Come workin’ time or for play.

She says a shorter size I could fit,
And a smaller size I should get.
But I know they need come down
Over my boots an’ near the ground.

For longer legs I did dream
Of addin’ more to my inseam.
They drag along in the dust,
But drag along they must.

“It’s proper dress,” I say.
She just says, “No way!”
“For if they don’t,” I retorts,
“It’s jus’ like a-wearin’ shorts!”

Clothing Gap

In my short 20-years of living I had no idea how terrible a smell a refugee camp could smell. We were there as a part of the UN Peacekeeping Forces.

Privately, none of us were happy about being in the position we were in, we considered ourselves to be warriors not peace-niks. Eventually we would get to fight, but that is a different story.

Walking through this mass of people, rotting food, defecation and poor water supply, I was appalled at both the site and the odors that came from every inch of the place. I was tasked with medical aid.

Even though I had a large tent set up near the center of this camp, I was not seeing any of these people. They refused our assistance.

It took about two weeks for someone to suggest a change in our habits. Instead of wearing our Marine utilities, we got permission to turn out in jeans and sweat shirts.

Command airlifted our “new” uniforms via the Quarter Master. Many of us figure the QM believed we had lost our minds by requesting “civvies.”

The first day I put on my jeans and sweatshirt was also the day I was ordered to the pass. There I had to set up another medical tent and organize the supplies.

It was astonishing to see the hordes of people fleeing the war torn country behind them, looking for peace and safety. They trudged up the side of Safed Koh all day and all night to reach the flats jus’ beyond the gap in the mountainside.

This was no small feat as it’s over 3,500 feet. And the majority of these refuges packed everything they owned with them.

Still, not many stopped for medical assistance. It had to be something major, like a broken leg, that impeded the hike up to freedom.

In a case like that, I’d realign the bone to best of my ability, put the injured limb in a standard plaster cast and through an interpreter, instruct the patient to return if it continued to hurt, became swollen, infected or simply need to have the cast removed.

Not once did I see anyone for a return visit. Once they made it to the pass and had stocked up on enough supplies in the camp, they’d leave and not return.

Within a month, the Marines were moved of the mountain and into the valley. The Pakistani PCF took over the care of the incoming refugees and old rivalries and feuding sprang up. It became a sorrier situation than before.

But though it was on my mind, we didn’t have time to worry about this. Instead we were working out plans to win the Cold War by advising the Mujahideen in their war with the Soviets.

Inside the Third Dimension

Kay was sitting in the front room surfing the Internet with her new laptop. I was enjoying a cup of coffee, listening to the radio.

Suddenly she jumped up and disappeared down the hallway only to come rushing back a few seconds later. In her hand she had a pair of what appeared to be sunglasses.

Looking closer I realized they were the new-style 3-D glasses one purchases at the movies now days. By this time she had them on and had her computer back in her lap.

My curiosity was piqued and I had to ask, “What are you doing?”

“I’m watching the trailer for Toy Story one and two in 3-D,” she answered.

After studying her face for a few seconds to see if she were truly serious or pulling a practical joke on me, I asked her, “You do realize you can’t see a regular movie trailer in 3-D on your computer with those glasses, right?”

She looked at me over the rim of the glasses and responded with a question of her own, “You can’t?”

It was good thing my bladder wasn’t full; else wise I’d have pee’d myself from laughing so hard.

Miracle of Galaxy 203

It was the morning after Super Bowl XIX. The San Francisco 49ers had defeated the Miami Dolphins 38-16. The date was January 21, 1985.

It was about 1 a.m., when 17-year George Lamson was blown from Galaxy Airlines Flight 203, which had jus’ lifted off from the Reno-Cannon International Airport. The plane actually crashed one and half miles south of the runway near an RV lot, behind Meadowood Mall.

Somehow, Lamson, of Minnesota, landed upright in the middle of South Virginia Street. He was still strapped to his seat and of the 71 people on board, he was the only one to survive. His father George, Sr. was also killed in the crash.

Still I have nightmares of the twisted, stretched, mangled and destroyed bodys.

Coffee Mug from the Stumps

Generally, Twenty-nine Palms is referred to as “Twenty-nine Stumps,” by most Grunts stationed there, either temporarily or on permanent station. And it’s pretty true as there isn’t a palm tree anywhere to be seen for miles.

But this is an aside. This morning my son, Kyle was helping me move some stuff around when he found an old coffee mug from those days.

While sent there to do some stateside training, I was invited to a “lonely hearts club” of sorts called “The Single Marine Program.” I thought I was jus’ being polite by turning out for this new program.

You have to remember, this was years ago and I’m sure the program has improved drastically from when it first started. But back in those days, it’s organization left a lot to be desired.

Personally, I had no idea what to expect. But what I did find was a group of horny Jarheads swilling beer in the back room of the NCO club. Worse yet, there wasn’t a woman in sight.

Not even the cocktail waitresses were brave enough to walk through the room! And I can’t say as I blame them.

While I attended only two or maybe three times, I did get the plastic coffee mug out of having been there. Today it is cracked and brittle and I don’t think it would hold much of anything let alone hot, black coffee.

Thinking back on it, it’s kind of funny that a Marine Corps “drinking club” would hand out coffee cups as a gift for attending.