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Armed Forces

Is there any low life enlisted man who has not faced the anger, if not the rotten breath, of a hung-over sergeant with gusto but no justice in his soul?

Allen Watkins told me about one of his friends who tired of being the object of a scapegoat routine of a drunken lout of a leader. He opened the hood of the NCO’s car and while he had CQ duty one night and packed some tear gas into the intake manifold of the vehicle’s air-conditioning unit. Oh, did I mention that our hero was clearing post the next day? Some weeks later a friends’ letter explained the humorous news that the NCO spent two days in the base hospital.

Having been an Army grunt, I have never seen an aircraft carrier except in films or at a great distance. My old pal, a Navy vet name Gino the Engine King Chemist, tells me they are massive. I’m not sure how he knows as he was in submarines, except for the time he had a gaggle of Italian whores chase him through town for not paying his tab at the Eat’n’Hump. Anyway, Naker Phelge, another Navy man, says that some carriers show films or have live Bob Hope-type shows in the enclosed hanger decks.

“Do you have any idea how much volume of water is carried in the fire control/sprinkler system of these ships?”

His question was more than rhetorical as I had no idea, not even knowing the Navy had sprinkler system. He told me it was more a deluge system than a sprinkler. He refused to be specific as he still has a rating in our Imperial Emperor’s U.S. Navy, but he says some guys with a grudge against someone got high enough to build a strong and very hot heat source under the fire-control sensors on the hangar roof. They used propane torches. Within five minutes, the hangar was flooded.

The evening’s show was a washout in the true sense of the word. As a vet, I always liked Senator Joe Clark’s pungent observation that a leader should not get too far in front of his troops or “he might get shot in the ass.” On the other hand, I wondered about that when I read the graffiti that Edward Gein had written in the main restroom of the Bates Motel: “The alternative to getting old is depressing.”

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