Thursday, December 30, 2004


Ol’ Boy, our faithful mechanic and chauffeur, is normally not what you would think of as a troublemaker. He generally doesn’t spend enough time awake to get into trouble in the first place, come to think of it. But this week he was drawing fire like Carolers in front of a Mosque.

It all started out innocently enough when Ol’ Boy went out and bought himself his very own radio-controlled model airplane. I should have known that letting Ol’ Boy use a powered ANYTHING without adult supervision was inviting disaster, but I was distracted filling out Department of the Army Form 3873-A, (Accounting for Expendable Supplies in a War Zone).

Ol’ Boy got off to a promising start by crashing his plane into the side of a Colonel’s Suburban, who took it with all the good grace you’d expect of an O-6 who hasn’t had a beer since he got here last March. After that, OB happened onto the idea of picking on something smaller than him, and started buzzing an unfortunate crow that happened to be sitting on post near our trailers. Denny was having a great time chasing the crow around, right up to the point where the crow gave out the secret crow distress signal, which brought about a dozen of his buddies into the fray, and they started whacking the plane around. With visions of his new toy spiraling into the ground in ignominious defeat, OB decided it was time to bring the plane home to Papa and put it up while it still had both wings.

It was that “home to Papa” thing that got him in trouble. When he flew the plane back to where he was, it was hotly pursued by almost a dozen very irate, homicidal crows who now had visual lock on OB. The best part was that OB had locked his trailer door, and had to stand on the step fumbling for keys while the crows were buzzing him. Now he’s pestering me for a Purple Heart, under the theory that he was injured fighting off Iraqi Insurgent Crows. Fat chance. If I don’t get one for all the paper cuts I’ve sustained in the line of duty, he ain’t getting one for losing a fight with a stupid bird.

OB is a quick study, though, and figured out that the crows would probably leave him alone at night. Now, true there was a problem with being able to see the plane at night, but he solved that little problem by strapping on a couple of chem-lights to the plane. When I first saw it, I thought they were the slowest darned tracers I’d ever seen, until I realized that not even Iraqi tracers do loops. Actually, it looked kind of Christmassy, what with a green chem.-light under the right wing, and a red one under the left wing. Filled with the spirit of the Season, I wandered off to the office to fill out some more forms, and left OB under the supervision of Wojo. In retrospect, perhaps not one of my better delegations of authority.

Somehow or other, OB’s little airplane had attracted the attention of the Supreme Plenipotent Command Sergeant Major that I had such a pleasant discussion with earlier. SGT Zebra roars up in his customized Chevy Suburban with Kojak lights flashing awy on the dash, and demands to know who the ranking person is at the scene. That would be Wojo, a person never noted for his fondness of Zebras, Plenipotent or otherwise.
SGT Zebra: “Who authorized this…this plane flying?!!”

Wojo: Good evening, Specialist Zebra. We weren’t aware that authorization was required.

SGT Zebra, sputtering: “Now see here, soldier, can’t you see my stripes in the dark?! I’ll have you know I’m a Command Impotent Major Sergeant, and you’ll treat me as such!:

Wojo: You got it, mac. Now what can we do for you?

SGT Zebra: First, you can stop flying that damned aircraft. It’s a hazard. It’s evil, wicked, mean and nasty. Good for nothing, bad in bed, and better off dead!

Wojo: Good grief, Corporal, I had no idea a model airplane was that dangerous! We shall forthwith cease and desist…uh, exactly what was it we were endangering again?

SGT Zebra: Damn it, man, I told you I’m a Imperial Sergeant Maximus, now get that straight. And speaking of rank, what rank are you? What’s that “US” thingy on your collar?

Wojo: Well, Sarge, that’s what CID Special Agents wear, in accordance, as I’m sure you’re aware, with AR 195-2.

SGT Zebra: CID! (Stepping back…) Say, you’re not one of those guys that walks around with loaded guns in the mess hall are you? Your guns not loaded is it?

Wojo: Why, yes, it is. Here, let me show…

SGT Zebra: Stop it! You’re threatening an endangered species! I’ll report you to …CID!

Wojo: Calm down, your Sergeantness. I’ll see that this miscreant is duly punished, and that his lethal model airplane stays parked. We’re all One Team over here, after all!

SGT Zebra: That’s more like it. He could have caused a helicopter to crash if it had hit that fool machine of his. We have lots of 10 ton helicopters flying at 20 feet over a billet area, after all.

Kids. You just can’t let them out of your sight for a minute. I now have OB’s toy locked up in my wall-locker, and he has to come get me to supervise him when he goes flying. I’d hate for the fighting 38th MP Det (CID) to get credit for downing one of our own choppers, after all.

Happy New Year, my Friends and Family! Never forget that you sleep safe at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on your behalf. (Tip of the pen to George Orwell….)


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