Thursday, November 11, 2010

Doubts: A War Story

A War Story: I served in the Air Force 1971-1973, mostly in Texas fixing airplanes. Each spring we had a "War Readiness Exercise". The goal was for the brass to determine how long it took us grunts to get ready for war.

It began before dawn on an unknown day. We would get a phone call  from the shop chief ordering us to report to the shop immediately. Points counted off if we were shaved. Everyone was to bring a dufflebag packed with clothes. We were to pack all our tools and equipment and line up in the flightline ready to board an airplane… Presumably to take us to war. The old hands said that sometimes they actually made people board the airplane and take off. I never did.

After we were lined up an inspector would go down the line and spot check our materials to insure that we were indeed ready for war. He would walk down the line, and select a person to check. The inspector, A bright young Captain, stopped in front of me. First he asked to see my tools list. He moved his finger down the list until he saw "Electric Scissors" then asked to see mine.

I pulled out my "electronic Scissors" (extra heavy duty scissors for cutting wire). Unknown to the captain was the fact that the computer print out truncated the word electronic by leaving out the "on" leaving "electric". (Honest guys, I wouldn't pull your leg.)

The captain and I were about the same age: 25 and we stood at the front of a large group of men watching our every move. He, not wishing to look a fool and me not wishing to offend. His face showed the realization that he was going to look bad no matter what. Either he was going to look a fool because I put one over on him, or he was going to look a fool by not knowing what electric scissors were.

As I explained the situation, the Captain shook his head but said nothing. As the silence dragged on, the man beside me chimed in "It's true captain"and he pulled out his tool list and his electronic scissors. Two or three others did the same. The captain walked away shaking his head and believing he had been had by a bunch of three stripers. I have often wondered if he asked to see anybody elses "electric scissors".

After the flightline inspection, we were deemed to be at our forward deployed base and had to fly war missions. Our planes took pictures of things. As a shop weenie all I had to do was to check out the cameras and controllers after the missions. This continues for three or four days until the brass is convinced we were ready for war. Then, everyone meets in the big hanger for a kegger and steaks.

No comments:

Post a Comment