I grew into manhood in the Sinai desert: 1977-1980. Missed out on Disco, but it was damn well worth it. What you may choose to read below is the first installment of a personal history I am determined to write about the men and women I had the honor to know, to love, to work and walk among, and to call ‘Friend’, as we all tried in our way, to bring peace between the Egyptians and the Israelis after the Yom Kippur War of 1973.
The conditions were harsh; the boredom at times mind-numbing. Seventy-five percent of us were under thirty. Most of us were Texans. We were not actually building anything see-able, tangible, touchable: we were, in fact, civilian ‘Paid Political Hostages,’ not construction contractors, not U.S. military Special Forces, but we ended up building something immensely more important than bricks and mortar: The Camp David Accords—Peace between two enemies who had not known peace since before Moses was a pup. Some of us who spent too many years there, went slowly and surely insane…
NO BARE FEET BEYOND THIS POINT
And just as I was getting to know a friend I had so easily cast away, so many moons ago…you leave me here alone with my Blog and my memories of SFM (Yeah, during a nostalgic moment, I bought that Weinstein Movie— what an ass he was–had I not been on RR when he filmed…I would have told him some shit)
NEWay…. so glad you turned to to a man I remember from my misspent youth.
Bart and Maryann..wow! I would never have remembered them.
Well, I think we were all assholes. And misfits. It was pretty much what we all had in common. I just remember you as being one of the few who was smart enough to just shut up and smile at all the absurdities (I’m still trying to master that) and much to mine and everyone else’s benefit, you’ve retained, and relay those absurdities beautifully. Thank you sir, and keep up the good work.
I swerved into Bernadette sometime in The Late Eighties when I was between SEAL gigs….
You know what Carey? Now that you are the person I had hoped you were…
I can say this about you:
I admired you.
You had talent.
Now, if you knew me back in my latter daze at SFM, you might also recall that I was truly insane those last months and was a perfect asshole, and had no friends there save for Bart Armstrong and Mary Ann Gunnin…
No problem Lance! We shared a very improbable, ridiculous, and wonderful experience.
maa alsalamah my friend!
Foggy on a lot of that, but the ships cook’s brother was Royce Loftin. Course, the cook himself was Berne Loftin, or as Lilly Garfinkel used to call him “Rabbi”. He had “HOLD FAST” tattooed on his knuckles, and the name of every ship he had ever served on tattooed on the rest of his body. Part of my duty was that I had to give him his haircut (white sidewalls) once a week. If I remember correctly, cook had a picture of LBJ behind the chow line. The guy who ran the kitchen was Ace Jenkins, big old surly jarhead (who was actually a pretty good guy). The house band when I was there was the Sisco Ducks. I know cos I played guitar, and my crazy ass buddy sang and jumped around and basically acted like he should be institutionalized. Rocket Tom still lives in Greenville I think. unfortunately, JR MOGG (Wes Martin) died of a heart attack awhile back. Wait, did Bernadette run the BX?? Always had a thing for Bernadette, as did most of the guys out there.
I know you now. Carey, I am so sorry for giving such a ration of shit. Please accept my very humble apology.
“What’s that word? I think I’m eccentric… call me a liar, call me a writer…believe me or not.”
“That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.”
You know what? Now I do think I remember you and if you are the guy I think I remember, I must apologize, I get lots of shit from people who claim to have been Navy SEALs, etc…
One last question and you should know this easy:
What was the name of the ‘House Band’ at SFM?
Do you know the town where I was born? Did you grow to become a Physician?
Who ran the dispatch for Facilities Maintenance. i.e. who assigned the drivers their routes? And was she female (how easy is that one?) Where was she from.. and what was her name? Who was the Project Manager for most of the time ‘we’ were there” Which construction company actually built SFM
What photos did “Ship’s Cook” have hanging behind the serving line of the chow line?
Who was Ship’s Cook? Did he have any relatives at SFM? Was he normal?
I was the long haired kid who played guitar really loud………all the time…….night and day. Pissed everybody off.
Damn, you got me on that one. I remember Becky (Cold Duck) was the barber for awhile, but can’t remember the gal that ran the BX. Here’s one you probably haven’t though of in awhile. Remember Black Bart, the driver that got shit canned for hosing out the inside of his vehicle?
Carey, I must apologize, but for the life of me… I just do not remember, but then, I did a lot of hashish when I was in Egypt. Just saying…
But seriously, you have all the right answers… and know all the right names. Do you happen to recall who ran the BX at SFM??
Hint: She was a she.
If you can name her or describe her, I will continue to get to know you (if you want)
If I remember correctly, we shared a common “porch” for awhile. I roomed with Kevin Ferguson and later with George Robb (not sure I’m really supposed to be naming names, but….). I got out there about Jan. of 79 and would have been working in the galley with the Ships Cook when you were there. I myself am an old Greenville boy and knew these guys well before and after.
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Pardon my incredulity, but…
You claim to know…
I was at SFM from ’77 until ’80,’
Don’t remember you (but then, I do not remember a lot. So, you may be forgiven)
Tell me true.
Mad Annie (See? This is the Very First-Est Time I have called you by your full / Christian name–just a pointless point)
I love you (Blog love you)
Don’t wanna be without you!
(Okay; the last was ‘over-the-top’–even for me…)
You paint a picture with words, my friend. I can see it in my mind… and am laughing my ass off ‘listening’ to Mog. (I know…don’t encourage him, right?)
I can vouch for Mr. Marcom’s veracity. I knew everyone of these bat-shit crazy sons of bitches. (You didn’t want to cut your feet up) Top of the day to you Mr. Marcom!
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mmmmmmmmmm those are best!
True about Fate.
Cognizant? I need to work on that. Sometimes I cannot recall what I had for supper the night before, but I can remember little stupid things I said thirty years ago…. Things that make you go “Hmmmm”
Being cognizant helps . . interesting to think about this time in history. Was almost sent over there myself in 1992. Chose college Lance … sometimes you have no choice with fate Love
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Absolutely. (Great song that one)
Thank you for reading this rather long one. Time is valuable and I appreciate yours.
Love is a battle field … see you already know this Lance. Great read here
You are most welcome !
Thank you My Good Friend.
I appreciate that, and thanks very much for reading and commenting.
What a descriptive tale teller you are, Lance !
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Oh, of course not. I figgered you were just doin’ research.
That helped, sort a.
I’m ….no expert either.
Never touched the stuff 😉
Thank you for reading this long one and thanks for the kind thoughts. I’m no expert on hash, (I should be since we did smoke ALOT of it), but it is much more concentrated than what we were all used to in the States. But, we all got to missing good old fashioned pot–could not get it over there.
“unmitter-grated gall” love it.
Your recollections are so vivid, you’re a talent.
Exactly, how is hash differnt from the cat shit they sell in the states?
No offense to cats.
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I’m commenting here, and I’m a moron, because I’m not sure if my comments to you are posting correctly. Weird. That’s me. Weird.
I have ’em all. But I am a moron.
Of course I will. Love ’em!
listy to Lenny
Methinks you’ve built up a wee bit of intoxicants in your blood stream. You lucky devil, you!
it is all bulldshit
We billt it
I will. WHILE I’m eating a 6 month old Christian infant!
listen to lenny
No problemo, senior!
Well, that’s what you do as an atheist. Me, I cannibalize Christian babies, thank you very much!
I will continue writing of SFM. There is a lot there to sort.
Thank you for your interest.
I’ve also downloaded and will read the pdf attachments you have here. I know next to nothing about this and I’m ashamed to say so. It’s something I mean to rectify.
And thank you for reading.
I am gonna get drunk now and eat some unborn chile
This is what atheists do, nes’ce-pas?
I will be reading much more of your work here, my friend. Excellent writing style, and I will learn a great deal here. Thanks for writing this.
I’d like to think so too. And it was a pleasure. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you Vic for that compliment. And thanks very much for reading this rather long piece. Your time is appreciated. As far as the romances of Big Mo, Mog, Big Mammu et al; I think everyone lived happily ever after. Hehehe
Beautiful writing style, reminiscent of someone… can’t quite put my finger on it, but will get back to you on that as soon as I remember the name. The piece is very atmospheric. I certainly got the feel that I was there with you, making the crossings, learning to distinguish between the best tobacco to be found and freezing in wait for the donkey to get back up from the ground. I do hope that Mog and Big Mammu ended up together 🙂
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Happy Saturday to you too. I really do like your spunk and details in your writing and the accents you use in your voices. Keep letting me know what you think, please. I just published another two.
That was the first time in my life I could afford to drink imported beer. Is that sad or what? Thanks for your comment and feedback. Happy Saturday to you!
You’re writing is so colorful. I feel like I’m right there. I like how you tell exactly what beers and give so much detail.
Maybe it is stories from that region and the out of towners whom pursue/endure it that I enjoy. Either way your stories keep me entertained.
Thanks so much for your comment. Actually, (and I can see how you would assume this, as I did not really make it clear) this was a completely civilian mission, no U.S. Military at all, run by the U.S. State Department.
I wasn’t military until 1985 when I enlisted in the Navy. There were approximately 180 Americans working at SFM, thirty or so were women. Also in the U.N. Buffer Zone were hundreds of UNEF forces, most of them from Ghana. They provided some security, but did not live on SFM with us. They had their own bases in the Sinai.
Thank you for reading! I appreciate it.
Tracey, you know I’m joking. Pure Texan: me. Thanks for the comment. Appreciate it!
Military stories are probably my very favorite type of memoir. I have read them all. Generation kill, the economic hitman… I watched restrepo and band of brothers like a real fan girl.
I am Michigan; Don’t know what you mean, Lady.
Loved the trash-talk, so Texan