Don’t RUST On My Parade*

“Petty Officer Marcom! Your Fifty Cals are Rusty!”

50 Cal NavyA

U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Third Class Daniel J. Mark. Cleared for release by ALBG PAO, LCDR Jeff Bender.

Lance Sailor

Marco The Sailorman

I had to  admit. Yes they were. I had tried so hard to keep ahead of the rust, but here I found myself on the leeward side of the second half of a six-month, ‘round-the-whurl-West Pacific Deployment’, and somewhere just off the coast of Somalia.

Yes, rust was my enemy, certainly never my friend—the machine guns were always mounted while we (The USS Callaghan DDG 994, full cast and crew) were Haze-Gray and Underway.

Yes, always mounted and underway:

Haze-Graying, even then

And rusty

My Guns were always supposed to be… somewhere upon the sea… this is what they were purchased for…

And subject to rust. Rust Relentless. Relentless She Be: That Sea. That Salt of the Fucking Sea

Rust.

My Moby Dick-lessness! How could I not keep Rust off my guns?

Freud certainly would have had fun with me

(Sadly, now I know why)

************

My professional life was to be found somewhere rusting in those machine guns.

And that rust you see, that rust occupied a great deal of my daily routine.

The Navy had a solution though. She had provided canvas covers to cover those guns and make them safe from rust. Alas, those canvas covers had seen better days, probably back when Pearl Harbor was just an ordinary Naval Base that no one had ever heard of.

But rust is relentless and timeless.

While scrubbing the Indian Ocean rust off’n my fifty-cals one morning I hatched a plan. Knowing full well we were soon to pull into Mombasa Kenya, after so many month at sea, I conspired to save my money:

Once in Mombasa, I would smuggle one of the moth infected, salt- digested, jig saw’d, Swiss Cheese, ‘holy’ canvas shards off the ship. I would rent a taxi, find me a young child, show him my smuggled ‘prize’, ask him to direct me somewhere, where I could find and nickel and dime (I did not have much money then, not un-life-like now) find a leather shop in Mombasa, present to the leather-maker my Holy Canvas, My Shroud,  My Naval Career, and demand, (for US Dollars), that he make me four such more yet new and brand new.

And functional.

And This is exactly what I did, and to the amazement and astonishment of my Master Chief Petty Officer and my Department Head (almost a Navy Commander… he kind of looked like JFK, now that I think on it. I  did not like particularly like him, but I respected him. Hell, he reminded me of all the things I could have been if I had joined the Nav when I was twelve instead of twenty-eight (Different story. Sorry)

The next time they inspected my Fifty Cals, they were pristine! (They did not take notice nor time to notice that the canvas covers were not exactly Haze-Gray-Naval Gray. No, more like Third-World-Rustic, with just a tiny bit of water buffalo…left over…but Goddamn sure water and sea salt proof.   

And I was so desirous that they did NOT notice, but my Master Chief did notice, yet, never ever noticing nor voicing his ‘inner thoughts’ in front of what he referred to as “Shit Birds” — ‘Officers’ — Never let on.

Master Chief never, ever let out his truth thoughts in front of Shit – Birds. This was his genius. 

And I should have been cognizant of this, yet I was so somewhat giddy after my .50 Cals had finally passed inspection, that I did not stop to think on that anyone. “Not even Master Chief had seen through my ruse” Yeah, Rite!

 I was drunk with my own cleverness and lying back on my back in my rack, curtain drawn,  congratulating me.

(Now, you must realize how the Military Mind works. I was my Ship’s Armor All–Armorer– IN Charge of All The Ship’s Small Arms! .225 Cal to .50 Cal. If it took two men to lift, wasn’t mine. But one-man-band? Yep!  I was the shit!  I was a Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class! Freshly rocked out of SEAL Training (twice now, but who counts these sorts of thing? I suppose I do) and trying to retain what little was left of my  pride and my so-fifty-caliber-called-life.)

And I loved and Respected My Master Chief. Did not ever want to become an embarrassment to him, nor to my Fellow Gunner’s Mates who worked on the “Big Guns”. (Those ones what ‘bullets’ took two and a half-men to lift)

And even more important, (anyone who has ever ‘Served’ will know this), the Military is Run On Fear:

“Oh God, Please Don’t Let Me Fuck UP!”

That kind of fear.

Well, as I was lying on my back in my middle rack right before Taps with my little blue ‘privacy’ curtain drawn back when someone jerked that sucker back.

Along with my reverie.

Yep.

Master Chief Anderson!

MY MASTER CHIEF

“Son, tell me where you found those brand new gun covers.”

Trying to lie on my side and find an elbow to lean to, I half-coughed out, feigning sleepy-eyed ignorance,

“Master Chief, I had them made while we were in Mombasa.”

(There are people one may lie to in life, but, A Master Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy is not one found amongst those people. Not if one wishes life beyond that moment of sweet deception)

“I see”, was all he said, as he yanked my curtain back shut, thus leaving me alone with my various and sundry.

I did not sleep that night. For you see, I knew I had broken Naval Regs by doing something not-in-the Naval-Seaman’s-Bible–The Blue Book–The book, inches thick as a brick,  “The Book” I had been made to almost memorize while at Recruit Training Command, i.e. boot camp.

41XgCzuhSdL._AC_UL320_SR214,320_

I had broken the rule.

In the Nav, there is a sea sailor preamble, most requisite when one wants to recount a story of ‘when ships were made of wood and men were made of iron’… “When Moses was a pup” This validates and is a ritual never broken. In other words, one never breaks the rule.

Sometime mid-morning the next day, I was summoned to the berth/office of  The Department Head of my Division, Lt. Commander ‘Kennedy’.

Shitting bricks is too trite.

I was nervous.

I gave a hearty rap on the bulkhead door as I was trained to do in boot camp…

“Enter!”

“Petty Officer 3rd Class Marcom Sir!”

“I know who you are Lance; sit down.”

(What??? Lance??? Sit Down???)

Mouth agape I sat down, speechless

“Son, Master Chief Anderson tells me you went out on your own, designed, commissioned, smuggled off a prototype, and paid for, with your own money, those .50 Cal Gun Covers. Is this true?”

“Yes, uh, yessir,” I stammered.

“Well, that shows some fine initiative. How much did you pay Son?”

“Un Sir. Doesn’t matter…. I just, well, the .50 Cals, you know SIR,  cost ten-thousand dollars each, and I thought…rust….an…”

“How much did you pay?!”

“250 Dollars Sir.”

Without saying a word he opened a little three-lock-box (OK; I made that up. It was only a one-lock-box) that he had in a drawer, carefully opened it, and proceeded to hand me two-hundred and fifty bucks.

American

I sat there, dumb founded,  a moment too long, still in shock, looking at the bills in my hand…

“Petty Officer Marcom! “

“Huh…Uh, Huh… Sir?”

“You’re dismissed!”

Jumping up, knocking my chair over,  some tears welling in my eyes,

“Yessir!”

As I saluted him and abruptly left his quarters, quite in haste.

And thus I had survived yet another day in MY  Beloved Navy.

And Just As a Reminder Kids:

Don’t Rain on my Parade: I have enuff Rain for All

 

*And this just once more a rough draft, full of error, so be kind. Trust me: there is no harsher critic of me than me. I sweat commas. 

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Sea (Somewhat of a Stream of Almost Consciousness)

The scariest thing to me…

Was at sea.

In the Indian Ocean, late one night

(That “IO” That Ho!)

Late at Night.

And the ship was tight.

And the waves were big.

Real big.

IO, She was angry.

And I was scared.

(No! HE Was scared).

I was never scared!

I was drinking coffee… And in between, walking on the bulkheads—all you sailors out there—can relate, and compare…

Never scared, but aside from my ‘coffee mates,” I knew, did, had done… the same drill… Too many times. (Fuckin’ Black-Shoe Navy!)

And if any of y’all find any of my  ‘Sea Stories” unbelievable…The preamble to any good sea story is “This is a no-shitter…”

And then there was Melville…I’ve been around the world and  once saw two white whales fuck.. I did. And there were dolphins… standing by… giggling.

 I have been to Australia.

Twice

And it follows, I have been to sea before:

And here, (for you purists) is the original, stolen from “Hejira”:

My Thanks to

“I’m just a simple soldier Son.

“With one more Year to Go.””

The Real Story of Diego Garcia, Part Three

Part One Here

Part Two Here

The Eighties Kinda Sucked For Me. Not horribly but slightly. Now I will digress and tell you why.

During the Eighties, I came home from Egypt and SFM. I had spent the last three years of the Seventies in the Sinai Desert and these were glorious years for me. 

During the (very early) Eighties, actually very late Seventies, I got married.

At the beginning of the Eighties, Ronald Reagan was president and I was twenty-two years old: could not deny me or tell me anything! I had ‘seen’ the World!

Ronnie

During the Early Eighties, the Prime Lending Rate went from nine percent to twenty percent, thus making it real difficult for me to sustain a Small Business loan for my Tropical Fish Store.

I overcame all of this. By sheer guts and asshole-ness. (and by writing a seriously hot check, for three thousand dollars! I gave a shit not.)

But, I embraced it:

And somewhat thrived. Trickle Down, as they say, but not to mention, my bride and I slept on Army Cots for two years… We slept with the fishes.

And ate baked potatoes, cooked in a microwave which we had stolen borrowed. With pressed ham.

And the occasional onion… on Saturdays. And bacon on Sundays. And sometimes sour cream on Mondays.

We eventually left that place (after four years) Yep, we escaped Nacogdoches, Texas, which for us had been what we could imagine living in The Movie ‘Deliverance’ would have been like.

We escaped to Plano, Texas, which for many (but not us), was like living in the TV Show ‘Dallas’.

We discovered that we were more poor there than anywhere. In Nacogdoches we were ‘business owners’. In Plano we were just scum: no furniture, no fixtures, no nada: SCUM. We got thrown out of our first apartment because “Y’all don’t have no furniture and y’all are sleeping on the floor. This violates y’all’s lease agreement. Goodbye.”

We soldiered on…

We did sell, at a garage sale, damn near everything we owned, to include my prized Celestron Telescope and my wife’s Mikasa China from her first marriage.

Just to eat.

(Food was a prerequisite back then)

Finally….

We made a stance.

My Long-time Bride and my Soul-Mate, and a veteran of the “hard days” tole me one day,

She said, “Lance’, this is no way to live! Do something! Any thing!”

So, I did.  I told her I was gonna join the U.S. Navy. And send her all her allotment and everything else. And meant it.

She initially balked at this  (and she was former U.S. Army Reserve) at that time.

She said to me, and I quote:

“Lance, you are gonna do this thing, right? Then, I ask of you one thing: I wanna be a house-wife for just one year… can you give me that?”

“Yes! I said.”

So I got another job and worked my ass…

And I gave her her one year.

Then I joined the Navy.

And I did not see her again for ten years.

And sometimes after all these years, I still miss our poverty days, because we were so happy being poor.

And I did serve my country, just as I had promised her I would (We, The Both, were Patriots, by an’ by…)

Navy!

tex flag

 

What does any of this have to do with Diego Garcia?

Stay tuned…

Memorial day is coming. We need to remember the Soldiers and our family.

Please take a few moments and read this.

johncoyote

HPNX1058

We need to stop and remember the people missed. Memorial day need to be a day of remembrance and thankfulness.

Shadows of war

A Story by Coyote Poetry

"

War can catch even the cold in heart.

"

Shadows

I was a Soldier for almost 15 years. I volunteered for every dangerous mission you could be part of. The missions were to Africa, Bosnian, Central and South America and Iraq. I had no fear of death. I have seen dead enemy soldiers and the poor innocent civilians in the way of hate and war. I wasn’t effected by war. I was raised in Detroit. I saw my first dead body at four years old.  I watched my uncle died. I was raised with the Vietnam war and body counts were part of my life. My father served in the Korean war and I volunteered for Vietnam at 17 year old. I learn…

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Call of Duty

This is just outstanding!
Check out the original.

I Don't Get It

Jayhawker43-Commencement001

In 1943, the USA was smack dab in the middle of WWII, and graduating college students were faced with the inevitable: enlistment. A cartoon in the Jayhawker magazine shows the four steps awaiting them: graduation and swearing in…

Jayhawker43-Commencement002-1

…securing fatigues and heading into combat.

Jayhawker43-Commencement002

How frustrating it must have been to finally achieve graduation, to fill your head with knowledge, only to head into a war where it may be blown off.

One departing student shared these words:

Jayhawker43-Commencement007

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Because I am a Girl

“Awareness is caring for us!”
Do you care?
“Yes!”
Says you.

Mean it?

On a personal note:

I have been to Africa. I have worked with many Africans during my time working in the Mid East. I have heard their stories. I have seen. I am not some bleeding heart Baptist from Po’Dunk (is that a place?). I have traveled some. I do not often re-blog, but when something moves me, well, y’all just know I am full of opinion… Sorry the second vid got skewered, but you may visit the original page.

“I wanna go home with the armadillos)

The Mad Hatters

In comparison to boys and men, women (young and old) are disadvantaged, valued less, in most, if not all, societies

Plan (http://www.plan-uk.org/) is one charity that tries to change that

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“I fake it so real… I am beyond fake.”

How many of us cast out false perceptions to the web?

To get  willfully caught in the net and hauled on board–to the unsuspecting good-hearted Greek Fisherman?

You know: old photos, no date, no skinny clothes, make up, tanning lotion?

Personally yep. Mea culpa. Yep. I am culpable.

Of just that. (Ok, probably sans makeup)

And only that.

But… how many go further?

"Let me poison your ear, Othello."

“Let me poison your ear, Othello.”

Too much further?

How many actually deceive?

How many try to capitalize?

How many actually hurt people with lies, deception?

No one reading these words here tonight, right?

I do hope not.

Just pause though, and think on it.

That is all I ask.

And yes, this is me: LANCE MARCOM (Lance Marcom.com) asking.

Falstaff

And No! I don’t look like Falstaff At least not yet.

I am real.

Are you?

 

 

 

 

 

Do you fake it so real you go beyond fake?

The Man With The News-Paper Gig

I drove to the beer store this noon in anticipation that I could not enjoy watching The-Texan– Bagdad, Floridian????

Bubba

Win-The Master’s-Tournament today without supporting a proper buzz.

The street to the Beer Store is four-lane. The cross street is also four-lane.

At the Red Light (that is how we call traffic lights in Texas) there was an old man.

He had Sunday Papers scattered about over two of the four lanes at the intersection, selling them

newspapers

Don’t Buy The Papers! Don’t Read All About It!

(obviously).

Now, I ask you. What kind of character is that? Could I ever be that noble? Could I schlep all those papers out there, brave the traffic. Try to make a buck for my family?

I would not.

Could not.

But then, I am not a good man such as that.

Wish I were.

But I’m not.

I wanted to stop and buy one of his papers, but of course I was too fucking busy and had no time to stop.

It is (Still) Morning (Mourning?) in America!

“Oh shit!” ‘Sorry Ronnie Toopac… Nancy’Melania!

It is ‘SundayTuesday  Wednesday in Amerika!

“Let us watch ‘The Golf’ read my tweets!”

agusta

“Huge vivla la diff’ eh’?”

“Oh Me ah me! What ever do you mean?” (Said Nancy Melania)

“Ah shit Nancy! Melania! I mean it is morning in Amerka! Didn’t I say that?!”

“No, you are a Commie if you did!”

Nancy! Melania! I am soooo Sorry! I lost my place! Here was I, back in the Eighties! Working for law and land! Money, lust, and US!

I even enlisted! I served my Country! What did I get? Bupkis!” What did I get? Rich!

“Butt… We (Ronnie and I—don’t he look cute—riding that horsey? Honey?—Now…what were you saying? You middle class? Oh Yeah! Something  about entitlements?”)

“Uh! Ya know what? Nancy? Mel? Never mind. We got ours. And ya know what? We got that Commie Bastard!—That Gorbo-chov!  That Puttie… God Bless America!”

“But… where is the money?”

“for America?”

For us?

Where is our prosperity?

I thought we won the war?

Where? Where are the fruits?

They just evaporated.

Didn’t they?

“I made enuff money to buy Miami, but I pissed it away so fast…”

–Jimmy Buffett

“Just say no,” “Make US Great”  was all she said, as she walked away.

(The conversation is ambiguous, waxes and wanes, for a reason: we are all to blame)

“You let ’em come home…” America.

We all should be allowed to come home. After all: it is the only place that stays open–all night.

We all should be allowed to come home. After all: it is the only place that stays open–all night.

We all should be allowed to come home. After all: it is the only place that stays open–all night.

We all should be allowed to come home. After all: it is the only place that stays open–all night.

We all should be allowed to come home. After all: it is the only place that stays open–all night.

We all should be allowed to come home. After all: it is the only place that stays open–all night.

The US of US is the only place that stays open all night. For All. We sort em out, once they (manage) to get here.

The US of US is the only place that stays open all night. For All. We sort em out, once they (manage) to get here.

For All.

Well, I just got back from New York city; Kris and Rita done it all

“Rita Coolidge, Rita Coolidge cleft for me”

ritacoolidgeandkrisk.jpg

–Willie Nelson

Since it is still Texas Independence Day, I am gonna continue to bombast my Blog with Texans I admire.

Here is (in my mind) one of the greatest (and most misunderstood and underrated) Texans: Kris Kristofferson, Rhode’s Scholar, ruffian, redneck, poet.

He married well. Too bad it didn’t take. Rita Coolidge! He should have found a way to make that work…