Part Four of a Sailor’s Scholarly Series on U.S. Naval History in The South Pacific: PAIN

“I Yam Wot I Yam”

***

Let’s Review:

Matt, Rogers, and I were in Viva Young, Olongapo City. I had been struck by The Thunderbolt. Rog was buying the beer for the next ten years. Matt was drawing a charcoal portrait on a cocktail napkin of a sweet, young lovely Filipina with a glass eye. Mama-San was not happy.

My Primary Problem:

Mama-San

SNAFU (‘Situation Normal: All Fucked Up’)

My Secondary Problem:

‘Thunderbolt Smitten Status’

Breaks down like this:

The ‘Smite-he’—Me—couldn’t get close enough to the ‘Smite-er—Her—she proved elusive, un-approachable, un-attainable, closely watched over by Mama-the Big-She-San.

Yes. It was all very confounding, convoluted, and complicated.

***

Matt and I retired to the pool tables. Me hoping to fleece him outta some beer money—He hoping for good conversation, free billiard lessons, and some Lance Good-Natured Wolf-Ticket Talk.

(Rog had declined my offer of a double-or-nothing eight-ball re-match)

But Matt was willing and ‘free’, as the Filipina ‘model’ for his napkin art had been compelled (by Mama-San) to taxi onto the runway.

He also knew I would take it easy on him and his wallet. I only truly enjoyed taking Rog’s money, no one else’s. Well, except for the occasional Jar-Head’s, even though the fleecing of ‘Marine-Sheeps’ could, and often did prove somewhat problematical, health-wise—my health-wise.

Matt and I both were getting what we wanted until…

Until Pain walked in.

Pain (his real name) was my roommate back when I was in BUD/s Class 140, 1986.

Pain was a pain in the ass.

He was a tow-head boy, weighing in at about one-hundred and fifty. One-hundred-fifty pounds of attitude. Bad attitude.

He reminded me of Peanut.

***

Peanut sans the good to outweigh the bad. I did not appreciate his style.

Nor his presence.

One of My Girls, (yes they were ‘mine’—this was My Bar, wasn’t it?) brought me a beer and said,

“Hey! Dat guy jus’ walk in, he Naa-bee-steeel.”

“Yes Honey. I know him.”

“He yor pren?”

(Filipinas have some difficulty pronouncing the letter ‘F’)

“Nope. He’s trouble, and thanks for the beer.”

Still holding my pool cue, I walked over to Pain.

“Hey Pain!” I said. “How’s it been hangin’?”

“Whaaa??  Hey. Uh…Oh, don’t I know you from somewhere? Oh yeah. Buds. Back in ’86.”

“Yeah,” I said. “Class One-Forty. You were my roommate for about a week until I got you kicked out of the room for smacking my other roommate upside the head.”

“Yeah, you were a little snitch-bitch. An’ your other roommate was an idiot.”

“Don’t think so. He was my Friend.”

“What was yer name? Mark… Clark… something or other… Mark..um…?”

“Yeah, that’s right. Marcom.”

“You rocked out didn’t ya?”

“Yeah, I rocked out. Got hurt. Apparently you made it. In SEALs.”

“Got ‘hurt’ eh? Whatever. Yeah, I didn’t rock out.”

“Good for you.”

“Wanna beer?”

“No Pain, I do not. What I want is for you to take your ass outta here. You see, this bar is for ‘Black Shoe Sailors’—Fleet Sailors—only. This is Our bar, and we don’t really want any prima-donnas hangin’ out here swillin’ beer and breathin’ air. This bar—MY Bar—is a private bar, so… mosey on The Fuck On.”

“I go where I please. Fuck you!”

“Excuse me, but this ain’t your kind of place. This joint’s not big e’nuff to house your inflated Navy Spec-War ego; I suggest you SEAL-Flop your fishy-smellin’ ass on down to The California Club. It’s close to Shit River on Magsaysay—can’t miss it—look for the neon that says, ‘Morons Welcome’. The ceilings have high enough clearance for your big head, and there’s lots of girls. You and your ego and your attitude and your money will be welcome there.”

“You’re pissing me off.”

By this point, I had unconsciously reversed my grip on the pool cue, turning it into a baseball bat. Matt came up to my shoulder and whispered,

“Uh… Lance, don’t do it.”

I had forty pounds on Pain. I could take him with or without the pool cue-turned-seal-smasher.

Mama-San, ever astute, came up to me and said,

“Sailor Man, you need sit down.”

I said, “Mama-San, Not until this asshole leaves.”

She said, “Okay, but you gonna pix the purniture.”

Standing two heads high over him, I turned back to Pain, “You need to leave Son.”

Apparently a light suddenly lit and he, making good use of his ‘situational awareness’ said, “Maybe I’ll check out that California Club after all.” And left.

The Jar Heads on the other side of the bar applauded. One said with a belly-laugh,

“Hoo-Ah Squiddy! That guy’s an asshole! Seen him around town.”

“Thanks,” I said, pitching my cue-stick to Matt, who clumsily failed to catch it, spilling his beer in the attempt as he watched the cue bounce off the deck.

I laughed at Matt then yelled, “Hey! Mama-San! Send me an’ Matt ah coupla beers! I just saw my life flash!”

(Not really. I fear no man, but it makes for good prose, eh?)

***

Pain was actually a decent enough guy.

In his way.

But still an asshole.

Certainly I can relate,

Being same.

For the following night I vowed to focus on my ‘Thunderbolt/Mama-San Situation’.

We sucked down a few more beers.

Closed the bar.

The Marine Corps went to wherever it is that marines go (or belong)

Rog and Matt headed back to the ship. (Where sailors belong)

I went home with Mama-San. (Where I probably didn’t belong)

***

To be continued…

Previously:

Part Two of a Sailor’s Scholarly Series on U.S. Naval History in The South Pacific

When last we left our Boys they had arrived at Viva Young not unlike victorious Roman Legionaries returning from Gaul—The Conquering Heroes—welcomed with gleeful squeals of joy and happiness by the Girls.

A little more detail on Viva Young The Establishment, and more than a little more detail on ‘Mama-San’ is in order here.

Upon first entering, immediately on the left was ‘Mama San’s ‘Office,’ which was simply an enclosed counter with an ancient cash register, a small table lamp, a perpetually over-flowing ashtray, and a counter sign which read: “No Credit.” Every bar or club had a ‘Mama San’—‘Manager’ to put it into Western Parlance. I had a bit of a history with this Mama San.

(Yes we were ‘Fuck Buddies’)

We were roughly the same age and found each other mutually attractive. She was tall for a Filipina, just a little bit chunky with shoulder length reddish brown hair which she kept in a semi-perm. Or perhaps it kept her; maybe that was its natural state. Dark brown eyes and the ‘Ornamental’ version of The ‘Shonnie’ Voice—semi-coarse and gruff.

She did volunteer work for the mayor of Olongapo and was quite well-read, savvy, and politically astute. She wanted a career in government. But first she had a bar to run and girls to manage. In this regard she was all cold business.

When on liberty in Olongapo I generally spent the night with Mama San. She lived with her mother and a sister and a brother and a few children in a fairly decent (though small) house about a mile from Viva Young. She was supporting the entire family and was never ‘hesitate’ to hit me up for contributions to her domicile.

“You gonna pay my bar fine?” Were some of the first ‘personal’ words she said to me on the night I ‘proposed’ to her, which was what seemed like eons before this particular port visit.

Some clarification: Subic Bay is a ‘working port’ not a ‘liberty port’. It is just like being in San Dog, only ‘with benefits.’

But still a working port.

Hence, during this particular Westpac deployment, we would find ourselves in Subic Bay every month or so ostensibly for resupply, but mainly because we were schlepping about six hundred US Marines around the South Pacific.

The Frederick LST 1184 is what is known as a ‘Gator Freighter.’ The ‘LST’ stands for ‘Tank Landing Ship.’ And yes I know the acronym is ass-backwards—‘Landing Ship, Tank’—My Navy is kind of Dyslexic.

Anyway, our primary purpose, our only purpose, our whole raison d’être is to ferry Marines about, dropping them and their AAV’s ‘Amphibious Assault Vehicles’ off at various beaches throughout the region.

“You call. We haul.”

That is the mantra of the Amphib Navy.

So we’d drop off the kids, head back out to sea and return a few days later to pick up all the ones who had not drown in the surf-zone. And sadly, I am not joking. We lost a half-dozen or so during that deployment.

Marines really cannot swim for shit and are not benefitted by the ‘Drown-Proofing’ training they teach at BUD/s (SEAL Boot-Camp, which if you recall, your humble author had been through.)

Twice.

“Drown Proofing”

It’s Great Fun!

***

Back to Mama:

Upon our first meeting, we were working on our mutual attraction. Using all my debonair wily Texan/Sailor charms, I broached the subject of “Let me take you away from all this.” (After closing time of course)

“You pay my bar fine. OK?”

“But you’re Mama-San. How can you have a bar fine?”

“You pay bar fine.”

I paid.

For the uninitiated, if one wishes the solitary company and undivided attention of a working bar girl, one must make payment to the Mama-San: the girl’s ‘bar fine.’ Call it a ‘handling fee’ if you must be so callous.

And while I am on THAT subject, allow me to inform you, I never paid any bar fines of any young girls for sex. I did not believe in it. There is much I will explain in future installments regarding this, but for now, suffice it to say that this sailor is an Honorable Man.

Fancy

Bobbie Gentry – (1969)

Street Cred for Vid: kelly heisler

***

But Mama-San is a different matter because she was a woman, not a girl.

I knew ‘the score’ and she kept the score. I happily donated to her cause to keep her score card to the positive and in the black.

What did I need money for anyway? We had a convenient relationship and we were genuinely fond of each other as far as it went. And to my mind, she was doing good work. She was ‘Mother’ to her girls and sincerely looked out for their wellbeing. She could spot a potentially abusive sailor or marine in an instant and would never allow same to leave the bar with one of her girls.

Ever.

And if by some chance she needed help with showing some asshole the door, there were the three of us Fast Freddy Sailors and the regular marines to provide assistance, not that Mama-San ever really needed it.

***

Running the length of the bar was the ‘stage’ or ‘cat walk’. Or picture a runway, similar to what one might find in a very low-rent fashion show.

***

Bordering this runway on three sides was a narrow counter top: narrow-minded and horse-shoe-shaped. The open end faced the door and Mama San’s watchful eye. Strings of lights hung precariously from the ceiling. Bar stools (ancient and uncomfortable) finished the Spartan scene.

The bar girls would line up on the runway and dance to the music from the equally ancient jukebox. Yes, this was best unflatteringly described as a ‘Meat Market’. But then, that was Olongapo in ‘89.

Matt, Rogers, and I knew all the girls. (Just not in the Biblical Sense). I suspect knew some were under age. If you’d ask one hundred bar girls in Olongapo where they were from, you’d get one hundred same pat answers:

“I from da Pra’bince (Province). I make money so go to college.”

I never met a single lil gal (see how easily I throw in some Texan Bullshit Vernacular to gloss over the horrible reality?) who told me she wasn’t actually from Olongapo. Nope, these were all ‘country gals’ with aspirations for higher education brought from ‘The Province’. Their true aspiration was to marry a U.S. Serviceman and get the hell out of the Philippines.

And who could blame them? Many a young Sailor or Marine, after having his first sexual encounter fell in love with a Filipina and did fulfill her dream. They would marry and the new bride would move to San Diego. Within a few months the rest of the family would be sent for: Mama, Daddy, Baby Sis, Baby Bro, Big Sis, Big Bro, real cousins, faux cousins, best friends, et cetera. This was known as the ‘Filipino Pipeline’.

Sadly, more often than not, once secured with U.S. Citizenship and the rescue of her family, the new bride would divorce her Sailor or Marine and make her way headlong into The American Dream, never once looking back and leaving the husband wondering what the hell had gone wrong.

I never felt sorry for the cuckolds. I was a cruel son of a bitch back then and secretly, as a perpetual con and huckster, I was always for the Filipinas anyway.

Actually everything always went wrong with such arrangements.

Well wrong for the sailor/marine.

But right for the ‘Girl-from-da-Pra’bince.’

The Girl from Ipanema

Artists: Astrud Gilberto, João Gilberto and Stan Getz

Street Cred for Vid: catman916

“If you hold sand too tightly in your hand it will run through your fingers.”

–Joni Mitchell (Telegram she sent from Crete to Graham Nash in CA, 1970)

***

Part One Here:

Part Three coming soon.

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 anymore. “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’… “Back when Moses was a pup, and this is a no-shitter” 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.

Running In Soft Sand: Intro

This is Post One of a New old Series (and one I promise to be faithful to)

I will regale y’all with all my Navy SEAL BUD/s training reckless, feckless experiences. Reliving it for me, is better than it actually was. (Trust me on this one) 

However, before we dive in, you may want to watch the below. For if you do, you will get so much more ‘value’ out of my words (also found below)

I was in Class One Forty and Class One Fifty Eight, but some things (in SEALs) are always constantly constant)

So, here we go….

***

Zero Four. Alarm going off! I knock it off the nightstand. It whimpers for an instant and then grows silent. “Now Run Tell That!” as Peanut would say.

Four o’clock!? Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

Where am I? Who am I? Do I need to ‘be’ someplace at four-oh-fucking-clock? Of course I do. I start to remember, shaking some dust from my addled mind. I need to be in Coronado. At BUD/s. And I need to be there by zero-five. Fuck! Fuck!

Karen stirs beside me.

“What’s up?” she asks with morning breath and sleepy eyes.

“Go back to sleep,” I say. “I’ll see you later.” (Much later)

Dragging my hung over self out of our bed in La Mesa California, I get dressed and stumble down the stairs, trying ever so careful to not awake the house in my doing so at such an un-Godly-hour. Four o’clock!

Fuck!

Seated in my Toronado, I crank her up, back out of the drive and head west. To BUD/s. God help me.

Of course I had been through this before: back in ’86. I was what some could call a ‘Two-Time Loser.’ Yeah, this weren’t my first attempt at SEAL training. And certainly not my first rodeo. I continued west.

Presently I arrived at the BUD/s compound (For the uninitiated: Basic Underwater/Demolition slash SEAL Training—Yeah—My Navy is fond of acronyms)

Went into my ‘hooch’ and threw on the lights.

“Goddamn it! Marcom!” was the chorus I was greeted with. “I hate you!”

“Drop yer cocks and grab yer socks!” I yelled. (I have lived my life every day, waiting for an opportunity to say this)

“Huh?”

“It’s time to daince gen’telmens. Let’s git to it!”

“Ah fuck!”

“Yep! Fuck!”

I took a dip of snuff as I watched my roommates get dressed. We were due to meet up with the rest of our class, One Fifty-Eight, in about ten mikes.

“Hurry the fuck up!” I yelled at my sleepy ‘roommates’.

“And you… you shut the fuck up, Petty Officer Mar—cone.”

“I’m doin’ ya’ll a favor, getting you up early so you can get all yer constitutionals done in time,” I said.

“What-ever!”

“Let’s go,” I said.

We proceeded down to our class muster point, mustered up with about seventy other disgruntled ‘grunts’—poly-wogs—and ran into the ‘grinder.’

We sang in unison as we did so:

“TO MY LEFT!

“TO MY LEFT!

“HOOYAH

“HOOYAH

“HOO–YAH!!!”

Class One Five Eight had arrived at BUD/s. God save and send us.

On the grinder (asphalt parking lot) there were little paintings of fin-feet, designating where the pollywogs were to assemble for PT (Physical… Uh… training. Read: torture)

Thusly assembled, we waited for the SEAL Instructor to show. During our wait, we knew we were supposed to sing. You see? The singing arouses the instructor and God knows we wanted him aroused:

So we sang:

“Drank Drank Drank

“Drunk Drunk Drunk

“Drunk last night

“Drunk the night before

“Gonna get drunk like I never got before

“’Cause when I’m drunk I’m happy as can be

“’Cause I’m a member of the Frog Fam’ily…

“Oh the Frog Fam’ily is the best family

“That ever sailed a’cross the sea….”

 And on an’ on. You get the idea.

The instructor arrived in full regalia: UDT shorts, T-Shirt, and attitude. There was a platform of sorts in front of us (Just for His Holiness, the PT SEAL instructor to ‘preach’ from)

We stood erect at attention… waiting to hear his first pronouncement. We did not have to wait long.

“What a fucking sorry lot! This is the worst class I have ever seen! Get wet! AND SANDY!!!”

Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

“Gonna be a long day,” I thought as we all ran to the Pacific to get wet and then sandy on the beach…

And the day had not even yet begun…

****

Russia won our war (Well, everybody’s war actually)

Or, If you desire:

“I’m the reason God Made Oklahoma.” (See? I can say that. Why? Because my second was an Okie and, by parley, that makes me ‘bonafide’—so there!)

Feel better?

Vid Credit? Shelley West (Who Else??)

This I took to Navy SEAL training…

Part Two Here

Since I ‘Missed’ TBT this past week…

I simply MUST catch up. Below please find one of MY Personal Favorites:

“SEAL Training: Psych Evaluation”

***

While stationed at Great Mistakes (Errrr…Great Lakes) Naval Training Command, I did my due diligence and qualified for BUD/s (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training in Coronado, California)

After passing the physical physical and clearing all the other stuff (mostly based upon my ASVAB scores and my ability to swim like a dolphin), A Final Task faced me: I had to pass unblemished through an interview with a psychiatrist. Just a formality, right? (Last hurdle: “Lance, do NOT fuck this up.”)

Sailor

Sailor Lance

This should be fun,” I recall thinking as I waited for my interview.

I was eventually summoned and sat my ass down in front of a geeky, mouse-eyed shrink. He obviously had ‘issues’ of his own. This I could discern straight-away from his limp-wristed demeanor. And obviously the only SEAL he had ever met was in some vain dream fantasy.

No matter. I was there just to get my ticket punched.

After a dozen or so stupid questions about such things as how did I feel about my mother, have I ever killed anything (Uh, do frogs count?), the price of tea in China, ad nauseam, he came to his pièce de résistance:

“Seaman Marcom,” he broached, “If you were ordered by your SEAL Team Leader to go in and clear a room whilst on a mission, and you burst into this room only to discover an elderly lady in a rocking chair reading a bible, what would you do?”

I waited for my dramatic pause, then said,

“Sir, I would shoot the bible.”*

Smiling, I observed him take his rubber stamp out and stamp “Approved” on my papers.

“California Here I Come”

Right Back Where I Started From

Video Credit: L. Heitmann via YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/user/IrRrIS1l3nt

*Footnote:

In the Nav, we have bombastic bullshit ‘tellings’, euphemistically known as ‘Sea Stories’. These are always introduced with the mandatory preamble:

“Now, this is a no-shitter…”

The above telling (though completely factual) is a wonderful example of same.

It’s Memorial Day Weekend: Go find yourself a Sailor and say, “Hey Sailor, New in Town?” Then hug him/her.

 

Throw-Back: “The Cowards Never Started and the Weak Died Along the Way”

And Yet One More Post From the email Archives:

***

Please tell me all about your therapy session today once it is done. I know a little about back trouble as I went through some during my Navy SEAL training. I know there is nothing worse than that for pain. There were several days during that training whereby I thought it would be better to be dead than run/swim yet another step. Somehow we always managed just one more step. “The only easy day was yesterday” was our mantra and that had been passed down over the years to all BUD/s classes.

There was one guy in my first class (Class 140) who actually broke his femur during a fun little evolution called “Rock Portage.” For two days he remained in training after that. His roommates would walk him about every morning until his leg got numb. Obviously he couldn’t keep up on any of the evolutions and the SEAL instructors kicked him out. No one knew his leg was broken. Once he was drummed out and had gone to Balboa Naval Hospital they told him he had a broken femur. Imagine his surprise!

Rock-portage1

Rock Portage

Hahahah!  A footnote: Seems his father was a retired SEAL. Well when daddy found out how his son had been kicked out of training for having a broken leg, yet still “putting out” to use the vernacular, he was, shall we say, livid. Needless to say, the kid in question was apologized to (ad nauseam) and invited to return once healed so that he would have an opportunity to break the other leg. I talked to him about this and he told me he’d had enough, but then I ran into him a few weeks later and he told me he would be coming back. It takes a special kind of idiot to go through that. I know, as I was just such an idiot. Twice. I suppose that’s why they call it “Special Forces.”

We had a guy in my second BUD/s class (158) whose name was Lundtmark. One day while we were running the obstacle course he got to the very top of the cargo net (roughly 60 feet above the beach) and fell off.

cargo net1

Whoosh!

Bam!

Boom!

Cloud of dust!

He survived, but from that day forward Lundtmark was reborn and known as “Sand-Dart.”

Some of the funniest moments I recall were during “Drown Proofing.” Drown-proofing is quite simple: one’s ankles are tied up and one’s wrists tied together behind one’s back. Then the “wog” (Short for pollywog, a neophyte, wanna-be SEAL) must simply swim 100 meters in 12 foot deep water. Once that is accomplished, the wog must do some acrobatic maneuvers underwater while still tied up and then somehow get to the bottom and pick up a scuba mask with his teeth and bring it to the edge of the pool where the instructors await to pull him out and beach him. All great fun.

I never had any apprehension with this evolution since I am very relaxed in water. Others had slightly more trouble. One idiot after being cast into the water did nothing but bob up and down screaming, “I’m drowning! I’m drowning! Save me!” As he would get close to the edge of the pool the instructors would push him back toward the middle using long poles while yelling, “You idiot! If you were drowning, you wouldn’t be able to say you’re drowning!” It was all great fun, but I suspect you’d have had to actually been there at that precise moment to fully appreciate it.

drownproofing

Drownproofing

Another idiot didn’t even make it into the water. His name was “Feather.” (His name really was Feather and he was a body-builder which made him a target of opportunity for the instructors’ “special attention.”) Well, seems Feather had second thoughts about BUD/s and his desire to “Kill some Commie Bastards” when it came time for drown-proofing. As soon as we were told to start getting tied up, Feather bolted. He actually ran away! Just like a little bitch. Never saw him again.

He’s probably still running…

“Anchors Aweigh Feather!

You Fucking Pussy.”

Street Cred For Shared Vid: James Madison Williams & Joseph