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.

Running in Soft Sand: Part Two

The Below is Somewhat of a Rant Interlude (before I get to the rest of my story): Read at Your Own Annoyance.

*****

But before you do that, perhaps you may want to visit here, and watch the video while there, and maybe even read here.

***

I have a lot to say.

About Navy SEALs.

I have a lot of opinions.

About Navy SEALs.

And I am bona fide.

About Navy SEALs

****

I have a lot of regret over my experience with Navy SEALs.

I have a lot of love for Navy SEALs. Hell! I love the Nav!

(I scored ’99’ on my ASVAB–Unheard of!–The Army Tried to Recruit me! The Greenie Beanies! The Rangers! What a fucking joke!

(Now, do not mistake me: I think the Green Berets are just Jim Dandy, but they have parameters: i.e., there are things they just will not attempt. The Navy (SEALs) have no parameters: they will ‘attempt’ anything–more than once)

Video Credit:  Goldenman39z

I recall, while at BUD/s, how we used to taunt the USMC, there for their ‘little taste of amphib training.’

“Hey! Marine Corps! Bullet Sponge Marine Corps! (The few; the proud; the dead on the beach!”)**

Yeah, we got into trouble over that one…

And I did, one day, overhear a TDY Greenie Beanie instructor ask MY BUD/s instructor:

“Hey! How do you guys do it? I mean… how do you do it? You do all the same training! How do you do IT??”

My BUD/s instructor simply said, 

“We do it because this is how we do it.”

Would not trade my time spent at BUD/s for any other of my life’s experiences that I have experienced. (And that includes my time spent at SFM and in Iraq and Afghanistan, and even in Oklahoma and other war zones.)

I ‘earned’ it—my experience with SEALs.

All of it.

Every fuckin’ second.

They, (The SEAL Instructors) tried to kill me, but in a good way…They did kill one, in a manner of speaking, on ‘my watch’, but that is yet another story which time and virtual ink will not permit me to recount here–maybe later)

There are a lot of ‘frauds’ out there now. People who will tell you:

“I was a Navy SEAL.”

Idiots most! If you want to know if someone is / was a SEAL, you simply need to ask one simple question, “Which BUD/s class were you in?”

If that answer comes back as nonsense, then you will know…

(But, how will you know, being a non-com? If it was, indeed, nonsense.) I will tell you. There is only one place on Earth where BUD/s is taking place. That there, for starters, is a good clue. If some asshole tells you he went to BUD/s in Norfolk, VA, (As once happened to me in Basra, Iraq and once in Mombasa, Kenya) he is lying. If some asshole tells you he cannot remember: he is lying. If some asshole tells you it is ‘Classified,’ he is lying.

Walk away and find an interesting chick to speak with. You may get lucky. Buy her a gin and tonic or a wine cooler and tell her you were a Navy SEAL. She may buy into your bullshit. It usually never works in Southern California, but always works like a charm in Toledo.

And the crowd went wild
And The Crowd Went Wild!

Ever since Navy SEALs ‘took out’ OBL… well, and even before… The Navy has had a great PR Program, and a great recruiting machine. The Navy does recruiting better than any other service, (USMC is a very close second, though) But when I was about to enlist and told my recruiter I was ‘going in’ to be a SEAL, he did his due diligence and tried to talk me out of it!

Hahahah!

When I put in my chit (Navy vernacular) for SEALs, no one, and I mean no one, had ever heard of such an outfit, save for a few Nam Vets. I mean to say, data-based, ninety-nine of one hundred Americans could not even define a Navy SEAL.

“SEALs? Never heard of ‘em. Green Berets? Sure. Saw the fucking movie… John Wayne, right?”

Thinking to myself: “Yeah… The Duke, In Fucking Georgia: About as far removed from Viet Nam as is possible, you schmuck!”

Now today, I tune into CNN, FOX: even Aljazeera America, (You damn betcha! I read / watch ALL news), and I see so many ‘Former Navy SEALs’ paraded in front of me, talking to Megyn Kelly, or Bill O’Reilly, or Brook Baldwin, or Kim Kardashian. Jesus on a cracker! Is this what I missed by not becoming a Navy SEAL? I coulda been a ‘coin-tender!’ I coulda been somebody! I could have written a fucking book. Instead of being a bum.

Do a ‘search’ on Amazon dot com for Navy SEAL books. The SEALs I knew, did not ‘talk.’ Now everyone who ever even attempted ‘Hell Week’, is fucking Ernest Hemingway. Makes me nauseous.

Sheeit!

Don’t worry: I will get back to ‘My First Day at BUD/s’ soon enuff, but I am venting now. So please bear with me.

I am going to tell you what it really means to be a young, dumb, full of cum, Texas kid going through SEAL Training. Not the hoopla. Not the machismo. Not the ‘end game’ killing OBL.

No.

Just the story of four or five score scared shitless young kids, who had no idea what they had signed up for… And I was the oldest amongst them, but even, truth be told, the more scared. Because I knew better… Should have known better.

End of Rant.

Please stay tuned.

** And yeah! My own Father was a Korean-Era USMC: ‘Spit an’ Shine, Nickel and a Dime, United States Marine Corps!”

So what?

He weren’t no SEAL (Then again, neither was I)

Running In Soft Sand: Intro

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

Below 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, please  watch the below. For if you do, you will get so much more value out of my words (also found below)

And if I am to continue This Series, I need just one of you, just one of YOU,  to ‘get it.’ So, let’s get it, shall we?

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 to myself 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

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? S. West (Who Else??)

This I took to Navy SEAL training…

  I did this!
Goda,mn it!

I did this!

Perhaps, I think too much.

There is a really meognorical … reason

And if case y’all missed it: “meognorical” is Francais for “Megalomaniac-is-all”

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.

 

SEAL Training: Psych Eval

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.

 

Pain

Picking up from the last half-chapter…

Matt, Rogers, and I were in Viva Young. I had been smitten.

But the smite –her was elusive, so Matt and I retired to the pool tables. Me hoping to fleece him outta some beer money. He hoping for good conversation and Lance Good Wolf-Ticket talk.

We both got what we wanted, until…

Until Pain walked in.

Pain (his real name) was my roommate back when I was in BUD/s Class 140. Pain was a pain in the ass. He was a tow-head boy, weighing in at about 150. All attitude. Bad attitude. He reminded me of Peanut, without the good to outweigh the bad. I did not like his style.

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

“Hey! Dat guy just walk in, he Na-bee Seal.”

“Yes Honey. I know him.”

“He yor frien?”

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

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

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

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

“Yeah,” I said. “Class one forty. You were my roommate for a spell, until you got kicked out for smacking my other roommate upside the head.”

“Yeah he was an idiot.”

“Don’t think so. He was my Friend.”

“What was yer name? Mark… 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.”

“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. This is MY bar, and we don’t really want all you prima-donnas hangin’ out here. This is a private bar—my bar—So… mosey on on.”

“I go where I please. Fuck you!”

“Excuse me, but this ain’t your kind of place. This place is not big enuff to house your Navy SEAL ego; I suggest you amble on down to The California Club on Magsaysay. They have high ceilings and lots of bar girls. You will be welcomed there.”

“You’re pissing me off.”

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

“Lance, don’t do it.”

I had forty pounds on Pain. I could take him without the pool stick.

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

“Sailor Man, you may need to sit down.”

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

She said, “Okay, but you gonna fix the furniture.”

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

“Maybe I will check out that California Club after all.” He said. And left.

The Jar Heads on the other side of the bar applauded. One said,

“Great job! Squiddy! That guy is an asshole. Seen him around town.”

“Thanks!” I said. Then yelled, “Hey! Mama-San! Bring me a beer! I just saw my life flash in front of me!” (Not really. I fear no man, but it makes for good prose, eh?)

Pain was actually a good guy. But an asshole. Certainly I can relate, being same.

“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!

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…

Snuffed On

I dip snuff. (Copenhagen Regular Cut, for those snuff aficionados out there, who may have inquiring minds)

There! I admitted it!

cope

Finally!

After so many years of being a self-tormented closet snuffer’er I have finally come out.

I feel better.

Whew! One less load to carry. One less ax to grind. One less ass to bare. One less woman who may have been considering me with a favorable eye… Well, three out of four favorable results will get you into the Hall of Fame.

In Baseball.

‘Tis a habit I acquired whilst in BUD/s Class 140, circa 1986.

For some uninitiated: That stands for “Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training”  SEAL Boot-Camp, if you will: Class 140.

Yup. I was almost a SEAL. Twice. But more on that in a later post. Maybe.

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

Continue reading