Wednesday, May 11, 2011

You Crossed the Line Buddy

We had just gotten done flying a mission one day, and as was normally the case we were taxiing back in to our parking place and I was really wanting a smoke. The closer we got to getting off the plane the more I wanted one.

We finally get to out parking spot, shut down the plane, and are able to get off. As we had been doing for months we exit the plane, head over to the barriers at the edge of the flightline and light up. I get a couple drags in and out of no where come the Security Forces (Air Force cops).

There is a term for what happened next, we like to call it getting "jacked up". We're on the ground with 3 or 4 SF dudes drawing down on us with M-16 assault rifles. We comply, because we really didn't know what was going on, or what we had done wrong.

"Um...what the hell man?" I asked from my prone position.

"You crossed red!!" The SF airmen replied with great enthusiasm. Which was kind of disturbing considering the kid was probably all of 19 years old and it was probably his first time over in the suck.

Crossing the red on the flightline is a really bad thing to do. Security is pretty tight on the flightline anyway, but there are areas designated at red. That means the aircraft in them can only be approached if you have the appropriate access, and you have to get cleared by the SF to go into those areas. They are appropriately designated usually with red painted lines on the tarmac.

Like I said, we'd been doing this for months, there was no red line, there was no indication that there had ever been a red line. We were all smart enough to know not to cross red. That's just dumb.

"Dude, there is no line there. We do this all the time." I said.

"Yes there is, and you guys all crossed it!" Still highly enthusiastic.

"Whatever man." And I take a drag off my smoke laying on the ground. I had somehow managed to drop it within reach when we were "gently" asked to lay down on the tarmac.

After a few minutes of the SF dudes talking to each other, they finally decide that we can stand up, but we can't go anywhere until they get this all sorted out.

I walk over toward our aircraft again, and get stopped by enthusiastic gun toting airman. "Where you goin?"

"Just checking to make sure we didn't miss anything? Besides you just saw us get off that plane so we obviously have access to it."

I could tell by the look on his face that the hamsters in his head were tearing up there tiny little wheels processing that bit of information.

"Dude, could you show me this line that we crossed? Just want to make sure we're looking at the same thing here."

"It's right th....Um...Uh."

"Yeah told you there wasn't a line. Dickhead."

"Well there should be!"

I shake my head, grab my bag and head for the crew bus. Enthusiastic airman just stands there, realizing that he goofed up and there was really nothing he could do.

The next day I got to spend some quality time with my First Sergeant, but it was worth it just watch that airman sputter and spit while we left. I think it was the one-finger salute that he got though that pushed him over the edge in to actually reporting the incident.

Take It All Down

In Southwest Asia we have this thing called General Order #1.
Basically GO1 says that if it's something you might possibly enjoy, you can't bring it into the country. For example; porn, highly frowned upon by the locals, alchohol, also highly frowned upon by the locals (except in Bahrain, because it's possibly too small for Allah to see). And various other little things that might make the country a little more tolerable.

After spending 6 years living in tents that were supposed to be used for 6 months the new dorms had finally been completed (I have a story about that too) and we were ordered to go through and tear down the tent city that had so fondly been our homes for a long time.

Now since whoever designed the layout of tent city had no concept of rain going to the lowest part of the terrain, we had to build subfloors in each of the tents. These were basically 2x6s with 3/4 inch plywood on top of them so you had a floor.

Well, the morning we were to start tearing down the tents rolls around and we gather up and get our orders. We are supposed to gently tear down the tents so they can be repackaged and supposedly sent off somewhere so someone could use them for training.

"I think we should just light a match and watch it burn! We'll be done in about 10 minutes" was my suggestion.

"No airman. You WILL take these tents apart with the greatest of care." replied the Captain that was overseeing this detail.

"Roger that sir" Salute smartly and carry on. Apparently this dude had no idea these things had been baking in the Saudi Arabian desert for the last six years, and his approach would not be nearly as much fun as a match.

So we go up to the first tent. Now these tents were fairly large. Not sure of the exact dimensions, but I do know you could put about 20 cots in them and have a little room between them with 10 on each side. They were velcroed at the corners to hold them together, and then tied down the joints to make them even more secure. We set about untying the joints and that when we started to realize that dry rot will eat about anything. The 550 cord just started to crumble making it really had to untie and unlace to get to the velcro part.

After about 30 minutes of watching us work the Captain decided he had better things to do and started wandering around the tent city.

So I reached down and grabbed and one of the corners of the velco and gave it a mighty tug hoping that it would release and we'd be able to start taking the shell off this tent.

Well it released alright. The whole strip ripped right out of the shell, as it did I lost my balance and started to stumble backwards. My feet hit the floor of the tent behind and I fell directly on the side of that tent. It bowed in but held, until I tried to get myself off of it. As I pushed my butt back in to it to I heard this ripping sound and I find myself laying on the floor of the tent looking up at the ceiling, and fairly good Ed sized hole in the side.

At this point we decide to see how rotten these things are, what the heck there's tons of them in tent city so if we tear up a couple it won't matter too much.

My buddy gets a running start and crashes right through the side of one like the Kool-Aid man. We all laugh, and then decide we'll all give it a shot. About 8 of us, do the same thing and it's pretty cool. Then my buddy decides "I'm going to see if I can run through a whole tent!" Awesome we think. Go for it.

So we all go over to the side he's going to explode out of and start waiting. We hear him getting close to the tent, then the rip and some stomps. Not quite sure how to describe the next sound, it was sort of like hitting a cantalope with a stick and then a big thud, then nothing.

We all run in the tent to see what happened and there my buddy is out cold and bleeding from the skull because he must of closed his eyes, and as he broke through the first side and was going through the tent he ran head first into one of the support beams, cut a gash in his forehead and knocked himself out.

Once we stopped laughing, we picked him up and got him some help.

But back to GO1. After we got all the tents down we started tearing up the floorboards and found all sorts of stuff. Playboys, some liquor, couple of brew kits, it ended up being a pretty awesome detail.