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.