T A N K S C A R R I E R S G U N S A R M O U R E D   C A R S

Oops II.
   (Ver 1)

A lot of things that I consider humorous happened in Norway, or were related to trips that I made there during my two assignments at H&HS-28, 2nd MAW. I can easily understand why other people might not see the humor, but I have a mission to write about what happened, or my wife will kill me.

This time I am going to combine three operations into one. I’ve mentioned some of these incidents in other articles, but I don’t think I ever put them together this way before.

I had a young female Corporal working for me on this trip. She had been raised in Las Vegas of all places and had studied martial arts there. She was a nice looking woman, but not my type. She had her good points and her bad. I tried to make use of her good points while ensuring that the bad ones didn’t get her into trouble.

So we were in the hanger at Cherry Point, getting ready to board the plane for Norway, and my Corporal, who was extremely strict about uniform regulations, especially as applied to woman Marines, saw something that enraged her. We were scheduled to fly with the 2nd MAW G-2, or Intelligence section. One of the G-2 personnel, also a woman Marine, had a spectacular head of red hair sculpted into a ‘bouffant’ look, that could not be covered by a ‘utility cap’, the normal Marine headgear when not in dress uniform.

You must understand that one thing all Marines learn early is ‘Never be seen un-covered unless you are in a building.’ There is an exception that allows Marines to wear their ‘covers’ inside buildings, but it requires that they be armed, or on duty. Marines also do not salute when they are not ‘covered’ which is disconcerting to some of the other branches of service. I’m sure that there is a traditional reason for this, but I don’t know what it is.

My Corporal saw the other young female Marine in the hanger and, to my surprise, yelled, “Come here, wench!” Apparently there was no confusion about who she was talking to because they went outside and had a brief discussion. No one else even took notice. When my Corporal came back I asked what that had all been about and she told me that she had felt it to be her duty to explain to the younger Marine that ‘big hair’ and no hat was not acceptable. My Corporal started referring to the other woman Marine as ‘Bouf’.

It turned out that, when we got to Norway, the Wing G-2 types were assigned to an area where the TACC Center set up, again in a hanger. The sticking point was that there were only two showers in the building. On the top floor was a small, single stall, shower bathroom combination, and there was a large bathroom/shower combination, FOR MEN ONLY, on the lower floor. This meant that women Marines were supposed to use the ‘issue’ showers.

All of the shower facilities in the Marine Corps were pretty grim. The tent sides often didn’t go all the way to the ground, which produced some amazing thermal effects. The ‘floor’ was as often as not mud, which kind of defeated the whole purpose, etc. I think that these places were ordinarily set up by working parties, who, quite naturally, didn’t want to be there and did as little as possible, even if they knew that they would have to shower there as well. For some odd reason, I have no idea what the women Marines shower facilities were like, but I doubt that they were much different.

So the single stall shower on the upper level of the hanger became a battle zone. It had a locking door and people used to disappear into it for hours. Usually they were filthy when they went in and clean when they came out. On the other hand, the bathroom was usually clean when they went in and filthy when they came out. After a few days a sign was posted on the door saying that it was ‘Off Limits’ to all US personnel, at all times.

My Corporal heard it through the ‘grape-vine’ that ‘Bouf’, who worked a late shift at G-2, was using the single stall shower, and became enraged again. She asked to move to the late shift, which had traditionally been an all-male shift at the TACC Center. I don’t know what I was thinking at the time, but I agreed. Keep in mind that, as the Aviation Radio Repair Section Head, I worked ‘day-on stay-on’, which means that I was on call 24 hours a day, every day and usually slept under a desk in one of our vans.

So my Corporal finally got the goods on ‘Bouf’. I believe that she even had before and after pictures. We never saw ‘Bouf’ again. Don’t get me wrong. I am sure that my Marine didn’t kill her and dump her body into the cistern, we just didn’t see her again. I suppose that she moved to a different shift or something.

Another interesting but depressing event during this trip was de-snailing. The weather was miserable with low clouds, rain, snow and other foreign objects falling out of the sky. I was assigned to help because I was the junior staff NCO in the unit. Hundreds of vehicles that were not part of our unit had to cross the ‘pad’ and be washed. Trucks, jeeps, whatever. We had one of the best washing stations on the coast, so we saw a lot of vehicles from other countries, too, who didn’t have to pass the de-snailing inspection, but did need to get relatively clean. I think I spent three days there knocking occasional pieces of mud off vehicles and operating a steam hose. I didn’t realize until later that that was not what I was expected to do, but I REALLY wanted to leave that place far behind me.

This was the trip where I ‘carried’ the crypto material and a ‘sewing machine’ style IBM XT compatible computer with me. (It had a 20 Meg hard drive, 9 inch monochrome monitor and a NEC V-20 CPU chip instead of the Intel 8086.) It was also the trip where my warrant officer caught me outside in the rain tapping into the 110-vac circuit that operated the lights in order to provide power for the computer, which, unfortunately, had a hard drive that would not operate at the ambient temperature inside our vans.

This was not the trip when our Mess (cooking) personnel mistook the lid for the post sanitary water cistern for a sewer and dumped garbage into it until it started coming out of the local water faucets. That wasn't really funny anyway.

My thanks yet again to Rory.

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