Posted By Laughing_Wolf • [January 18, 2013]
It's time for another shocking sordid tale of naked confession. This time, however, it's not me. Instead, it's one of the best stories I know of manipulating the system. Heh, more than manipulating, but will put my thoughts down below the fold since they are not PG.
In my last post
, I mentioned Sarge, an on-base at-work buddy who did teach me a lot. Some I've never used or was careful in using, mainly because some were worried that I would pick up bad lessons from him (or at least not respectful of the system). They were right to worry, and here's one example of why.
Sarge was on his way out of the Air Force, and happily so. He had his retirement home bought and waiting, and was set for the good life. That was, until he was told that he would have to spend the last months of his enlistment in Korea and not at his retirement base as planned (and usual).
Now, this was a man of the old school. As in the hard charging, hard drinking, get things done no matter what school -- one that is sadly a thing of the past, at least in terms of the first and last parts. He had worked some interesting posts, and some fun ones.
He had been part of the PAO crew for the Thunderbirds, and when we had an air show I worked it with him. Our first stop of the morning was a local grocery where I was sent in civy to buy beer for him. My personal vehicle was the recipient of flight line passes and I had a personal pass good for anywhere at any time. Note that these were not event passes, but Thunderbird passes. Didn't get to do as much with them as I would have liked, as we did work that day. I also learned that C-130 pilots don't have a good sense of humor, it's not like the TOW vehicle had armed missiles when I tracked the bird when it did the low pass… The story of personally inviting the crew at a whore house to the event on behalf of the base commander will cost you booze, and is only done in person.
Interesting posts included the time he was at a base and the commander wanted a parade and review. For this, a reviewing stand was required, but no funding or other authorization was granted, only a demand that it be done. I do not know how he kept a straight face the day of the parade, when the CG was stomping his feet demanding to know where an a full truckload of supplies that had been obtained with a false requisition could have gone.
Adapt, overcome, make the system squeal…
The hard drinking, however, did get out of hand. In fact, after he accidentally killed the carburetor out of his truck with a 12-guage slug when he accidentally discharged the weapon (off base), he was sent to be rehabilitated. It wasn't Betty Ford, but it took time and some money on the part of the Air Force. This was before I came to AEDC, but he kept things on an even keel, though he did continue to drink. Some early advice he gave me was to always order my beer in a long-neck bottle, so that I was armed when the fight began.
Which brings us back to the tale of Korea. He was not happy. Unhappy does not begin to cover it, as he bitched and worked the system properly to get things changed. No go. He went.
A few weeks later, there apparently was an inquiry about why no one had informed the new unit of his drinking problem? Why was his dry out not included in his jacket? Turns out, somehow that part was missing, and suspicion fell on him (deservedly).
Well, as it turned out, because of his orders and some standing regulations, this was not something that could be handled in the field or even in Korea. Instead, it had to go to a higher, and that higher just happened to be at the base he was supposed to have gone to in the first place, for his retirement.
I'm pleased to say that what happened was that he was essentially put under house arrest, kept at the base for a few weeks, and given his discharge with no strings, caveats, etc. In fact, rumor was something to the effect that the JAG in question said some things indicating some understanding for him, and possibly even admiration for his use and abuse of the rules and the system. He didn't just manipulate it, he bent it over and used it hard, fast, and dry, and ended up with them expressing admiration for the job.
So, I ask you to raise a glass to Sarge, the only person I've ever known who succeeded in getting themselves court-martialed to the duty station of their choice.
I don't think I will ever have balls that big, but you do have to admire such when you see it.
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