15 October 2005

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 14 Oct 90

Me: "Buzz, I like your Paula Abdul poster..."
Buzz: "Thanks. Get rid of that mustache. And you're off the flight schedule."

14 OCT 90

Being Sunday and all, I thought I'd relax as much as possible. Spent most of the morning reading an aviation humor book. It was good, but made me want to be home, going to airshows. I don't know whether Nemo's story will ever make it (He was a pilot who had a seaplane "mishap" near Whidbey, resulting in a short swim in the lake and generation of the callsign "Nemo".) Plus he's trying to change his callsign from Nemo to Salvo anyway. Yesterday, he inadvertently fired off some flares by bumping a switch to the salvo position. Could have been a mechanical problem, a glitch. Anyway, no one was injured but new call signs may abound.
About 1130 some guy from Group comes through and asks if we have a spare helmet that we can give LtGen Boomer. I figured Spot would want to give one up. I'm glad the guy came to see me first. Before we left, we had drawn 7 new helmets from SSD as spares, so we do have extras. I also know how hard it is for a crew chief to try to get the General a good headset every time. Anyway, had the guys start gathering up the goodies (helmet bag, skull cap, gloves, dark visor) and Buzz comes "buzzing" up. Wait, Spot came by first. He suggested FE make a name tag and take along some NVGs and the new aviation gas mask to show him how it attached to the helmet. The about 10 minutes later Buzz comes zipping by an tells me that "you're going to fit the General's helmet". I told him I'd go with along one of my Marines. Then he told me to shave my mustache. Yes, I had a one week old cheesy mustache growing. It must have really been a problem for him because he'd already commented on it twice during the week. I was flattered that anyone could tell I was even trying to grow one. Actually, it wsn't so much as if anything was growing, I just hadn't shaved my upper lip for a week. Buzz really has a body hair fixation, he had more than a few comments about my about a really short haircut a got a few weeks back. Well, the mustache would have disappeared without him saying anything, my theory being I didn't want my only memory of Saudi Arabia being the Commander of all Marine Forces telling me to "shave that thing off." I only grew it to annoy the field grade, and evidently it served it's purpose.
We drove to the port facility, where MEF HQ is, stood around for a while, and went in to let the Gen check out his stuff. Gen Boomer was very nice, but seemed preocupied. Gee, I can't imagine why. He said he really appreciated it, that he hated "not being able to talk and hear in the back, and bugging the crew chiefs". The aide is probably mad because now he has more things to tote around. The Gen didn't ask the standard "where ya from?....Never heard of it..."questions, which to me meant he was busy. He seemed mildly interested in the NVGs, not so much the gas mask. It was cool to met him, and someday maybe I'll see a news clip of him with a flight helmet and say "hey...".
30 minute ride back from HQ in the back of a pickup, I am fried. Buzz had a huge bag of pistachios, so the trip wasn't too bad. Got mail. One of the guys' wife is a reporter, is getting a visa and soliciting the CamPen PAO to make a 48 hour trip to Saudi.
Listening to my music tape, it's playing the song "Don't Worry, Be Happy..." We should play it before every maintenance meeting. Maybe I'll sneak over to the mosque and play it over the loudspeaker. Anyone can obviously go in at any time and pray to Allah over the loudspeaker. 3, 4, 5 a.m, doesn't seem to matter. The first few times I heard it at King Fahd, it was kind of eerie. My plan is to have someone sneak in with a boom box and play some Tone Loc or M C Hammer. Wonder if this would bother the locals?
The Marine Corps suspended our Low Light Level training indefinitely. They just started it 3 weeks ago. Guess the timing isn't right? Army identified a problem with helmet retention straps, there's a fix coming out. I'll try not to crash in the meantime. I figure if you hit something that hard, you're not going to be worried about your helmet. The MAG is going to use this as ammo to push for the lighter, quieter, safer helo helmet. I called North Island to get the repair info for the old helmets.
I think being here is a big plot to reduce the forces, everyone's gonna be so mad when we're done that they won't reenlist.

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