Friday, August 18, 2006


Lil' Toni posted yesterday in honor of all those fools who jump willingly out of perfectly good air-o-planes. As a former fling-wing pilot I look at them with a bit of disdane, but, that maybe because there is no good way to jump out of a helicopter that decides to discontinue beating its way thru the air.

I live only about 3 miles from Currahee mountain. During WW2 it was the training ground for the unit that was imortalized in Band Of Brothers. Now they have an annual celebration complete with the Army parachute team putting on a demonstration. I'd look up the unit identification but it's late and I'm too lazy.
Sorry Guys. No disrespect intended.

I'll bet there is so much ammo fired into that mountain that a metal detector would go crazy.

My friend Garfield was a young lad during that time. He said that every afternoon that they would just open up with the guns . The boys who could get leave or passes would come into town drink and just generally tear thing up until the MPs would arrive.

During my participation in the Southeast Asia War Games at Quang Tri, RSVN, our Avionics officer was a 2nd looey named Reginald. Reggie for short, and because he hated to be called Reginald.

An ROTC graduate with a degree in Electronic Engineering, he wanted nothing more out of life than to be an 'airborne ranger'. He begged the army to assign him to the infantry and send him to ranger school. But, they in their infinate wisdom knew that he would be so much more useful fixing (or more properly, supervising) the radios for our helicopters and command center.

Oh how he pleaded with them to make him a ranger! To no avail.

But not deterred, while attending the armys avionics and electrical school he coaxed, or more likely, bribed someone to cut him orders to allow him to attend ranger school at Ft Benning GA, down at Columbus, where he qualified and made about 6 or 7 static line jumps out of whatever airplanes they used in those days.

He arrived in Quang Tri all spit and polish and proud as a peacock about the airborne wings he wore on his chest and cover. Airborne he would shout as he walked about the camp. He would beg to be allowed to fly out with the infantry squad we carried in the huey that accompanied each hunter killer team.

No was the answer, he was much to important fixing radios. This only made him more determined to prove to himself and the world that he was John Wayne incarnate.

He bunked in the same hootch as I, and our bunks would have been next to each other except he pulled our wall lockers between us an made himself a cave in the corner.
He hung a towel over the opening for privacy. Since he was from up north somewhere, I called him a damn yankee, and he called me a damn rebel, which I took to be an honorable title.

Charlie liked to lob in a few mortor shells each evening between dusk and midnight just to keep us on our toes you know.. After a few times of running to the bunkers and being laughed at as FNGs, we soon learned to judge the closeness of the explosions and just lay in our bunks with a determination to simply roll under it if things got too close.

One evening we had mostly gone to our bunks, writing letters or reading, or simply wishing we were back in the world, when the shelling started up. As charlie started walking the rounds closer and closer I was considering that in a few more rounds it would be time to crawl under the bed.

Apparently Reggie was sleeping and unaware of the noise when one round got a little closer and woke him up. Yelling 'incoming' and trying to claw his way around the lockers and fighting the towel aside, he suddenly stopped and shouted "Don't move".
OOHH shit, what was it? Were the little bastards coming thru the hootch door?

As I stared at him with a modicum of concern and asked in a calm whisper "what is it" ? He replied "I knocked my contact lens out of my eye. Much hilarity ensued. With flashlights the errant lens was found and Reggie, embarrassed, creep meekly back to his bunk.

Reggie later had a chance to redeem his pride. A unit of APCs were just outside the wire and were pinned down by a lone sniper up in a tree. Un-freaking-believable. Armored personal carriers with at least one M-60 per track and possible a .50 cal. and no telling how many troops with M-16s and a lone sniper kept them pinned down for several hours.

Reggie hearing of this over the radio, and sensing his time had at last came, grabbed his rifle and jeep and sailed to the rescue. Arriving at the Tracks, he asked were the sniper was. Receiving the general direction, he using all the skills obtained in AIT sallied forth boldly, shot the sniper from the tree, and then told the APC unit they could proceed in safety.

I wonder where he is today?

For you Reggie. AIRBORNE!!! HOO-RAH!!!


Jean said...

Another great're on a roll!

hmmm...and, no kudzu vines at the end of this one...that's a good sign, right?

Lil Toni said...

What a great post! I LOVE all that ho ah kinda shit!
God bless your friend, Reggie, and a great big "Ho Rahhh!" to him.

In memory of those "Band of Brothers", 101st, Airborne, "Screamin' Eagles"....

Lil Toni said...

Ops! I almost forgot...
Highest regards for helo-piloting. I had NO idea.
You'd have to pernt a gun at mah head to ride in one of 'em, cause Gawd knows...
Ain't no "good" way to bail from one of 'em.
God bless.