Wednesday, 7 January 2009

My Postings

Over the past couple of days.....I've had a dialog with another Air Force guy over bases. Its funny....its like women we've dated, or trucks we've owned, or bar's we've sipped bad whiskey at. Bases are like football teams....there are winners.....and there are losers. I sat and paused over where I've been.

I spent three months at Sheppard Air Force, Texas after basic training. There isn't much to brag about. The Airman's Club cost a $1 a month, and you got to witness a fight each and every night....mostly over too much booze and a lady friend. I lived in the building that had its own chow hall. One morning, they served cinnamon rolls....which were almost rock-like in nature. After one attempted chew....I spit it out and gave up. Another guy at the table ate the whole thing. We marched off to classes, and along 11PM, he started throwing up. Food poisoning. They made a comment to the chow hall....four days later....another batch of rock-hard cinnamon buns and more guys who ate them. After that....they closed the place for a week and fired the manager....the food poisoning stopped at that point. My biggest memory is of the big parade episode they had one afternoon....in September....with around a thousand guys out on the parade field. The ambulance folks picked up at least a dozen guys who collapsed in the heat. We were all standing there laughing over the entire event.

I went onto Rhein Main Air Base, Germany then. My three biggest memories? I had to work on a construction crew one day....with the German in charge. We were whacking out sidewalk and then mixing cement right there on the spot for a four foot by four foot section (five of these). As we finished the first one....by the Officer's Club entrance.....the German said to only put up two traffic cones. One at each end. I suggested that more should be done....it was wet cement and a foot deep. I was sternly told to just do one cone at each end. So we moved on down 200 feet to the next spot and were working it....when I noticed a Lt walk out of the club. I paused at the shovel, and kinda knew what was going to happen. Sure enough, the Lt walked straight into the wet cement....nice shoes....well...they were nice. My crew quickly packed up and we left the area. My second memory is the dimwit who drove through runway lights with his car....while he was completely drunk (he was in our squadron paint shop)....then drove on home...got out his paint kit and repainted the numbers on his vehicle. The cops were there in an hour anyway, and they just stood there laughing over the dimwit. Finally.....we had "winky" (a big red-headed kid) who got into accidents on a hour by hour basis.....simply bad luck period. Winky got in a hurry one day with a squadron pick-up and drove around the commissary area...running straight into a tractor trailer rig....and pushing the windshield about twelve inches in. Luckily, he didn't kill himself. I found out recently that Winky stayed in and actually made senior NCO.....and survived all of the bad luck.

From the McChord Air Force, Washington period....it was a perfect place. It never got cold, it never got hot. The whole squadron was a big soap opera. My mission in this period? Tar king. I was the crew chief of a team of guys who laid out tar on base streets and runway areas. For a year, I found it was a great place to be. The most noteworthy experience? I had mounted giant 40-pound speakers on the wall above my bed....and woke up one morning to find a earthquake underway...with the speakers almost falling on top of me.

I spent four months at Lowery Air Force Base, Colorado....just outside of Denver. It was a school experience, but I spent weekend after weekend at the Rodeo....a county bar on the outskirts of town. My roommate for the majority of the period....a guy that I got along with quiet well....who happened to meet some gal on the first weekend there and twelve weekends later....as he was finishing up his school.....he proposed and was to marry her.

Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana....was the base that I disliked the most. Every two weeks, you had to pull a 4AM shift. The local town of Shreveport offered little for a guy to do. We had the gator which ate some lady's poodle. We had the natural gas leak in the barracks which blew up some room (the guy was actually lighting a smoke when it blew). My least fond memory was the seven-day period about a month before I left the base. The AC unit in the barracks had totally failed the summer before....so we burned up in 98 degree temperatures. Then came the Christmas period, where a ice storm and arctic front came through....and the heat wouldn't work....so room temperatures got down to 45 degrees. I bough some heater at Wal-Mart, and promtly blew the entire circuit on the floor. At some point, I came to a point where I begged to leave and they gave me Germany as an assignment.

I came to Ramstein Air Base and found it to have just about everything I wanted. I went to school, traveled around Europe, and actually couldn't find anything to complain about. Our barracks had maid service....some 65-year old gal....who actually did all of our laundry for us. I should never have left.

Howard Air Force Base, Panama came next. Basically....nothing came to shock me after three years in Panama. They put me in a open bay barracks for the first three weeks....as I searched for a place to rent. Each of us had a cube, with a curtain and four walls of plywood to separate folks. I came home the third night to find the guy in the cube next to me having a meeting with two ladies. I sat and listened to the conversation.....one was pretending to be the mother and the other was her daughter. This guy was talked into paying them $200....then they said they had to shower and get ready for him....so he was getting his cube ready as they walked over toward the shower. They walked past the shower, and continued on out the door.....leaving the building. I sat there laughing as this guy ran out ten minutes later.....looking for his ladies. Nothing in Panama ever worked right....you had to bribe everyone....from the car inspection guy, to the cops. I probably paid out $800 over three years there on bribes. They kept telling us that no one had ever died from a snake bite there....but then we had two guys in six weeks who got bit and they airlifted them out....permanent nerve damage done to their legs. The AF wouldn't admit anything but it was obvious that we had a snake problem.

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona...was ok...but I came to hate the heat. When you sit there and feel 115 degree heat.....you come to hate the desert. We had a forty day period where it was 100 degrees or more every single day. I never thought such a condition could exist.

Bitburg Air Base, Germany was my next assignment. I came to find Bitburg to be more of a soap opera than a real base. Every single day was a new episode. We had the two BX gift-wrappers who got caught doing the wild thing in the wrapping area. The amusing thing was that as soon as you walked off the base...you felt like you were in Mississippi.

I came back to Ramstein for the last five years of my career....with a 120-day period to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey as my one period in Turkey. I came to dislike Incirlik....between Tent City and the atmosphere there with the folks who ran the base.....it was like dark blur.

Somewhere in between was 10 days in Honduras, my Saudi war experience, and twenty days in Forida at various exercises and classes.