Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Aviators Party at Camp Stanley

My unit, the 128th Tomahawks was stationed at Camp La Guardia in Uijeongbu where A210 is located close to the original MASH unit that inspired the television series. Our sister unit the 117th Toros was stationed at Camp Stanley where H207 is located.

My unit had Camp La Guardia all to itself, but our sister unit, the Toros, had to share their compound and Officers Club with an Arty Division (Division Artillery Headquarters). The Artillery guys tended to cramp the style that aviators liked to party, so the aviation officers of the 117th invited the aviation officers of the 128th over to their "O" club one afternoon to show the artillery guys how aviators partied.

This event happened to fall on the last day of our out going company commander Maj. Brewer's tour of duty, and the eve of our new company commander, "Maj. Lewman, taking command. Both commanding officers attended the festivities. It was setup to be a good party.

Drinking, conversation, and flying stories usually dominated the events along with some fun and games involving who knows what that usually involved either getting free drinks or paying for drinks for everyone else.

We were on the Toros' turf. Their main game involved a bell hanging above the bar in their club. If someone could kick the bell and make it ring, they got a free drink for themselves and everyone associated with them. If they failed to kick the bell, then they owed everyone else a free drink.

Kicking the bell required skill and talent. Our normal games at the 128th officer's lounge involved a dog tag check and the bend and scratch club of which neither involved talent and skill.

The 117th guys were pretty talented at kicking the bell. Needless to say, the 128th guys didn't do so well. Our unit was losing face fairly severely in the bell kicking department. Something had to be done to make up for our lack of skill, but what?

One of the aviators of the 128th thought of the frog eating incident that had taken place with none like Jimmy. He set to track down their champion frog eater so he could explain the bell kicking situation causing them to lose face, and then have the CFE challenge the Toros to a frog eating contest.

The CFE was tracked down and found quietly working on his own inebriation while observing the festivities. The situation with the bell was explained and he was encouraged to go and find a frog to up the ante on the challenge between the two units.

The CFE exited the building and walked around outback where a cook was busy peeling potatoes. The CFE asked the cook, "Do you ever see any frogs hopping around out here?"

The cook said, "Yea, sometimes over there you can find them."

The CFE set out on his search and soon scored with a good sized catch. This was bigger than any frog he had ever tried to tackle. The "V" shaped bone that supports the frogs back was almost as big as the CFE's index and middle finger. It wasn't a bullfrog, but it was plenty large enough to make a good show.

He soon returned into the club with his live catch and approached the bar and issued a challenge. The 117th guys looked at him like he was crazy and would have nothing to do with it. The CFE then approached a table where some non-aviator Army Ranger officers were enjoying an evening meal. The CFE issued them a challenge, "You guys are Rangers, come on and lets show these guys how this is done!" One of you want to have half of this frog?" None of the Rangers rose to the challenge. The CFE disparaged them with some contemptuous comment indicating his disappointment with the supposedly legendary abilities of the Rangers. Well, they weren't Navy SEALS like the Navy recruiter had described.

At the end of Army Flight School the graduating class flew down to Pensacola Florida and airlifted Army Ranger Candidates who had been left to survive in the wild living off the land for a couple of weeks. All the Aviator Candidates are told to bring bags of cookies to give to the future Rangers. If the potential Rangers were fortunate enough to not have a real ranger staff member onboard their aircraft, the cookies vanished with due haste.

The Rangers could probably learn a thing or two from the turtleman, and not be so hungry for cookies.

Anyhow there were no takers from the Ranger table and the 117th was starting to lose face because they had yet to produce someone to rise to the challenge.

It wasn't looking good for the men of the 117th, until someone from the Toros approached their junior WOJG (Warrant Officer Junior Grade) and told him, "WOJE! You will get up there and accept this challenge." A junior WOJG doesn't have much choice when it comes to things like this.

The junior WOJG approached the CFE and said he'd take the challenge.

The CFE looked over the WOJE and asked, "What half do you want?"

The junior WOJG said, "It don't matter."

The CFE decided to show a little compassion on the junior WOJG (they say nice guys finish last) since the junior WOJG had never done anything like this before. The CFE didn't tell anyone about this, but out of compassion he bit off way more frog than he should have. He stuck the frog's head into his mouth and bit behind the "V"bone previously mentioned. Needless to say, he had quite the mouth full to chew on. Then he handed the other half to the junior WOJG who promptly got down to business taking care of his half.

The two men stood at the bar keenly eying each other as they each worked on devouring their half. The CFE planned on simply putting on an act and disappearing out back to spit out his half once the show was over. Not too much genuine champion there.

Anyhow the bar was quiet as everyone observed the show. After a little bit the junior WOJG reached into his mouth and removed a clean bone. He held the bone up for all to see and then set it into an ashtray on the bar.

The CFE thought to himself, "uh Oh! I might have to really eat this thing." The junior WOJG pulled out another clean bone and set it into the ashtray as the CFE started to get serious about working on his half so that he could swallow it. He managed to produce a clean bone and set it in the ashtray with the others, but his mouth was feeling overfull as he had no previous intentions of swallowing his half until now. He knew he would have to also actually eat his half or lose face before everyone, so he started working on swallowing what was there.

As the frog went down, he encountered a serious problem. The frog was jumping in his stomach attempting to come back up. The CFE knew that if he threw up the loss of face would be extreme, so he attempted to keep his half down.

Well, the frog wasn't cooperating as it continued to jump in the CFE's belly seeking escape. The CFE knew that if the frog came back out he would lose face unless he could do something that exceeded "The Great Santini's" BS. He soon knew that vomiting was inevitable, and he knew what he would have to do. He was grateful for enough inebriation to help him accomplish what would soon be necessary.

Once it was evident that the frog was on his way back up, the CFE cupped his two hands together to catch the barf. When the hands were loaded up and the barfing had ceased the CFE looked at the contents of his hands and loudly exclaimed, "I guess this thing wants to be ate again!" He then drew his hands to his mouth and slurped the frog down for its second time to be devoured.

The frog started jumping again immediately once it was down the hatch the second time. The CFE knew he could not hold it down. It was time to up the ante.

The CFE again cupped his hands together to catch the barf. This time when his hands were full and the barfing was done he loudly exclaimed, "I guess this thing wants to be shared with everyone! Have some!!!" as he raised his arms and tossed the barf throughout the club. The observing denizens of the barroom made great haste to clear the place.

With no more frog to consume the CFE got himself another drink and went about his business of enjoying the evening. Topping the Great Santini's fake barf consumption even though he couldn't hold seconds down either was enough to save face. All seemed well between the two aviation companies showing the DIV-ARTY guys just how aviators partied.

The junior WOJG actually had done an excellent job keeping his half down, but one of the Army Rangers approached him and told him that some frogs are poisonous and can kill you. The junior WOJG set out to find the CFE from his sister company to share the news. Once informed, the CFE looked the junior WOJG square in the eyes and said, "I know. That's why I thew mine up." The junior WOJG spent the following few minutes in the club's restroom sticking his finger down his throat attempting to cause himself to barf without success. He survived though.

Finally the evening came to an end and all the men from the 128th headed to other haunts, but the repercussions from the aviators party at Camp Stanley were not yet over. We had all joined together to show the artillery crowd how aviators partied and had done a CAV style job of doing it. The following day the full bird colonel in charge of Camp Stanley placed all of the men from the 117th that had attended the party on restriction. He then placed a telephone call to our brand new company commander, Maj. Lewman.

Once Maj. Lewman got on the phone the colonel said, "Major! I need the names of all of your men that attended that party that took place over here last night."

Maj. Lewman who had also attended the party replied, "Colonel, I may be new but I'm not stupid! Bye!" Then he hung up the phone. Conversation over. Nothing else was ever said or done.



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