Posted by Lex, on August 20, 2006

Midnight rations – midrats. A big glass of cold orange juice, a bacon and cheese omelet, toast stacked on the tray, and no waiting. The rest of the mids crew gathered at a couple of tables near the drink dispensers and Tom joined them. As they ate he caught up with his friends.

When the truck dropped them on the flight line, the area was nearly deserted. Most of night shift had been secured for several hours. A small number of NCOs joined them in maintenance control to transition. The Navy birds were gone. Number 6 was back to being a hanger queen. There were going to be early launches, preflights at 0600. Eleven birds were buttoned up and available. Mid crew scattered to their work areas, hunting for a comfortable spot to relax, read, write a letter, or most likely, sleep.

He sat down with Staff Sergeant Alders, “Ok Bill, between us, tell me what happened.”

Bill looked at him, “All I got is scuttlebutt, most of that from Top.”

“Yeah, and that’s as close as I’m going to get the real story.”

“Ok, did you hear about anything since you secured?”

“No, I hit the ‘ville. I’m still not sure she believes I’m at work. Once I’m off in the daytime, maybe, but I don’t know. She walked me out onto the bridge and watched me go through the gate.”

“Serves you right. Anyway, the Navy crew came in, hardly spoke to anyone. They inspected, buttoned up and launched. We sat and watched. Seemed ok, but I think they were pretty pissed.”

“So who did it, really? And whose idea was it?”

Bill paused, “That I’m saying. You may find out, but not from me. I will tell you who took the blame. Gunny Hurst..”

“What? Hurst wasn’t even on mids. And you had to know, but you wouldn’t have actually been turning wenches.”

“Look, when the AMO sent me in to see Hurst, it was my chance to get a story straight with him. The Major had pressed him for names, and he made a stand, I guess. Said he’d done it, come down early and went out there himself, while his guys were sleeping. I walked into it, but I don’t know. You know I’m not re-upping? I’ll have 8 years this fall, and I’m getting out. So I said I was involved.”

“You’re not shipping over? Wow, I missed something. But what about Gunny Hurst, he must have 12, maybe 13 in. What are they going to do?”

Bill looked at the floor and shook his head, “He’s over 14. But the answer to your question is nothing.”

Tom sat up and looked at him, “Nothing? What do you mean, they just let it go?  That Commander looked like he wanted somebody’s head on a plate.”

Bill looked up and smiled, “Alright here’s your scuttlebutt, Tom. The AMO was classmates with the XO of the Navy squadron. Apparently by the time the CO landed, Major Higgins had convinced them that he would handle it appropriately. They launched and left, with the agreement was that our squadron would handle discipline internally.”

“But they must know it wasn’t Hurst.”

“The AMO wanted to know who really did it. He threatened Captain’s Mast, and Hurst said he’d ask for a courts-martial. They got the CO got into it. I sat there wondering how far it was going to go, but I figured I could do the next 5 months as a Corporal and it was way too late to back down. So Hurst and I get a “official” reprimand, a page 11 entry. They shuffled the crews around, you’re the new QA on mids, I’m maintenance control.”

“And that’s it? Nobody even loses a stripe?”

“Far as I know, it’s over. I wouldn’t be asking anyone else about it, Tom, best to let this one go. It’s just going to be like it didn’t happen. Hurst covered for them, put his career on the line when they were in the wrong. You know his whole shop knows it. I don’t know what they thought of him before, but he’s their  hero now. But only a couple of people know the AMO used a class friendship from the Academy to help cover for the Squadron, he went out on a limb, too. Top told me, I told you. I know you’re going to write it down. But don’t spread it around, I mean it. This was close to going the other way.”


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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Tales Of The Sea Service

One response to “GB – VMFA XVI

  1. Pingback: Index – The Rest of Neptunus Lex | The Lexicans

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