A Couple of Tales from Thomas Kirkpatrick - '74-'77
Now Playing: Thom K
Topic: Raider Stories
After we lost the best company commander and first sergeant I've ever worked with, I was asked to give a hand to SGT Levi Browning, our PLL NCO. We were to prepare for another IG inspection. Now if you know SGT Browning, you know he's good at what he does and that he's a good-ole boy from Texas. Our new C.O., CPT Fehrenbach, was facing a tough transition to commanding a boat company, given that he came from the Infantry, didn't know diddly about boats in particular or the Transportation Corps in general. Add to this the palpable resentment throughout the 1097th at the relief of CPT Cartwright and 1SGT Ekern, both of whom were really first rate people. Suffice to say there were numerous problems for the new captain. So, the time comes for the company-level inspections of all areas prior to the IG's visit. After tightening a few things up at the PLL shed at dock 45, we lined up and came to attention. The good captain looked around at the parts stored there, took a brief look at the books, and then addressed SGT Browning, "You're doing an excellent job here, SGT Browning." Browning thanked the captain, and then as the captain turned to leave asked, "Captain, you know the old one about leading a horse to water?" CPT Fehrenbach indicated that he knew it. SGT Browning then said, "Why, I bet you could make that horse drink, sir." "How's that, SGT Browning?" asked our new CO. "Why sir, you'd put his muzzle in the trough, and reach around the other end and suck on his ass, sir."
Being a newly-minted E-5, I was briefly shocked to the core and then had to exert super-human self control to stifle the laughter welling up within me. I almost succeeded. Almost.
Here's one more: Very late one night, Danny Horvath and a few of us were returning from a visit to the Colombian "Embassy" and other parts of Colon. It was at least 2:30 in the morning. We're looking and feeling our very best after this "diplomatic mission." As we approach the barracks at Ft. Davis, we slowly began to notice that there seemed to be an unusual amount of traffic on base. Military traffic, too. Then we noticed that a lot of buildings had a lot of lights on. Still more curious. Finally it dawned on us that there was some kind of alert going on. Oh, shit, we thought. Better get it in gear, fast. We hit the ground-floor door at a dead run. Taking the stairs two or more at a time, I decided to cut through the Day Room to get to the stairwell on the other side of the building as it was closer to my room. And uniform. And other gear. I hit the Day Room door at about mach 1.6, and as I passed through the Day Room I noticed several strange officers. As I passed them at a dead run I said, "Good morning, sirs!" I heard later that I was the source of a fair bit of amusement for them, as CPT Fehrenbach had been standing directly behind the door I had opened with no little amount of force. The good captain was propelled bodily into and over the CQ's desk, ass over tea kettle. I never noticed a thing. To be completely fair to the CO, he never said a thing about it. At least not to me. When I ETS'd in December of that year, he provided me with a very good letter of recommendation.