Monday, February 11, 2013

Hawk(Bird) and Hawk(Wind) Return....Griffiss/Air Force Days part 16

It seems the flu bug is still in full force...daughter-in-law has it, thus we cancelled our baby sitting gig with the "K-Man" on Saturday, after all who wants to go out on a Anniversary Dinner Date when you can't hold it down?  So we have pushed that back a couple of weeks, until later in February...that way I'll be done with basketball and we can spend more time with the grandson...hopefully the flu/cold bug will be done...because as of yesterday Patricia came down with her own brand of cold/flu, whatever?  She is pretty miserable and took the day off from school...and taking a look at her, she may not be ready for tomorrow either.  The bug, which{knock wood} has so far eluded me, is still around...I filled in Saturday for an official who has the bug..I worked his games at the Junior High girls tourney at Elida.  Talking with the tournament manager, he told me of the 800+ students in the school, over 270 were out in a single day last week....close to shutting down the school.  Let's hope that runs its course in quick order.

The Hawk Returns....

Overnight the wind picked up, thus the return of the Hawk,  in old Air Force terms...that is what we called the wind as it blew across the flight lines at the various bases during cold weather months.  The Hawk was the enemy of the roving Security Police, we always considered the cold and wind much more dangerous than any possible intruder, at least stateside. 

Speaking of Hawks, I have written about and attached photos of our back yard visiting Red Tail Hawk that has been around for quite a few winters now....I believe it's the same one.  For the first a handful of years, I was thinking it was a Marsh Hawk...but as the winters passed it grew with age, and if it is the same one, it became more evident that it was a large Red Tail....Marsh Hawks tend to be more lean in length, while the Red Tail Hawk is a larger more stocky bird, and the color  of the tail varies in color, sometimes red, sometimes a grey striped....anyway this old boy{girl} has been hanging around for a few years, feeding, or at least trying to feed, on the Sparrows that feed off seed in the back yard.  Yesterday was the Hawk's longest visit, hanging around for over an hour, before taking off before sunset, probably empty handed.

Griffiss 1970-72...

Griffiss Air Force Base was the base where I spent a lion's share of my 3 years 10 months and 11 days of my Air Force time....it was also the base I can honestly say I despised.  SAC, as in Strategic Air Command, was as Chicken Shit duty as you'll find in the Air Force.  Sure SAC has an important part and duty in the defense of the nation, but it was also sidelined with a fixation on short hair, spit shine, and allegiance to simple minded orders...those didn't fit me, and I did my best to buck the system for my final 20 months of duty.

I gave it my all to drive the "lifers" I served under batty, especially those I didn't particularly care for...Joe Gomez, "Taco Joe" as we called him, was my favorite target.  Joe on several occasions tried to stick me with Article 15s, once for refusing to get a haircut, which was a lie...I grabbed one of the young lawyers on base, and we proved that my haircut was "legit".  Another time Gomez and one of his Staff Sgt "Toadies" tried to catch me sleeping on a Delta Dart 106 post, I had gotten a flu shot that morning and, in writing, warned them that I was having health issues due to the shot..."Foiled Again" he was. 

After driving Joe and Company a bit nuts for a year or so, his ass was shipped to Germany...meanwhile I was comfortable , and still a Buck Sgt, as my days waned down.  I had a run in with a Brigadier General, once again about the length of my hair, then again with a F-106 pilot, and both times, nothing came of it.  Yes it was silly mindless BS, but it was my way of revenge for what I thought was the usual "CS"...that would finally come to a rather sudden end in May 1972.

Early in 1972, the rotating shifts for Security Police would end in SAC...we would be assigned permanent duty hours.  I worked "A" Flight, which was day shift, with Monday and Tuesdays as my days off....that final duty would signal the end of my Air Force days....

I was assigned to work as NCOIC of a small group of Airman, in Security, most of them from the New York City area, who were serving their first tours of duty....one sunny spring day, we were working in the Delta Dart 106 area, when the assistant squadron chief, a first lieutenant, came to check on us....to say I didn't like this little bastard, was an understatement...we called him "Adolph" behind his back...he had a little Hitler style Mustache, regulation of course.  So Adolph came calling, and how it came about escapes me all these years later....but it ended with my standing with my back to him, he made the mistake of grasping me on my shoulder, to get my attention...taking the golden opportunity, I yanked away and backhanded him with a glancing blow....with that action I'm sure Adolph thought he had me by the short hairs....he was wrong.

Major Bartles, the 416th SPS Squadron Commander called me in..."Here it goes"  I thought..."8 weeks to go, and here I am, headed for the court room"....Turns out the Major, who confessed he didn't like "Adolph" either, had talked with the handful of young airman, and they swore to him that the lieutenant made the first move, and I was just acting in my own defense....end of problem, although it would be the end of my career in the AF.

The Major told me he would offer me an early discharge, one where I would get out on 5 May 72, with an Honorable Discharge, but with the stipulation that I would not be eligible to Re-Enlist...."WTF" I thought, if I had known that, I would have decked the little bastard weeks or months before...I was relieved of duty, and within 72 hours I was a free man....no two years of inactive reserves, no haircuts{although a Chief Master Sgt tried to force me to get one before signing my discharge papers...that didn't work either}, no more stupid uniforms, orders, regulations, etc...I was a free man, so to speak.

Over the years I have come to look at those nearly four years in a different manner....after years of ignoring my thoughts/memories on that time, I found the VSPA and came to embrace those times...both the good and bad.   I will take a final look back on the Epilogue of this story in the next posting.

Final Regular Season Dartball action tonight, at Schumm....tournament up next, followed by the All-Star Game and Banquet....back later>>>>

Photos-The Red Tail Hawk, in serch of stray Sparrows kept vigil in the back yard yesterday for over an hour....The KC 135 refueling jet and the Delta Dart F -106s were among the Aircraft, along with the B-52s, that were the main planes of Griffiss, as was the 9 months of winter...here my new Dodge Charge sit buried in the SPS Barracks Lot for most of the winter of 71-72....

1 comment:

HondoTX said...

Speaking of SAC stupidness: Fairchild AFB, Winter, Close-In Sentry. We had a relatively new Flight Chief who was spit and polish. I went to guardmount with my bunny pants on because, 1)I knew I would be Close-In Sentry, 2) I knew it would be 15 degrees below zero later that night, 3) It was 10 degrees at the time. FC axed me if my fatigues were starched and pressed. I answered, "No." He told me to pull down my bunny pants so he could see! It's not like I said, "Yes" and he wanted to verify I was telling the truth. Son-of-a-bitch. Luckily I was short and went to England where I had the best Flight Chief for two years.