A Night Off From the Trail

Several weeks ago, I introduced readers here at Wow! Magazine to Veterans’ Tales, a new website, for veterans by veterans .  Our friend Vassar Bushmills is co-owner and the “garritrooper” of for veterans by veterans which has since gone live.

Below is an article written by Editor-In-Chief, Allen Ness* who has can tell a good story leaving the reader captivated.  Enjoy.

Veterans’ Tales by Allen Nessa

94-96, Ft Benning GA.  Drill Sergeant duty was a great experience, I learned a lot but it was long, drudgerous work.  Up at 0300 home again at 2300, that’s worst case but it went on for three weeks at a stretch.  Then throw in CQ or Staff Duty roll the “max Drills” dice when you don’t get 24 hours off after pulling 24 hour duty.  Damn, snake eyes again.  The best it got to was 0400 to 2000, better than a sharp stick in the eye but only marginally.

So a buddy of mine from the Wolfhounds calls and says he’s coming to Ft Benning for school.  We immediately make plans for a drunken reunion commencing upon his arrival.  I told my partner and he was fully supportive.  I was going to get an entire evening off from the trail!  I left work at 1700 changed into blue jeans and my favorite black t-shirt, slipped into the really cool snakeskin boots I had then and drove to the airport.  The Columbus GA airport wasn’t Atlanta Hartsfield but it had a bar.  That was enough, all I needed was “a honky tonk song, a cold cold beer, a hardwood floor, a smokey atmosphere.  A pocket full of change would last me all night long, I need to hear ol’ Hank moanin’ a honky tonk song.”

Unlike poor George, it wasn’t the law that stepped into my night off.  It was work.  Work in the form of a poor dumb Private.  There I was, saddled up to the bar, just me and the bartender, I ordered a draft and got it instantly.  My buddy’s flight was due in about thirty minutes, perfect.  Then the private strolled in.  My eyes were trained, I could spot a uniform violation from 400 meters, he was only across the bar but I couldn’t help but notice the pack of Marlboros buttoned into the pocket of his Class B shirt.  I knew instantly he was going home on emergency leave, the skeeter wings on his collar and the “Thank You For Joining The Army” ribbon all by its lonesome self above the Marlboros gave it away.  Trainees weren’t allowed to smoke by regulation, on leave or off  My blood pressure kicked into high gear but I shook it off telling myself “If he stays away from me I’ll ignore him, poor kid, let him go home and deal with whatever it is that caused his emergency leave.”  I turned back to the bar and sipped my cold, cold beer trying to get my mind right.

The bartender cut his eyes toward me, I knew things weren’t going as I’d hoped and he obviously recognized me by my high and tight flattop haircut.  Even the bartender knew this private was putting his own head in the noose.

I had done some travelling by this point in my career, America was the only place I’d encountered this phenomena, we called it “The Queer Bubble.”  Every American has one, its known as personal space by scientists and it extends to arms length.  Everything within my arms length is mine and the instant anything violates that space, even behind you, your queer bubble sets off an alarm.  The best example I can think of is the urinals in the men’s room.  If there are three urinals men only use the first one and the third one[…]

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*Allen Ness is a retired Army Master Sergeant, Jumpmaster- Paratrooper, CIB, several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, a marvelous artist with ink, paint and music, a military historian par excellence, and as just mentioned, better read than most English Lit professors at Dartmouth or Military History instructors at the War College…. (Source: Veterans’ Tales)
About Puma ByDesign 637 Articles
Unhyphenated American female, born and raised in the Empire State and who like most New Yorkers, in spite of being a registered Democrat, I voted for the candidate, not the party which meant voting often across party lines throughout the years. In 2008, coming to terms once and for all with the fact that Democrats and I had nothing in common, I left the liberal cesspool forever. Of course, I now have a grudge to settle after decades of being lied to and so I blog to right the wrongs and expose the lies.