From Babbitt to Baghdad (Part 32)

A few months after my transfer to the 730th Airlift Squadron my mother would pass way. It did not have to happen. This robust 4’10 1/2″ German woman was in good health except for a lung embolism. She had survived a bout with cancer years earlier. Even though she worked at a hospital, she paid no attention to a small sore on the roof of her mouth. The spot would grow into a tumor. She finally had it removed but had to go through chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Folks that go through chemotherapy are subject to lung embolisms. My mother avoided going to the doctor and lung embolisms got the best of her 10 years later.

Many times, I would drive to March AFB from Tacoma, Washington. I had not been to my childhood home of Babbitt, Nevada save a few times since 1973. The drive from Tacoma to March AFB was a real treat. I always enjoyed the drive through Oregon and Northern California. In order to see the Sierra Nevadas and Babbitt, Nevada, I would take an exit off of I-5 just past Mount Shasta. The state route would take me through Lassen Park and into Susanville and Reno. From Reno, I would head to Fallon and then south to Hawthorne and Babbitt, Nevada. Then one had to go only 50 miles to connect with state route 395  again just north of Lee Vining, California, and Mono lake. The scenery from Lee Vining to Lone Pine is extraordinary. The east side of the Sierra Nevada is one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the lower 48.

The first time I went through Babbitt, Nevada while part of the 730th, I found that the  Babbitt housing area had been completely removed. In fact, every single federal housing unit had been raised to the ground. It seems that the Hawthorne Naval Ammunition Depot had been  BRAC listed. As a result of the Base Realignment And Closure Act, the Naval base was given to the Army and it’s mission severely reduced. The Active Duty forces of Army, Marines and Navy would be replaced with private contractors and a base commander figurehead. As a result, the entire babbitt federal housing project was not needed and the duplex units removed. The duplex units could be had for $1 if they were hauled off. The last I heard an investor from Texas bought up a bunch.

The Hawthorne SAC radar site my dad had worked at had been gone for years. Presently, the Whiskey Flats RV park sits on the ground the Rdar site sat on.

Anyways, the place of my childhood had been erased from history. The wooden baseball stadium with grandstands was gone. The copious playgrounds were gone. The large swing and missile at the Safeway were no more. The only things left were the carcasses of cement foundations. Many were covered up with sand. Without Babbitt, the treeline was not required so they stopped watering it. The once lush and healthy trees were reduced to leafless and lifeless sticks.

So not only did I lose my mother at a young age, the little housing project that I had grown up in was gone. The primary school was still there as were the schools I had attended in Hawthorne. The precious memories are still intact. The tiny classrooms are still intact. The quality teaching is still a mainstay.

A few years later, the 730th Airlift Squadron would have a Squadron picture done. The picture was taken, but I could not be seen in it. My figure was obscured by the person in front of me. The wonderful memories are still intact.

Someone has to document the efforts of the 730th AirLift Squadron and the last 5 years of the C-141 or it to will be lost to the sands of time. I gave my very best to the 730th and I feel that I am worthy of documenting this precious and historically significant time.

 

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Michelle Obama: “This is what no hope feels like?

Michelle Obama stated after her husband was elected president that she was finally proud of America. Of course, America was then entertained by Barack Obama’s “Division of America campaign!” The Obama’s mantra was “no other people’s tragedy should go to waste!” In addition, anything that could be construed or harvested as a racist incident was elevated by the media for perceived political gain.

Meanwhile, In the city of Chicago thousands of black youth would kill each other off, but the Obamas remained silent. Only white on black crime was worthy of media elevation. The youngsters of Chicago were relegated to the back pages of a newspaper that nobody reads. For them, there was truly no hope during 8 years of the Obama administration.

Now that Michelle Obama is in her last days as First lady, she has no hope for America. She is telling us that because they are leaving office that “This is what hopelessness feels like!”  Wow, instead of helping inner city black communities, the Obamas played golf or took million dollar trips. In fact, they completely forgot their Chicago roots and abandoned the folks that elevated them to the national stage.

Instead of “this is what it feels like to have no hope,” Americans understand that “this is what feels like to have no Hillary!”

Soon, Americans will be treated to “this is what it feels like to not have the  Obama’s in the Whitehouse!”

Hopefully, this will be the last we see of the Obamas and their division of America.

Michelle is only proud of America when she is the first lady. Now she has no hope and will go back to not being proud to be American.

In the final analysis, most Americans do not base their faith and hope in America on politicians. Michelle Obama does not make our breakfast in the morning. She does not pay our bills. She does not dress our children in the morning or drop them off at school. She does not wipe our asses. Our hope for the future is not predicated on the Obama’s. While Michelle does not have hope for the future, the rest of us do on our own accord. We are not defeatists that allow the media and the corrupt liberal message to formulate our opinions of reality. Screw that! Lastly, good riddance!!!!!!

 

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Trevor Siemian needs a special invitation to score in the first half

Trevor is too much of pussy to score in the first half. Best Bronco staff in history. Best Bronco defense in history. Probowl receivers. Yet he cannot stay on the field during the 1st half. That won’t work anymore. He has to fire it up or go down in flames.  He makes the adjustments or he fails. It is that simple.

This is Trevor’s drive and his chance at making Bronco history. Here is your invitation to complete in the first half and convert third downs. You have permission to score in the first half and have been ordained by the NFL priests to do so…

Don’t even think about KC or the Raiders. It is one game at a time. It is one-third down conversion at a time. It is possession receiving, Justin Forsett, accurate deep balls, the basics and special teams. We know Miller and company will show up, buy what about you?

I need a win against Josh McDaniels the asshole. I need you to dig deep and get it done. No other QB in Bronco history has been provided the opportunity to become a legend in his first year.

When Elway was backed up to the 2-yard line against Cleveland and Bernie Kosar, he said: “we have them right where we want them!”

Well, you are backed up to the 1/2 yard line and have Tom Brady right where you want him…..In Denver at Mile High in winter. Please for the love of Pete, score in the first half…..

How do you like those voices?

 

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From Babbitt to Baghdad (Part 31)

At this juncture, I have to move on from the 728th and expand on the 730th and the Northern Alliance.  The 728th Airlift Squadron introduced me to the entire world.  They trained me and then gave me a window seat to the world and knowledge.

I could talk about all the different trips and all of my obtuse observations, however, it would not be appropriate. I will elaborate on one last trip.

The 728th acquired a female load from Active Duty. She was a pretty Hispanic gal. She was quite thin and looked like a runt in a flight suit.

I signed up for a trip to Guam via Hickham AFB. Needless to say, the leg to Guam is always brutal. When we arrived at Anderson AFB, we were sent downtown for billeting. The hotel was right on the beach. It was late in the day and the sun was starting to go down. The crew quickly dressed into shorts after getting our rooms. Within 15 minutes, the cockpit crew would be sitting on the beach facing the sun. On this day, the sun would cast a brilliant light show across the clouds on the vast Pacific horizon. It was a brilliant sundown with the yellow and orange colors of the sun and dark blue light filtered through clouds. Angular sun beams would emanate from the fringes of the clouds.

Soon the sun would be touching the ocean as it went down. This would alter the light show. The light would fan across the waters of the ocean and be hard on the eyes.  About this time a female figure in a bikini walked by us and then directly in front of us. The sun seemed to absorb her into light and energy, and she seemed to be deteriorating and dissolving into the light as the sun beams emanated from her figure from every direction.  One could barely make out a human being as she blocked the sun and was bathed in light.  I did not have sunglasses on and shaded my eyes with a cupped hand at my forehead.  The bikini clad gal would walk a little farther. We then realized that this was our Loadmaster gal. In addition, while she may have looked like a runt in a flight suit, in a bikini she looked wonderful with full hips, tiny waist, beautiful legs, and a more than adequate bust line. Her hair was long, black shiny and healthy. The cockpit crew simultaneously gave a collective sigh. I would blurt out “Oh my word!”

This last memory is the way that I leave the 728th and start on the saga of the 730th Airlift Squadron and the Northern Alliance.

History belongs to those that write it. I have owned up to all of my personal failings and how I have stumbled in the past. Every veteran looks back upon their service and casts it in the most dignified manner. It was true at the Battle of the Crater to the Battle of the Bulge and beyond. We forget about human trespasses and focus on the good. I will now present the history of the 730th from September 11th, 2001 to the retirement of the mighty C-141. I will present the experience in a manner void of personal weakness, social nuisances or inept observation. I will show how I can write without incessantly using “I.” I will show in superb detail how patriots came together and put their best feet forward for the sake of the soldier. I do this with the utmost respect for those that I was allowed to serve with. Take it or leave it.

 

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Trevor Siemian and Justin Forsett working hard this week

Ronnie Hillman deserved a spot on the Denver roster for 2016. Elway and company decided to put more merit in Devonte Booker. With Hillman, we could expect a solid run here and there. Sometimes he would run into a wall of players for no gain. Other times he would break out for a 20-yard run or more. Devonte Booker, on the other hand, has settled into sub 2 yards per carry. Instead of breaking out for 20 yards here and there, he is dropped in the backfield or stopped at the line of scrimmage. His running game is in a death spiral. In fact, he sucks.

Trevor Siemian needs a special invitation to score in the first half. In that regard, he is like a Tim Tebow that cannot run the ball. Siemian is Tebowesque fashion waits until the second half to drive down the field. He has to have his back against the wall before he decides to get his shit together. In fact, his penchant for not scoring in the first half is like Peyton Manning’s self-fulfilling post-season playoff prophecy.  Manning always lost during the post season and Siemian cannot score in the first half.

This week, however, Trevor Siemian is going to work hard with Justin Forsett and the Bronco premium receiver corps. This week, the Broncos will have a running game. This week, Trevor will connect in the first half, and convert 3rd downs.

Of course, Devonte Booker should be put 3rd on the depth chart. Broncos are elevating Terrel Watson from the practice squad and seeing if the 240 pound back is a gamer. The Broncos have nothing to lose.

 

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From Babbitt to Baghdad (Part 30 )

When the 728th was not flying three ship with Jerry’s kids and the 97th, the 728th was conducting its own bad ass airdrop program. Over an 8 year period, I would fly an airdrop mission almost every week. When the flying schedule came out, I would sign up for every JAAT or local airdrop I could. I cannot remember all the good trips I performed on. Only a few standout. Like when we had the opportunity to do an airdrop trainer for the Army’s Golden Knights paratrooper team. The Flying Knights would airdrop the Golden Knights. Hoo fucking rah…

This TDY particular mission was conducted at Laguna Army Airfield close to Yuma, Arizona. During the day, we conducted several sorties. The 728th had two really good airdrop pilots that had just gotten off Active Duty. Like NFL free agents, they became the core of the 728th JAAT program. I would fly with these guys at Laguna Army Airfield, and countless other airdrop missions. They were affectionately known as the haircut 100 because they resembled the band. The 728th Navigator looked like the drummer. The sax player looks like a pilot in the 730th that played excellent chess and was a John Jacob Jingle Heimer.

At Laguna, we would load up the aircraft with the Golden Nights. Once all checklist items were completed, we would take off at TRT and climb 75% flaps with only 40,000 pounds of gas on board.  TRT is take off rated thrust. On a hot Arizona day, one would have to watch the engine temp limits closely even before the 5 minute TRT limit is reached. I did not understand how much of a performance machine the C-141 was until I was able to climb out with TRT and 75% flaps. Not only that, the pilots pulled the yoke back and climbed at an incredible climb rate. We would be at 10,000 feet within just a few minutes. The aircraft would then make a few right turns and fly downwind next to the runway. Meanwhile, the crew would quickly run all the appropriate airdrop checklists. The Load would stand them up, and when the green light came on, these Golden Knights would be shoved out the door.

Once all the jumpers were off, the pilots would force the nose down, and rapidly lose altitude while doing a spiraling descend  to base leg and  final. The aircraft would dump 75000 feet  during one single 360-degree spiral.  The rest would be dumped on a short final.  This exciting event would be topped off with a perfect touchdown where one could not even feel the main gear wheels contacting the runway. The aircraft would be on the ground and taxiing to the staging area before the Golden Knights hit the ground.

We would load more Golden Knights and repeat the event several times.

When the training mission was completed, it was back to Yuma in the totally beater DOD Dodge van, and the nice hotel we were staying at. During the evening, it was all about Mexican food. I even had the pleasure of taking my crew to Chretins Mexican restaurant.  My wife was born in Yuma and her family’s favorite place to eat  was Chretins.. Diane grew up in Tacna on a cotton farm that bordered the Gila river and had Colorado river rights. Whenever the family went into Yuma, they would eat at Chretins.  The owner was a Hispanic World War II  U.S. Army veteran. They even made their own tortillas which were sold all over town.

The only bad thing about Laguna Army Airfield is that it does not have a  low profile shit truck to service the aircraft latrine. Even Yuma Marine Corps Air Station does not have one.  We had to pick up the Golden Knights from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. On the way to Arizona, the Golden Knights availed themselves to crapping in the crew latrine en masse. By the time the 10-day mission was over, the smell from the crew latrine was intolerable. Ya gotta be tough to fly the heavies…..

 

 

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Justin Forsett makes immediate impact on Bronco running game

Except for calling plays that rushed Justin Forsett into a wall of defenders, number 20 made an immediate impact on the Bronco running game. Not only does Justin Forsett retain the hands he had in the Ravens backfield, he his rushing is more than adequate. In fact, had it not been for a forced fumble and penalties, Forsett would have been a force to reckon with. Even with the limited yardage shown during the Bronco/Titans game, Forsett should be considered as first in the depth chart. He is much more dynamic when compared to Devonte Booker.  Moreover, should the Bronco play calling improve, and Forsett is the real deal, he will drastically improve the 3rd down conversion rate. Of late, Devonte Booker is not even a change of pace back,

Trevor Siemian plays well in the second half but seems to have a mental block scoring in the first half. It is either that or the fellas calling the plays are losing consistency. Justin Forsett is rested up. The Broncos need to see if he can pound the line and be used during every down. Let him establish his feel for the line and then leverage the passing and running game. As it is, the play callers let him run the ball once and then try other things before fully exploiting Forsett’s ability. They bring in a veteran and then avoid establishing the running game.

Devonte Booker seems to be settling into a sub 3-yard  per carry average. In fact, he is now working on a sub 2-yard per carry average. If he does not bust out for a 2-yard carry, he is either stopped at the line of scrimmage or dropped in the backfield. Booker does not make the cuts and does not have Justin Forsett’s ability to quickly assess the field and exploit the posture weakness’s  of defenders. The broncos would be better off elevating another running back from the practice squad and placing Booker 3rd on the depth chart.

The Broncos have nothing to lose. They either establish the running game with Forsett or they are left with throwing the ball 50 times a game.

In the second half of the Titan’s game, Trevor and the receiver corps were really coming on.  I think the Broncos are ready to put everything together and be successful in the first half and the second half. Life is good in Broncoville.

 

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From Babbitt to Baghdad ( Part 29 )

Sometimes a trip would be maximum fun because everyone on the crew was competent, cool and nourishing. On one particular mission, we broke in Frankfurt, Germany for several days. A few days later Friday would show up. The entire crew decided to take the train to Heidelburg and visit the numerous beer gardens there. The first place we stopped at was epic. The place had a beer garden and was packed to the hilt with partying Germans.

I was the only one on the crew that spoke German. At first, the officers were a little embarrassed when I attempted my German lingo with a pseudo-Yankee Bavarian accent.  They interrupted my adequate attempt at communication.  As a result, the waitress brought us all .33 glasses of beer instead of  big 1/2 liter glasses which were only a 1/2 Euro more. The Loadmaster chugged his 1/3 liter in one gulp and then looked on like a dog that did not get a morsel from the table. Anyway, that presented me with another opportunity to speak German when ordering the next round. This time, the table was filled with fresh cold German 1/2 liter beer glasses full of Heidelburg’s best. Of course, the Loadmaster had to chug his down in just a few moments.

After about the 3rd or 4th round of beers, we all ordered up every manner of German fare from Bratwurst to Yeager Schnitzel.  We ate voraciously and then drank more German beer. By that time the German words were flying out of my mouth.

the only limitation we had to overcome was getting back to the Heidelburg train station for the last scheduled train to Darmstadt. We were running late so we took a short cut. It seems a few on the crew knew Heidelburg quite well so we all simply followed.  Most of us were drunk off our asses and did not know where the hell we were. While we were walking through an alleyway, the crew came upon a mountain of plastic beer cases. These beer cases were literally stacked to the top of the building and were at least 20 feet across. At this point, the Loadmaster lost it and started climbing up a natural beer case stairway to the top of the beer case mountain. Once at the top, he played like he was searching for beer.  He then started tossing the beer cases at the rest of the crew as we engaged in a drunken dodgeball session.  The Flight Engineers retaliated and started throwing the cases back at him. One Engineer did a full frontal assault on his beer case breastworks, while I flanked the Load monkey.  After a few minutes of muskets blazing the vanquished Loadster capitulated like a Frenchman. The pilots were bent over laughing so hard that they almost puked.

We would coax the Loadmaster down from the mountain of beer cases and continue our drunken journey to the Bahnhof. A few minutes later the train would show and we would be “all aboard!” Within minutes, the entire crew would be passed out as we headed back to the hotel. The  train’s rhythmic knocking of the tracks and the omnipresent  jetlaggation simply put us to sleep.

A big part of any MAC trip was eating with the crew. Sometimes everything was pleasant and copacetic. Other times it only took one person to ruin a good meal. I once did a trip to St. Croix. We had one day off. That evening we all got together for dinner at a nice resort hotel that sat on the beach. One of our pilots became a social idiot after a glass of wine. He had ordered a bottle of $10 dollar restaurant wine to go along with his dinner. A $10 bottle of wine at a restaurant is really a $3 bottle of crappy wine that is wholesaled off in batches.  In other words, it is the shittiest wine would one could ever buy. Well, this pilot was sampling the shitty bottle of wine like he was a Napa valley wine consumer. He sampled the bouquet and engaged his mouth in all manner of wine tasting regalia. Then after drinking half the bottle, he said it tasted bad, argued with the waiter and demanded a replacement bottle. About this time, the meals showed up. After a few bites, the socially inept pilot  summoned the waiter and demanded a different meal altogether. The poor waiter feeling terrible brought him another bottle of wine which the pilot consumed at a brisk pace. The rest of the crew was embarrassed and insulted at this point.

We had all finished our meals when this guy’s second dinner course showed up. He took a few bites and skewered the waiter once again. Then after it was all said and done, he did not have the cash or the appropriate credit card to purchase the meal. the rest of the crew paid for his meal as he left 75% of the food on his plate. Collectively, the crew spent close to $200 on a really good dinner at a nice establishment on the beach in the Carribean, and this guy fucks up the entire evening. Even the “Baby Load “was disturbed.

The guy was a competent pilot and interacted at a high level when sober. Once he had 3 glasses of wine in him, he lost every bit of his composure and was an embarrassment. His behavior tainted the rest of the trip and he was a social and professional liability. I prefer a bullet proof pilot that does not show weakness or excessive ego. I like pilots who deserve the big bucks and status and lead by example.  I hate being led by an officer that fell through the cracks. Timezones, alcohol, and  jetlag induced aviator bi-polar disorder is a nasty combination to endure. The resultant contemptuous familiarity can devastate a pilot’s credibility and destroy the ability to lead. Then again, I was an enlisted man and a slob. I maintained the lowest standards of conduct and military bearing. I saw a bigger picture. I mean someone had to do it for the good of the service. We can’t all be pathologically dedicated buzzcut ass kissers. Someone has to anchor the madness.

When I sit down to a meal in a nice restaurant, I like to enjoy the food and the company. I was a bit hard to take given that I am an  aggressive ADD extrovert bravo male with a Napoleonic complex. My behavior and big mouth did not suit the pilot mentality, their attention span deficiency disorder or their officer status superiority complex. Most of the time I would withdraw and pretend that I was interested in the incessant pilot interview chatter. Other times I would brag about buying another rental so I could retire with a 4-star general retirement. I was still under the assumption that the one with the most toys wins. I had to make up for the article 15s, letters of reprimand, being busted and not being an officer. The game is always in play and not over until the fat lady is driving a BMW. I am an enlisted man and a slob……

I also loved to go a few streets back and find where the locals eat. Most of the time, one finds the tastiest ethnic food for pennies on the dollar. There is nothing like soul food with an island flare. With all the places that i have eaten across the world, I am lucky I don’t have hepatitis.

When one is a Reserve bum, one must watch every penny. We had a pilot in the 728th that was so cheap that he would bring his own food on a trip. In lieu of a nice meal in Germany or wild beast in Kenya, he settled for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. If there were MREs on the aircraft, he would eat an entire box and leave nothing for the rest of the crew. On a 10 day trip to Africa, he literally ate 3 cases of MREs.

On one airdrop mission trip to Hawaii, I flew with a really cool Flight Engineer that had just gotten out of Active Duty. He and I ate several meals together. Every meal he ordered was magnificent. Every dish that I ordered was terrible. Not only did it taste suspect, it looked like a dreadful dinner. By the end of the stay in Honolulu, we had laughed our asses off over the serial substandard delicacies that I ordered versus his excellent choices. Sometimes you just have to order “the special” and cross your fingers.

In the 728th, we had several Hawaiian Loadmasters. When I was with them in Honolulu,  I followed them to all the hole in the wall places and ate  at the best “nonhowley’ food  establishments on the island.

When I broke in Frankfurt during a Bosnia support mission, we stayed at the Frankfurt Marriott. A breakfast was $38. Instead, of eating there,  I  would walk two kilometers to the Frankfurt Bahnhof  for food. I would drink two cappuccino espressos, eat a schnitzel sandwich, and a bratwurst  for less than $10. The real treat was the massive stainless steel cooking bowl full of freshly cut homefries.

At the time, one could tell the difference between an East German and a West German by their clothes. I can only compare it to a combination of redneck hunting clothes and colorful migrant worker clothes versus expensive German business attire. The West Germans wore leather. The East Germans wore flannel and generic Soviet-made pants. When a train would arrive, hundreds of People would walk out of the Bahnhof or to another train.  The crowd of West Germans would be dotted with East Germans in colorfully drab and faded communist made clothes. Their shoes were a small aesthetic step above brogans or nondistinct cheaply made military boots. Some East Germans would ride the trains from East Germany to every part of West Germany for a job. The alternative was being unemployed with the other 20% to 30% of unemployed East Germans.

The biggest treat of them all was eating several different types of meat in Africa or South America. The best steak I ever had was range fed Australian beef at the Balck Stump in Penrith, Australia. It was way better than the Kobe beef on Okinawa. The best fish is at Pago Pago. The worst place to eat is probably Great Britain. Close to Trafalgar square, a few pieces of pizza and a coke are $30.It was really all you can eat, but who can eat more than two pieces of dry cold shitty pizza? The place looked to be run by some dudes from the Middle East. The Brits call them Packies. Boy, they sure were stingy with the pizza. The place must have been a tourist trap place. One could tell by the cold assed pizza….

 

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From Babbitt to Baghdad (Part 28)

The U.S. Navy has some of the best bases in the world. Rota Naval Air Station in Rota, Spain is one of them. The base is situated right on the beautiful southern coast of Spain. One can stroll down the cobblestone streets and dart in and out of the numerous retail shops, and coffee houses. The beach area is long and wonderful with a boardwalk.

In Europe, many stone  city structures are centuries and centuries old. Everything is stucco, stone, and tile. A stone sidewalk elegantly flows into a small shop threshold, and then onto a floor built from Spanish mosaic tile. The fresh treats are proudly displayed in glass cases. Once the espresso and chocolate eclairs have been purchased, a warm and friendly wooden chair was waiting in the corner by the window. I would settle in, take a few sips and look out over the street. The road would be filled with little Fiats and scooters with a beep here and there. The sidewalk full of beautiful young Spanish girls with tight Levi jeans, pump boots, and super bras in thin t-shirts. Most if not all had wonderful figures. Their  long thick hair shiny and healthy.

In the evenings, after a sedated walk on the boardwalk, the crew would head to a little Spanish bar and grill. We would sit outside, feast on fresh Spanish fare and drink ice Sangria by the pitcher full. The weather would be perfect as a Mediterranean breezed  blew lightly. On occasions like these, the crew knew that it was a once in a lifetime experience. The normal banter of aircrew would give way to reflection, enjoyment, and simple harmony. Of course one of the loads would utter “Ola” incessantly as the copious beautiful Levi-clad Spanish girls with super bras and high-heeled pump boots wondered by. With each gulp of Sangria, we all became bolder and cheered the Hawaiian Load whenever he  blurted out “Ola!” Soon the evening would be filled with laughter and hilarity. But alas , it would be an early night. The crew would finish the last tasty picture of Sangria and head back to Rota NAS. We would stumble back to billeting and get good rest for the next day’s sortie. A quick stop at Ramstein and then on to McGuire AFB, New Jersey.  The old world cobblestone streets, stone, and tile, would become an asphalt jungle,  franchise fast food eateries, and an Eastern seaboard winter.

There is nothing like flying over the Rock of Gibraltar at 10,000 feet on a clear day. The Rock is massive and strikes awe. On this trip, we were to crew rest in Morroco. We landed at a Morrocan military field and then took a taxi to a nearby city. The morning fog was so thick that one could not see more than a few feet ahead as the taxi driver sped along.

Later in the evening, the hotel bar was full of people. I was extremely jet lagged but managed a few beers while sitting at the bar. One fella was buying 80 dollar bottles of premium hard liquor for the group of people he was with. When he turned to go back to his group, he dropped his Red Box Marlboro cigarettes. I jumped from my bar stool, picked them up. tapped him on the shoulder, and said, “You dropped these!”  He would thank me in perfect English and invite me to his table. He also had a waiter retrieve another bottle of $80 hard liquor.  He then gave it to me as a gift for picking up his cigarettes. He also offered me any of the women at his table for sex. It turns out the guy was a Saudi Air Force pilot who belonged to the Saudi Royal family. All the women at his table were Morrocan whores. He said, “here take her, she is yours and my gift to you!” I was jetlagged to the max, didn’t drink hard liquor, and these Morrocan whores scared the hell out of me. I thanked him and then excused myself from the table.

In Saudi Arabia, women cannot drive cars and must wear the burka in public. In Saudi Arabia, women have no rights and can be stoned to death for even the slightest offense. I found it odd that a Saudi Royal Prince was sharing company with filthy disease ridden Morrocan whores and offering them up to strangers for picking up a pack of smokes from a bar room floor.

Out in the courtyard of the hotel, a Morrocan wedding party was in full swing. It was still going in the morning when the crew jumped in the taxi and headed back to the airfield.

 

 

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