Chapter 15: The Red-headed stepchildren

Yes, as mentioned before, we are all one, big, dysfunctional Marine Corps family. At work, the red-headed step-children of the family were known as Flightline. They were odd creatures. They would do anything for money. Pick each others noses and eat whatever they dug out, eat dead frogs off of the flight line, drink a gallon of whole milk in one hour, drink hot sauce, put batteries to their tongue, smoke a cigar in less than five minutes, or drink Simple Green - if you had a dollar, they would do whatever you wanted them to do. 
We were constantly surrounded by them. They lived in the barracks with us, we had to follow along with them during FOD walk, had to listen to them whine about their pay. They were needy, but fun to hang out with. Many of my friends were mechanics. We hung out a lot and did many things together. But we loved to make fun of each other. There were some things that they would do that would make you laugh so hard, that would literally pee your pants.
There was a time when a certain mechanic, who was overweight, needed to make weight. So what does he do? Takes Exlax before the PFT/weigh-in to shed some of the extra pounds. If any of you have ran, you know that running can, at times, be a natural laxative. Well, when you mix a natural laxative of running + Exlax, you get a chocolate mess, and not the good chocolate. After the PFT, he had "chocolate" dripping down his leg. Next thing you know, he was running into the New River to "wash up". Einstein. Freakin' Einstein.
I personally hated going into their shop. They knew we "needed" them because the geedunk was located in their shop. When you wanted something to eat or drink, you just had to pray that no one was in the shop or you would be taunted. I never planned my trip down there successfully. As soon as I walked through the door, "What do you want?" "Who let the POGs out?" "Hey, did you fix my pay yet?" "Hey, fatty, you don't need that." Ugh. H A T E D going down there. All the cool people were upstairs with me. I think they were jealous because we were awesome. The SNCO's adored us. We pretty much got whatever we wanted from them. Same with the officers. They were such smart men.
 I would be a liar if I didn't admit that many of my friends were grease monkeys. And of course, I dated a few. Under all the grease and toughness, they were nice guys, but it was so easy to mess with them. For some reason though, we always felt like we had to prove ourselves to them or be validated by them, because deep down, although I hate to admit it, they were the cool guys.
When I first checked in, they were the ones who welcomed me to the unit. If I needed anything, they were willing to help out. Granted, they were like Jekyll and Hyde. When in front of their friends, they were total jerks but when you were with them one-on-one, they were some of the most awesome people you would ever meet. That is why when I was promoted to Corporal, I wanted the hazing. For some reason, I wanted the people of flightline to pin my chevrons on me. I asked about 10 people and they all declined. I only had one taker, and he half-assed it. To me, that means they didn't want to hurt their sister, which is what I felt like to them.
All of us 204 children had this step-father that would make you shake your head. That Sergeant Major of ours was a character. I remember when he first checked in. He was determined to turn the "wing" into a "ground" unit. Bless his little heart, he really tried. We had squadron PT, NCO runs, more detailed Field Days, wall locker inspections if you failed Field Day inspection. But no matter how much he tried, we slowly turned him into a "wing" Marine. I think he appreciated our efforts.
I personally had a love/hate relationship with him. He always took one bite out of my lunch when I would get up. You knew it was him because the bite was the shape of the partial in his mouth. Hated him. He would call you into his office and ask you how to send an email. How cute? Loved him. Weighed me in once a week because one time I wore a pair of unflattering pants in his presence. He thought I was overweight (which I wasn't). DETESTED HIM. Karma is a beautiful thing though. One day out of no where, he just fell down the stairs. It was hard not to laugh, but hey, it was pretty damn funny.
 But what touched my heart was when he read out loud,  an email that described the devastation of the US Embassies in Kenya, Nairobi and Tanzania. At that moment, I finally knew what it meant to be in the military and why we were there. Our purpose was to protect this country and the realization set in. At this moment, I knew that the love that I had for my Marine Corps, my fellow brothers and sisters, and this great Country was genuine. I became angry that someone could do something to hurt my family.
Some of the Marines, regardless of their job or rank, meant the world to me. Marines are the most amazing humans. There is a toughness that is instilled in every body that carries this title.  The friendships that I made over a decade ago are still very close to my heart and these are people that I will never forget.


  1. Reminds me of when we would make the new joins try to eat a package of mre crackers in under two minutes without water. If they could they wouldn't get to make one of the nco's do something. Don't remember what it was but didn't really matter no one ever did it.

  2. I could barely eat one of those crackers they were so dry...good times though! :)

  3. MRE crackers were like eating cotton balls!


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