Chapter 38: Flying in a PHROG

Being stationed on an air station had a few perks. I was able to "swing with the wing", I was able to walk up and down the flight line searching for foreign object debris (FOD), got a daily visit from the Roach Coach, who always had yummy breakfast sandwiches, and of course, had a commanding officer who was never in his office because he was always flying. Ah, yes, the perks of the wing.
I was stationed at a training squadron for the CH-46s, also known as Phrogs. I am not sure what freaked me out more: 1) knowing that these aircraft were older than the rack in my barracks room, 2) knowing that these aircraft were fixed by the mechanic's who I wouldn't trust shaking a vending machine to get my honey bun out of, or 3) knowing that the crew chief's, who were lighting their asses on fire the night before, were flying with pilots who were learning how to fly aircraft...not a great combination in my opinion.
One day, I was wandering around the halls of the squadron and managed to find my way into flight equipment. I just sat around, begging for someone to give me a flight suit and patch. I guess my insistent begging worked, because the next thing I knew, I was sporting my new flight suit with my patch. I felt like the Queen of Flight E. Looked down and saw that my call sign was "Dumbo". Cute Stitch Bitch, really cute, but I went with it.
As I was about to leave the shop with my flight suit on, the Major walks in and notices me in the flight suit. BUSTED. My heart was beating hard. Why of all people did the Supply Officer have to walk in? I figured he would have checked my pay for the flight suit.
He walked up to me and asked, "Any plans tonight, there....Dumbo?" Really? He had to call me Dumbo?
"Just a trip to the Chow Hall, Sir. No big plans here."
He put his arm around my shoulder and walked me out into the hall. "Well, I am changing your plans. You are going flying with me!"
So, I was a tad freaked out, but then I started to feel like a bad ass. Yep, the admin chick is going for a little flight around Jacksonville. My minor freak out soon turned into pure excitement. I went back to Flight Equipment to get my head gear, and I met the pilot and crew chief on the flight line. I jumped into the back of aircraft with a fellow friend of mine and buckled up. I was about to lose my PHROG virginity.
As we took off, I looked around the aircraft. It looked like it belonged in the junk yard. I swore duct tape was holding this bad boy together. Then all of a sudden, I felt a gush of air. The helo was missing a window! The look on my face must have been priceless. Moose, the crew chief, couldn't stop laughing at me. He kept telling me to hold my head out the window like a dog. The jokes never ended.
I guess in the meantime, the pilot was talking to me, but I couldn't hear him because of the window missing. I guess they realized that I couldn't hear. All of a sudden, every person in the aircraft was laughing at me. It really sucked being the only girl on that ride.
We cruised at a pretty good altitude above the ocean. We kept flying above the ocean and I just waiting for us to fly over LeJeune, but we never did. We ended up flying down to Wilmington, NC. About an hour later, we landed. I started to freak out because being the boot camper that I was, I knew that we were not allowed to go into public with flight suits. Even though I was there with a Major and a couple of Lieutenants, I just knew that somehow I would get into trouble. We ended up driving to a Hooters of all places. Here I was, the lone girl amongst a bunch of male Marines who wanted to eat lots of wings while glaring at some hooters.
What was more embarrassing is that I had zero money on me. I was the Chow Hall Queen. Since I only received under $200 every two weeks because of my car payment, I had zero money all the time. I watched every one eat their wings, while I stared out the window, damning this stupid flight suit.
We flew back to base and didn't return until 2200, well past the closing time for the Chow Hall. Poor little Dumbo. My tummy was rumbling and I didn't have any money. I had to resort to eating something from the vending machine at the Barracks. Damn it, wouldn't you know it? My honey bun got stuck again. Thank God I lived with 46 mechanics...I guess they did come in handy. After that day, I really hated the flight suit. I stuck to cammies from that day forward. Long live the PHROG and all its glory, that it stole from me.


  1. ahhhh, you got a flight suit, they just stuck a flight helmet on my head, and said....."lets go" no hooters for me either.


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