For you non-military types, this is a picture of a C-130 Hercules. It’s a plane that’s been flying, in one form or another, since before I was even born. And still today, it remains a workhorse … especially for intra-theater airlift. But that’s not the reason I chose it as my picture of the day.
You may have noticed the title of this blog post up above. Yes, there’s a story behind it. My buddy Lou Pell just mentioned it on one of his facebook status updates about a week ago, so the memory is (re)freshed in my mind.
So it’s circa 1993. We’ve been deployed down to Brindisi Italy for about 3 months, providing weather support to special ops/search and rescue aircraft flying into Bosnia. It wasn’t a bad TDY at all. San Vito AB was still open at the time. We lived in big tents, but we still shopped in the BX and Commissary, and went to the base club almost every night. And that’s where the story of the C-130 ride from hell comes in …
It’s finally time to go home. We’re excited, we’re going to get to see our families again. Our relief is in place, and is already working. We are scheduled to catch our flight home at 0630 the next morning. So what were we going to do with the rest of our time in Italy? You guessed it, we went straight to the club …
And proceeded to do shot, after shot, after shot of Tequila. I think we left the club sometime between 2:30 and 3am. How in the world we woke up an hour and half or so later to even get to the flight line is beyond my comprehension level; but we did … unfortunately. Now I don’t know how many of you reading this have ever ridden on a C-130; but I gotta tell you, it’s a slow, noisy, cold, and Very Bumpy ride. I don’t remember exactly how long the flight back to England was … 6 1/2 or 7 hours maybe. However long it was, if I ever needed an excuse to stop drinking Tequila I got one … but good.
I suppose the one bright side was that by the time I actually saw my wife and young son when we got off the plane, there was absolutely no danger of throwing up on them … my stomach was way empty by that point.
Anyway, is there a moral to this story? Just the obvious one. No deeper meaning that I can come up with. I suppose we could have just stuck to beer. Then again, I suppose we could have just not gone to the club too.
But hey, if I hadn’t been at least occasionally “young and dumb”, I wouldn’t have nearly as many self deprecating stories to tell now that I’m older, and supposedly wiser.