April 14, 2006

Why I Love My Comrades

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:10 pm

I am, as mentioned before, on travel and blogging from a cell phone. After landing at my destination I had to take a bus to where we would be staying, and a retired Army couple sat across from me. He was 82nd in the Seventies, a tough place to be, but was the kid from Berkeley who wanted some school and he stayed in till retirement.

82nd means Fort Bragg, North Carolina. (Fayetteville, the town around Bragg, is a very Army town; I remember going there once in my crackerjack uniform on payday–and was I ever a fish out of water! At least in Cherry Point the Marines assumed you were a corpsman and let you be…) In the seventies some jerk put up a huge billboard on his farm recruiting for the Klan. Nothing to be done, apparently. Private property, First Amendment and all that. Not so nice for a young black man from Cali.

And one night a mysterious explosion went off. My new friend says he assumed it was a demolition demonstration–but the next day the sign was gone.

Rumor has it the perpetrators were unhappy with the message, explaining in terms rather poetically appropriate to the sign owner.

Soon afterward the Klan came to march in a mall, on a day off for my new friend’s team. They had a very emphatic discussion with their civilian neighbors from off base until the moderator arrived with a sheriff’s badge and a shotgun. At the same time the crusty Top shows up, and negotiates a quiet dénoument without expending ordnance.

I should note the offended Army guy who started the fight was a white guy. Not that it matters, really; but a comrade is a comrade, not to be harassed. And so the little guy with the short haircut and shined shoes smacked the leader’s hood clean off.

My friend says he still has his “member” badge acquired from that night’s festivities…

2 Responses to “Why I Love My Comrades”

  1. charles Says:

    Reminds me of a story that was told to me by my father who served in the US Navy from 1967 up to 1990. An aircraft from an A-6 sqaudron he belonged to in 1971, had an emergancy and landed in Meridian Mississippi. He went along as part of the rescue det to get the airplane back. THe had a Master Chief that tagged along to lead the det, this Master Chief just happened to be black. After getting down thier and working hard they would go into town to play for a little bit. So it came to be that when the whole maintenance det showed up some place to eat dinner in town one night, they caught some flak from the minute they walked in to when they got served thier meals by redneck, about race. The Master Chief told everyone in the middle of thier meal to get up , he paid the bill in full minus any tip and while leaving left a remark to the waitress that if that it was sad how this town treated its servicemembers. The next day he went in and told the story in the CPO club. That resturant did see a single Navy dollar again for about 4 months. That was from both the guys that worked on the base and thier families.

  2. Joanie Says:

    Wishing you and yours a Happy Easter/Passover/Spring Break or whatever it is that you choose to celebrate.

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