Monday, March 16, 2009

2nd-Hand War Stories

I was in the Marine Corps Reserve for 11 years, but never got to be in a war zone. The closest I ever got was in the first gulf war; my unit got deployed, but not to the gulf--to Japan.

So I have no direct war stories, but I have heard plenty: My Dad was a career Air Force pilot and he went to Vietnam a number of times and came home with stories. Also, I joined the Marines in 1981, so a lot of the men I worked with had been in Vietnam too.

One guy had been in the infantry in Vietnam, but when I met him he was going through electronics school and joining the Air Wing. He was the kind of guy you didn't know whether to fear or not: He had a round and innocent-looking face, but had biceps the size of my thighs. Also, he was a Sergeant, and supposedly this was the third time he had earned this rank, having punched-out superiors and been busted back to private twice. He had some great stories though.

When on patrols he and his fellow Marines would sometimes shoot game to eat. Well, they had shot a monkey, skinned it and had it on a spit over a fire and one of the guys observed that it looked like a baby. So, our friend took a Polaroid picture of it (the old fashioned kind where you peel the paper off after a minute--or whatever). Then, when he got back to the base he wrote on the back of the picture, "See Mom! Marines really do eat babies". Put it in an envelope and mailed it to his Mom.

After we all had a good laugh, one of the guys inevitably asked, "What does monkey taste like"? "Just like baby, but a little more stringy."

Actually, I made-up that last part. But that is only fair, the older Marine probably made up his whole story too.

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