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Dave and Kyle…The Chicken Fu@#ers

April 29, 2014
chicken 2

Found this on the internet. Just about sums it up. photo from yahoo

 

Hey Y’all,

 

The last story time left us on Masriah Island off the east coast of Oman in the Northern Arabian Sea. It was a long way from anywhere but it was hot and humid so that made up for any shortcomings.  After a month of living there, we moved up to Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait, we simply called it Salem.  To refresh my memories of Salem, I looked at a couple of sites, one of which was Global Security dot Com. Their information is about fifteen years out of date as are their pictures. In 2004-2008, I was frustrated by the flat out bogus information being reported on the network news. I started browsing the internet looking for accurate information and came across Global Security. It was inaccurate then and totally out of date today. If you ever get the desire to see what is going on in the world, don’t trust this site.  Here are their links and some pictures which literally are from 1998. For perspective, the kid that was born in 1998 is driving themselves to school today.

 

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/ali-al-salem.htm

 

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/ali-al-salem-pics.htm

 

From the perspective of the caveman, we were moving on up like the Jefferson’s. We went from tents to extremely long double wide trailers, which was nice because each room had its own air conditioner and heater. According to global security, it never gets below 120 degrees. That is true in the summer, but in the winter it gets quite cold and the weather can be very lousy with very low visibility. We found that as the month of November went towards Thanksgiving, we were wearing jackets and we ran the heater in the room.

 

IMG_0020

This is one of the trailers. You wont find high quality eleven year old information like this on global security. photo from the collection Deron T

 

I had a crew of five but only two rooms to share so I lived with Harry and Ron. Kevin and Gummy shared a room. I took the top bunk, sleeping on top of Harry while Ron got his choice of bunk beds. Ron is old like Harry and I so he took the bottom bunk.  Each of us had a little portable reading light attached to the bunk so most of the time we kept the overhead light off.

 

IMG_0019

A different view of the happy place. photo from the collection of Deron T

 

 

Kyle A. is a long time, old head pilot in the squadron, he was one of the crews that got to go home early from the first deployment in August. Kyle is an extremely smart and witty individual who means well and would never intentionally hurt anything other than a deer in hunting season. He joined the Guard as a Navigator and flew in that position for several years. While he was flying as a Navigator, he completed Law School and took a full time job as a Prosecuting Attorney before going to flight school. On this particular rotation he didn’t want to fly and went over in the Tactics Officer position but when we got to Masriah, he came down with a case of shingles. Maybe it was chicken pox, Ebola, or some other infectious disease; he was quarantined away from the rest of us for a few weeks. We fell into prison camp mode and started sneaking him extra food and taking time to visit him. It sucked to be him in solitary confinement and he had a lot of pent up energy when we arrived in Salem.

 

 

yeager 2

This photo made the national news. I’m not saying that the woman in the picture is Kyle’s wife. But then again, I am not saying that is Kyle standing on the top of the airplane with Elaine’s name on the sign either. Photo from the AP

 

Dave F. is another pilot for the squadron. I wrote about Dave in previous posts as well. He was the guy who went off to get some beer and chips for us after we returned to a homecoming of no one at Dover Air Force Base in September. Like Kyle, Dave wanted a rotation off from flying so he took the second spot in Tactics. Dave is the guy that is always looking for a laugh, an intensely loyal friend he is also devious with his practical jokes. If Kyle was the good cop, Dave was the bad cop and they both played their roles perfectly.

 

About two months ago, I saw Dave in Chicago and finally heard the other side of this story. We were both on the same flight home to Charleston.  We spent a couple of hours catching up, telling stories and laughing until we cried.  Dave is the guy that should be encased in glass with the sign, “Break open only in case of war.” He is a true warrior and he is trouble for the command in times of peace. I love him to death.

 

Dave, Kyle and a fellow from another squadron were all working in Tactics for this deployment. I don’t know the third guy so let’s call him Reggie. Dave, Kyle and Reggie took a car and drove down to Kuwait City for dinner. Driving out the front gate, Dave saw a produce stand and he had an idea. One of the nice things about Salem was that civilization was only an hour away and we were cleared to go off base. The trio ate a nice meal, walked around the souks and enjoyed a few hours of freedom.

 

chicken 4

An example of a up-armored SUV. It really was bullet proof, with the steel doors, self sealing fuel bladders, run flat tires, and monster engine. The troops up north had Humvees with canvas protection and we had these for a trip for dinner. It just wasn’t right. photo from yahoo

 

Reggie was watching the clock closely because it was his turn to attend the nightly Commander meeting.  From downtown Kuwait City to Salem was a hour drive and they allotted another thirty minutes to pass base security. Because there is no speed limit in Kuwait and gas is free over there, Dave was driving the SUV well over one hundred miles an hour. They made the drive back in fifty minutes while inside the wicked mind of Dave brewed a legendary practical joke. Dave made the seemingly impromptu stop at the farmer’s market. Hopping out, his intention was to buy a live chicken. Dave being Dave haggled with the farmer for a long time before he got him down from five dollars per chicken to two dollars per chicken. The price was right so he bought two chickens and a holding cage.

 

chicken 8

These chicken farmers are in China, but they are the same all over the world. photo from yahoo

 

Reggie obviously didn’t know Dave and Kyle very well. Like a nervous teen, Reggie was constantly checking his watch, wondering what Dave was doing and asking Kyle how long it was going to be. Kyle figured out what Dave was thinking and couldn’t stop giggling. Finally Dave tossed the chicken coop with the two live chickens in the back of the government issued, up-armored SUV and sped off. The chickens were squawking, molting feathers, and pooping everywhere, Reggie was whining about Dave’s unscheduled stop while Dave and Kyle were snickering like school girls at the prospects of the night ahead.

 

Before coming back onto base, every car must be inspected by the security forces.  One of the unwritten traditions was to stop at the local McDonalds and grab about twenty hamburgers. When you got to the inspection point, you gave the poor guys manning the gate the hamburgers.  It isn’t bribery; it is appreciation for the long hours they put in. Kyle tossed the burgers to the appreciative guard while Dave and Reggie went to the holding area. Almost immediately the dogs started barking and growling at the back of the SUV.

 

chicken 5

Just an example of the layered security. I think this is in Baghram, Afghanistan. photo from yahoo

 

Dave wasn’t sure if it was the chickens or the fertilizer or something else that set off the bomb dogs but it didn’t matter. The procedures called for an immediate shutdown of the gate, sequestering of the people from the vehicle and finally the dudes in the bomb suits came lumbering out from the back. It is a big deal, the cops were running around with guns drawn, the tension was high, Reggie kept looking at his watch, and the chickens never stopped screeching. The snipers looked down through their sights at the three Lieutenant Colonels and the SUV packed with chickens.  Reggie just knew Commander‘s phone was ringing and the Pentagon was notified because it was breaking loose all over the AOR and his goose was cooked all over a couple shawarmas and some humus.

 

chicken 7

Big guy, big gun. Don’t mess up. photo from yahoo.

 

Twenty long minutes later but blessedly prior to the anal cavity search, the guards cleared the vehicle and the alert was canceled. In military math, two chickens don’t add up to one bomb. The guards laughed, Dave and Kyle laughed and Reggie was fit to be tied. They dropped him off at the front of the building for his briefing with exactly one minute to spare and it was time for Operation Chicken Fu%@er to begin.

 

My building was the first to be hit and they started with my room. I was lying in the top bunk, reading. Harry was snoring quietly and Ron was listening to music when the door flew open and two chickens flew into the room. Eye to eye with a frightened chicken trying its best to fly with clipped wings, I pulled the covers over my head and closed my eyes. The other chicken bounced off the wall straight into Ron’s lap. He sat straight up nearly knocking himself out on the top bunk.  Harry awoke to mass chaos and very bravely fought his way through chicken poop and feathers to try to open the door. It wouldn’t budge because Dave and Kyle were cackling outside the door both holding onto the handle.

 

chicken 9

Look ma, I can fly. When tossed by a human. photo from yahoo

 

The first chicken attacked Harry’s ankles in a feeble escape attempt while Ron fought off the second bird with woman slaps and screams of help. Harry begged me to help him, so I finally broke free from the safety of the covers and leapt off the top bunk. I nearly broke my ankle jumping off the bed. My legs gave way and I found myself rolling in chicken remains.  Harry is a big boy and when he put his weight into the door he pulled Kyle and Dave into the room. Kyle caught chicken number one as it tried to escape and Dave saved chicken number two from Ron who was about to wring its neck.  After the birds were secured and the feathers finally floated to the ground, we all started laughing at the prospects of the birds invading the other rooms just as they did ours.

 

chicken 10

If you can catch a chicken, you can catch greased lightening. photo from yahoo

 

According to Dave, the best reaction was my good buddy Scotty L. He jumped onto his bed and swatted at the birds with a broom while shrieking like a woman for the birds to stop.  At times like this, you find out a lot about your personality.  Like Scotty, I failed the personality test, with flying colors. As for the chickens, after their night of intense terror they were donated to the local TCNs (Third Country Nationals) and were promptly eaten.

 

chicken

Welcome to Salem. Where a month feels like a lifetime. photo from yahoo

 

Until next time, keep on rockin. Speaking of rocking; check out the Magill Review for my latest piece on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

 

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From → military

3 Comments
  1. Karlene permalink

    I love these stories. Have you ever read George Nolly’s Hamfist books? He took very real stories…but he created a character, a plot, and wove a series. I am totally seeing your stories in one of those true fiction books. You have an incredible way with words. Or a memoir??? Think about it.

    • Karlene,

      I have not read anything from George Nolly. I will put him on the reading list and I really appreciate the compliment. It means a lot, especially coming from someone as accomplished as you are. Thank You.

      I have thought about telling the complete story of my former squadron mates. It just seems like I have so many projects but not enough time to do them all. There are hundreds of stories, unfortunately for the writing side of things, I am really working a lot right now. I know you understand that as well. It makes me wonder how you find time to do everything that you do.

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