Memorable Quote to LIVE by:

"If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it, or else you're going to be locked up." Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Good Stories From Old Times

Greetings Me Droogs N Droogettes!
So a lot of comments about the story about what Beans called a "Swampdonkey" which honestly, first time I've heard that term and I literally LOL'd my ass off.  That's -fucking - great.  An absolutely accurate definition of one of them big dumb foul smelling motherfuckers.  Moose... sweet God-in-Heaven... not the brightest of critters, but definitely one of the more 'pungent'.

Sort of like Dumbunny...
Oops, did that come out?  Sorry...

Now, All of this had me reminiscing.  'Specially since someone I think Coelacanth reminded me of Elk and Elk jerky specifically.  That kicked Ye Olde Memory Banks on, and Pinged ANOTHER (to me) hilarious couple of stories about some of the characters I served with over the years.  In particular, aboot ye olde Elk chow, there was one dude...  This one guy?  Right out of central casting, filed under "hardcore backwoodsman, anti-authoritarian, type one each" 

Now, for sanity's sake, I'll leave his nickname as it was.  His IRL is known, but we all called him "Buzz".  Buzz was an older dude to most of us... in his mid thirties.  Now, figure MOST younger E-5 and below, the lower enlisted are all between 17 to 24... it was odd to see a E-4 over 25 in any fashion.  Buzz was like 32, maybe 34? and considered the "Old Man" of us lower enlisted.  He was an E-4 like me.  Originally from Montana, borne and raised.  Raised waaaay in the outer wildlands if you will.  His ancestors were part of the Great Western Migration, and settled waaaaaaaaaay out yonder so to speak.  Think IRL "Marlboro Man"
Subtract the Cowboy Hat, but leave the grizzled visage, and add a military haircut, and you got Buzz to a "T".  He was also a great guy... literally no one ever had a beef with him.  Which in itself was unusual, as there's always a beef in an Infantry Platoon...  Even the handful of Blacks we had (yes, Blacks... Infantrymen generally are a higher caliber folk, and I don't think I ever met a nigger Grunt... most of the niggers were supply or 'other'... Jes' Sayin') got along great with Buzz, though they'd bust his chops for his laconic way of speaking... very measured and slow, with a thick accent... not quite true southern... more 'mid-western' slow.

So, anyways, we were stationed in Germany, as mentioned before, I and he, we if you will were/was in the OPFOR in Hohenfels, and Buzz was a source of great humor and amusement.  The invariable conversations during stretches between "combat" would lead to lengthy conversations of "Why'd you join (the Army)?" to which he'd explained to us that he wanted to "See the world" after spending years living Grizzly Adams Style IRL in the mountains...  Yeah, Ole Buzz was an honest-to-Gawd Mountain Man.  Graduated High School, and 3 of his best friend and himself packed up, kicked civilization and "Da Rulez" to the curb, and went out to live in "God's Country" to live or die by their own means.


Too fucking cool Aye? 
First few years he reckoned, they made good cash growing weed and poaching.  Great times of summers, casually fly fishing (illegally) and dodging as he called the "Them Damned Fish Fuzz", i.e. the Fish and Game folks who'd dare to go out 'yonder' to their stomping grounds...from what he said, the Federales and locals left them alone for the most part, as they were doing real-time 'subsistence existence' rather than extreme profit hunting/poaching.  I mean they did, but not so much as to raise the ire of Leviathan... BUT...  As time went on though, the rest of his bros got tired of looooooooong cooooooooooold winters in a handmade log cabin, and eventually went back to 'real life'.

So, after spend a lonely solo winter cooped up, Buzz packed his ruck and rifle, and made his way to a Widow who he was somewhat intimately acquainted with, dropped off all his gear with her, and ended up at a recruiting station to "...expand what I saw of the world, and my experiences."  That's almost a direct quote.

SO... Cut to like 3 years later, one year of Bullshit at Benning, followed by his tour in Germany, and all of a sudden, Battalion, (who never gave us time off nor leave unless it was a fambly emergency) started to get really closely inspected by the I.G. i.e. The Inspector General... seems we had a lot of dudes, including Buzz who hadn't taken -any- leave in like two years, and were about to lose that accrued leave.

Now for the civvies there, as a Army Grunt, well ALL Army folks, you get 30 days paid leave a year.  Now, depending on how fucked up your chain of command is, they'll make any and all excuses why you can't go on leave because it affects staffing, mobility... all sorts of shit... shitty commanders LOVE to deny any and all leave, if only to be fucking douchebags.  IF they find out someone 'lost leave' them man, heads were gonna roll....

Germany it was like that all the fucking time in Hohenfels, hence the investigation, which in the end they fried some folks over it... but anywho... if you don't 'use it' you 'lose it' and that's a big no no  in Big Army.  Buzz apparently never asked for any leave because he was satisfied with his life and what weekends and rare down time we had.  So he had like 60+ days of available leave, and the First Sergeant of our little unit told him he would use all his leave or he'd be up shit creek.

So, right before Buzz left we had a party.  A good ole bash, worthy of the usual drunk and disorderly charges that'd invariably be filed before the night finished out.  Only problem was, the man-of-the-hour, Buzz, was MIA.  Never let it be said the Infantry stops a party because the man-of-the-hour is missing... if anything, we got riled up and raucous, assured that at some point, at some time, Buzz was gonna show.

Now, since it was summer, headed into fall, we had 2 inflatable Kiddie Pools filled with ice, beer and soda, and a shitton of liquor all over as well.  MY personal 'thing' was I had a liter of Jim Beam in a cargo pocket of some cut-off worn-the-fuck-out BDUs in one, the other had a German Glass Liter of Coke in the other, low slung like they were holstered.  I'd gotten pretty damn proficient doing the "Cocktail (like the Tome Cruise Movie) Bottle Spin" with the two of them, and that cargo pockets on the cutoff woodland BDUs made great 'holsters'...  'draw' the jugs, bring them up to the mouth and pour in an "Instant-mix" down one's gullet, and then, spin 'em and 're-holster' them... looked cool AF.  My German GF got all hot n'bothered when I did that...

Now, at some point, can't remember who done dood it, but everyone got dunked in the pool of ice water and beer.  Dudes would be standing there, and -suddenly- three, four, even five or six dudes would grab the 'dry dude' and toss him in the pool.  Loads of fun... made it highly entertaining.  I got soaked just like everyone else... not a big deal but good bonding Infantry fun...

Then Buzz showed up after buying his plane tickets.

He took one look at all us soaked, drunk, grinning-at-him motherfuckers, realized -something- was up and bolted like a gazelle for the elevator inside the building.  We gave enthusiastic chase, and snatched his struggling yelling ass up, lifted him on our shoulders, and brought him out to be the next ice water sacrifice... carried to the pool... "To the pool!!!" we cried joyously... we carried him outside, ready to make him the next sacrifice to the pool Gods when...

Suddenly:  Buzz cried out (no bullshit)  
"You can't throw me in! I can't swim! I'll drown!"

Gang... no bullshit...

We actually froze for about 3 seconds and looked at each other.

Gawd.  I -still- laugh about that...

Then we were like "Waitafuckinminute!!!!" and kept going to dunk his ass in the all of 18 inches of water.  Later on, after his 'baptism', Buzz was laughing about it, and said "Well, y'all are Infantry, and dumb as a box o'rocks, it was worth a try!"  He was right tho, we did fucking stop.  

Only for a couple of seconds til common fucking sense kicked in.  So, back to the endpoint here.  Buzz went home.  I actually drove him to Frankfurt as I had the 'hot BMW' that made great time and speed.  He only took a teeny tiny ditty bag of shave gear with him, and I asked what he was gonna do for clothes, gear, all the shit that'd normally be needed for a 60+ day extended stay at home.  He told me "The Widow's got all I need at her place..." and then he related that his cabin, IF it hadn't been fucked with over the past three years was equipped with his 'bugout' stuff... he was pretty sure his shit was good though as he had his high school friends keeping and eye on it.

I wished him luck, told him to call me when he got back, and then he was off.

Cut to 60+ days later and the Top Kick of our company CSC (Combat Support Company, and yes that is how old I am, and how long ago I served.. note to civvies: CSCs went the way of the dinosaur many millennia back) called me in to ask if I could go get Buzz.  I left that next morning, and when he came out, he had two full standard issue duffle bags with him at the gate.  I helped him, and was highly impressed at the weight of both of them.  Now, to you civvies, when any time a Joe travels, he's authorized two standard issue duffle bags to each end of the destination.  Usually yer authorized about 50 pounds per bag, but the airlines used to make exceptions...  

In this case, when I asked what was in the bags, Buzz told me flat out: "Jerky... a fuckton of jerky."
Apparently, he hit the ground running on R&R, and did a statewide killing spree on ALL the wildlife.  Mountain Goats/Sheep/Deer/Bear/Elk... you name it, he killed it...  guess he had a lot of subconscious frustration going?  Who knows... point of this longwinded fucking diatribe is he had Elk Jerky.

I would kill to have whatever or however he done dood it.
Best. Jerky. Ever.
Jes' Sayin'.
Two full duffle bags positively stuffed with Beef Jerky of all types, sizes (some of the vacuum packed bags were as long as my fucking arm with beef/meat to match!) and man, we ALL ate well for a few months in CSC...  Especially the TOW platoon that Buzz and I were a part of...  Good times and great memories... Hope you enjoyed.  I gotta crash now, so's I'ma cuttin' this for now.
More Later I Remain The Intrepid Reporter
Big Country


  1. Glad I could make you laugh over Swampdonkey. They really are big-assed stupid animals that just look stupid. Tasty, but stupid. I mean, deer look neat, elk look positively majestic, but moose? Moose look like some bubba-elk done methed up and has the shakey-shakeys. Ungainly as fuck. With a temper that might almost rival a cape buffalo, if the damned thing could get it's head out of it's ass.

    1. A moose would loose a game of tic-tac-toe with a fence post.

  2. spec4 was the best gig in the entire armeee. in the middle of the assholes and the good guys. one could simply listen to the assholes and then push it off on the good guys, the 1-3s


  3. As I said in the movie, why them people down below eatin pig when they could be eatin Elk

  4. Great story.

    Did you ever read Acidman's blog back in the day? I swear you're his spiritual successor. That man could spin a yarn.

    1. Rob Smith is sorely missed to this day. And BCE is a worthy heir to the master wordsmith.

  5. Many years ago I was TDY to Edmonton Alberta Canada, doing some exchange training for a week or so. At the end we had a little party with the Canucks one of them brought some moose, elk and caribou burgers, the very best burger I have ever had!

    Steve L.

  6. Any idea what happened to Buzz after you got out?

  7. In the eighties I was stationed in Flensburg (3 kilometers from the Danish border. I would come home for Hunting season and take back deer jerky and salami and spread it around it lasted about 2-3 weeks.