23 February 2012

Seven Days of Memories: Over The Top

Pvt. FM Tinseth, 1953

"You'll recall, that I was also an Army Brat for 18 years. My dad (your grandfather), a WWII officer and later Command Sergeant Major, almost never gave me advice on anything. I was expected to learn from observing his behavior -- both personal and with his troops.

Throughout his life, he and I never had a serious conversation. When I asked for his approval to marry (your mother) at age 18, (hoping he'd refuse), he simply wrote "approved." He complimented me on very few occasions: your birth, my university degree, my jump wings and Combat Infantry badge, my final promotion to "Lite" Colonel.

We're of Norwegian stock. Cold on the outside (not huggers), but warm enough on the inner. We care, we just don't show it. Main thing I learned observing your grandfather, was that an NCO or Officer's primary duties was "take care of your troops."

So, in "my" Army, as an NCO and Officer, you put your ass on the line to look out for your troops. Sadly, in today's Army, NCOs and Officers often put their troops asses on line in order to protect their own sweet, perfumed asses." FMT

He had been an enlisted man. He knew the ropes. He knew his men. Cared about them more than he did himself. More than he did his own family -- I'm guessing.

He drove up to Ft Benning to pin jump wings on my chest. After the graduation ceremony he was ready to drive me back home. Problem was, I had leave papers but they had not been signed by the company commander. A nasty little man who liked to call men, "Honey" and go on leave without signing leave papers.

I explain this to him standing in the hallway outside the 1st Sergeant's office. There's about 30 of my classmates in the same situation. We're all hoping the 1st Sergeant, or 'Top' as 1st Sergeants are known, can do "something."

He takes my leave papers and strolls down the hall. I see him knock on the door frame and enter Top's office. He's been retired just over a year. I'm thinking there's not much he can do when I see him walk out of the office carrying my leave papers and doing the silent whistle -- That purse of the lips with nothing coming out.

"Let's go," he says. "What?" I say. He hands me my leave papers and I see Top has signed for the C.O. "Grab your shit and lets get outta here." I look at 30 guys looking at me. "Do you think we could help them?" "We?" he snorts. "No, we can't help them." I follow him as he strolls down the hall past 30 guys looking at me.

He tells me somewhere on I-95 that Top was "chicken shit" and "scared shitless" he'd get his "ass in a sling" signing for the captain. He tells me the captain is a "fuck stick" for what he did but what Top did was worse. "It's a gutless fucking army." he moans.

I just realized that 80% of my vocabulary is in the above paragraph.


Anonymous said...

I don't know if 80% of your vocabulary is in that last paragraph, but judging from many of your previous postings, I-95 seems to have played a big role in your past.


Laguna Beach Fogey said...


How many innocent people did he murder for the American Empire?

Is this the same guy who did the Gumby drawing that you use for your profile photo?

Too much.

Oyster Guy said...

Gee Tintin, I bet you were a really popular guy that day...

JKG said...

T: thank you for these and for the earlier glimpses of your old man. I'm sad for you.

Anonymous said...

Laguna Beach Fogey? Sounds like a personality disorder. Did you ever look at this guy's blog? There are some strokes of genius but they're buried under vapid disjointed posts and phoney British aspirations.

Keeping with the Trad Dad theme and calling it like I see it.


Brohammas said...

Yo Fogey,
Didn't you once tell me that something was your canvas so you can post whatever you want? Wouldn't that apply here?
Ooooooo, right, this is the part where you show how cool you are by being insensitive, inappropriate, wrong, and then you run away.
You are good at that game. Carry on.

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what your are talking about..

I didn't do a four year enlistment as you did, I did a 1.5 your involuntary stint in the Swedish army (although they put brass on my shoulders, cold war anticipation shit). But the Army is the army and it has always been like that (the Roman legionnaires had a 15 years obligatory, without no leave whats so ever)

That leave shit, that you respect and fear when you are in the army, is strictly bullshit (BS)..

Anonymous said...

Fuck stick...hadn't heard that one in a while...fuckin' A

ann said...

This piece made me laugh out loud–it was that funny.These are wonderful stories.

Michael said...

Laguna Beach Fogey, don't you have another post to write about your favourite Creed perfume or something? I'm sure your fans are dying for another soporific glimpse into your fantasy life. None of us here are, however.