Hi Mom, look at my new jet - War Stories Ain’t All Alike - # 3
Attractive nuisances all over the base
Larry Littleboy had been in basic training for three weeks and already it was time for his trainee group to be granted the freedom of the base from early Sunday morning until bedcheck hour Sunday evening. As did the other trainees who had reached that long-awaited day of partial freedom Larry wandered around the base, buddies with him, camera in hand.
To encourage the basic trainees and to relieve storage problems on other Air Force bases, there were a number of non-functioning military aircraft scattered around the base. All of the planes were well anchored onto concrete platforms so as not to be toppled over in the event of windstorm or earthquake. One of these airplanes was a sleek jet fighter plane with scarcely any visible damage except for where the engine had fallen through the fuselage on the plane’s maiden flight. Despite that one defect, it was a really souped-up looking jet.
Her son, the jet pilot
Larry Littleboy climbed up onto one of the jet’s wings to peer into its cockpit. As he leaned on the canopy covering the cockpit, the canopy moved wide open. Larry climbed inside, seating himself in the pilot’s seat. For a few moments he imagined himself to be cruising along at 50,000 feet at a speed in the neighborhood of Mach I or Mach II. Then he returned to earth.
"Hey, Joe," hollered Larry to one of his buddies, "take my picture in here, and then you get in and I’ll shoot one of you."
Larry Littleboy’s mother was far from overjoyed that the Air Force had allowed her youngster to pilot his own jet after only three weeks of training. She fired off an angry letter to the Commanding General and enclosed the snapshot of her son, the jet pilot, so that the General might be swayed by the adolescent look of the boy his subordinates had so suddenly transformed into a jet fighter pilot.
Safe on the ground once more
"You keep my Larry on the ground where he belongs, General…" wrote Mrs. Littleboy.
Properly swayed by Mrs. Littleboy’s mother, the General removed Larry from further pilot training immediately. He transferred Larry into safer, but far more concentrated training under the tutelage of the sergeant in charge of the mess hall.
So that Mrs. Littleboy’s mother would know that the Commanding General was not above listening to anxious mothers who complained about the treatment or training being received by their sons, a large Air Force envelope was mailed to Mrs. Littleboy’s residence within the week. It contained a polite letter from the General and an official 8 x 10 glossy photograph of her Larry, up to his elbows in pots, pans, and bubbly soap water.
On to "Suds"
Can anyone blame Mrs. Littleboy for breathing a deep sigh of relief – or blame the General for ordering all of the display aircraft canopies to be welded shut?
After basic training, Larry Littleboy went on to become a real pilot. Even after he was promoted to the rank of colonel, he was known as "Suds" Littleboy by one and all. Those who were not familiar with Larry’s escapades during his basic training often thought that his "Suds" nickname had to do with his drinking habits. In fact, when Colonel Littleboy first wrote to his mother about that nickname, she, too, thought that "Suds" must mean that her son had become an alcoholic due to the stress of jet piloting.
This story could go on through other episodes. For now, though, it will end here with the suggestion that military folks brag to their mothers only about the good mess hall food and about the Sunday morning chaplains’ services. This advice is all the more important when the mother being bragged to knows how to write letters, herself.
Copyright 2010 G. Kilthau
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