Behind the Badge

Here's mud in your face!

Upon my assignment as a new trainee at the USAF Security Police Academy at Lackland AFB, where I was to be trained as a canine handler (the Air Force did all of the canine training at that point; I got a lot of strange looks from basic trainees when I reported aboard in my greens - they didn't expect a Marine Corporal on an Air Base). While in training, one of the exercise areas was at Medina Range, west of Lackland.

The Officer Candidate School was nearby, and we earned a few bucks during training going to OCS graduations and earning a dollar for each salute we rendered to new 2LTs.

One day, while posted as a sentry in a "weapons storage area", I observed an individual walking across the sector where I was assigned. Since this was standard for instruction (our Air Force NCO instructors loved to play games), I intercepted this person and ordered him down onto the ground, at the point of my assigned weapon, an M16 loaded with blanks. It was raining lightly, but the ground was puddled from days of rain, and this individual ended up face down in 6" of water. I got in close behind him, and placed the muzzle end of my weapon at his neck, with my left boot between his crossed feet and my right boot close to his right side. I called on the radio for an instructor, and they ALL came running, as there were NO exercises going on in my area at that time. Imagine my shock when the senior NCO, a Master Sergeant, picked this man out of the mud, and turned him around. The first thing I noticed were the stars on his collar points shining through the muddy water dripping down his face - the second thing, the rage in his face. He had borrowed a raincoat (no rank insignia) to run over to the personnel office for a meeting, and since he had no rain protection for it, decided to forego his cover. He cut across the training area without thinking about the reaction of one specific Marine. They all let me sweat that one out for three hours at attention in the mud, before I was relieved to quarters.

I never heard anything more about it, but at graduation, I spotted the General in the reviewing stand. He shook my hand after the ceremony, and introduced me to his wife "this is the young Marine that convinced me to always remember to bring my own raincoat to work!"... he laughed, but I never forgot that day.


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