Cadets and Clubs
by Tolentino

 
Reminds me of an incident circa 1974(?) when my team, ODA-8 out of 1st Group
w/ Bull McGuire as Group(?) CSM taking us once a week on his favorite past
time (road marches), was on our way to Chitose AFB for ski training with
Horton Daniels as my team sergeant.  We had a one-night stopover in Tachikawa
AFB (traveling in Army Greens).  We decided to go to the club on base for the
night (still in Greens).  Well, we walked in and lo & behold, it must have
been 'Soul Night' or something.  Of course, not knowing of any other place to
go for a drink, we grabbed a table and all 11 of us sat down and we ordered
several pitchers of beer in spite of the hard looks we were getting.  After
about an hour or so, Horton had to go to the latrine and the DJ on stage took
a break.  One of the guys immediately put a few coins in the juke box and
played some CW(country western - Not morse code).  Well, after a few moments,
there seemed to be a commotion in the lobby.  As if on queue, we all got up
and went to the vicinity and I walked in to the latrine.  Danny was being
accosted by a couple of blacks and my senior radio operator and I got in the
middle of it to protect him (after all he was our team 'daddy').  Next thing
you know, the regular patrons poured out into the lobby and as we got Danny
out of the latrine we were in the midst of a brawl.  There were so many of
them that I believe they were hitting each other more so than any of us.  I
was only about 135 lb.(a real giant) but only 25 years old  and my senior
radio operator buddy was a body builder - Hercules incarnate.  We had a great
time with the slugfest, team leader, XO and all.

Next thing we know, one of our guys (Slim Farrington, I believe - black guy
over 6 feet tall) had taken an M-16 away from one of the AF police.  At any
rate, a bunch more of them AF police showed up with arms and Slim returned
the weapon.  Our team leader had a discussion with them and we ended up in
some sort of a drunken formation, torn Greens and all, while they escorted us
in their vehicles as we marched back (sort of) to the BOQ.

We did end up getting our training in although most of us were called
"American Kamikazes" and Slim Farrington had to wear his corchrans because
his feet were too large.  Each team stayed in an actual house on base and you
had to ski to the messhall although they had great food.  Of course, most of
us expert skiers opted to trudge through the snow to the messhall.  Hell, I
didn't even know you waxed your skis or any of that good stuff.

We were divided into 3 groups: beginners, intermediate and advanced.  The way
we were categorized went something like this.  We were taken to a
snow-covered hill on the base.  If you fell and had trouble getting up trying
to get to the top (beginner); if you made it up to the top okay but had
trouble stopping on your way down or fell (intermediate); and of course, the
real skiers.  And akio(?) training was interesting although whether we were
guiding that boat-like sled or it was slinging us around is a matter of
opinion.  Our Japanese instructors loved us...we provided such extraordinary
examples on the correct ways to hit trees at high speeds, how to ski over
cliffs without stopping,  hollering at inanimate objects to "get out of the
way", how to take out a bunch of bystanders, how to ski backwards, finding
the only tree on a downhill slope, etc...

I did learn to ski (somewhat), though I came to hate cross-country skiing
with a ruck (especially a heavy one).  Also found out that civilian skis were
a lot more fun and more manageable and easier to use than those 'white
stars(?)'.  Loved those chippewas, too.

I hadn't thought of that episode in quite a while...

And, I believe that was the trip where our light weapons man, Jim Knotts, was
stripped searched and placed in the front-leaning-rest position at one of the
airport terminals after making a joke about 'skyjacking.'

Ahh, the past...  (Sure wouldn't want to repeat some of it)

Tolentino