March 30, 2008

Sometimes Bribery Will Get you Everywhere

I just obtained a scanner and spent some time this weekend digitizing a lot of old records. One of the things I really wanted saved as PDFs where my old travel orders/vouchers from when I was in the service. Some of the paper they used doesn't age's hard to read and even harder to scan (but it won't get any easier!)

Anyway, seeing some of the orders reminded me of fun trips in the past...and a few not so fun.

Back in 1995 I was scheduled to attend the Joint Firepower Command & Control Course in Hurlbert Field, FL. On many levels this school is just a formality because the home unit makes sure you've trained on all essential tasks before you go and again when you get back. The JFCC is more of a classroom setting that is damned cush. As you take the class they tell you what the test questions are. All you need to know to pass is study those questions. When I took the class I ended up being the Distinguished Graduate (basically Salutatorian). I missed one question.

Anyway, I was scheduled to take the course in October of 1995. Hurricane Opal decided to visit Hurlburt Field before I could. I was flying in from Germany and we didn't have any word on if the base was hit hard enough to cancel the school or not. If we waited on word from the school I would have time to fly in to off I went hoping things would be good.

I manage to arrive in Fort Walton Beach and while the town and base were pretty messed up, it wasn't that bad. Problem was they had completely closed billeting and most/all of the local hotels were closed. The base was a ghost town as most members had been ordered to evacuate with their families. I was so screwed.

I did notice that one of the barracks seemed open. They had lights on and the office was manned. I stopped in to chat with the guy running the place (I forget their title) and try to get a room and was pretty much told "tough shit". The entire barracks was reserved for families that were not able to evacuate the area. This was utter BS because the hurricane had already passed, so if anybody was going to use the barracks, they'd have checked in already.

I was having no luck convincing the dude to give me a room, but after a while of talking he pretty much told me all he really wanted to do is get back home and have a drink. Evidently he'd been forced to stay on base for the last few days and wanted nothing to do but get home and relax. Hmmmm.....I did happen to bring with me a couple bottles of Apfle Korn, a popular German Liquer.

A little horse-trading and I had a place to crash. Since I had already taken a room up, the next poor SOB got to share it with me without having to jump through hoops.

The next day I head over to the School-house for JFCC and there is one instructor there. They've cancelled the class. When I call back to my unit to check in I'm informed that I need to get my ass in gear and get that graduation certificate because my Army unit just got activated to go to Bosnia. I offerred to study the materials and then take the exam, but the instructor won't let me. They thought the class was too hard to do what I wanted to do (yeah, right!) I'd have to come back to Florida and take the course when they open the school back up.

Unfortunately I was all out of Apfel Korn......