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Commanding Officer Chuck Newell
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The UWSS Intern
|CMAA||Boat Div OinC|
First Class starting 1 Aug 2004
copyright 2000 MCPO Thomas Blais (SEAL)
the boat support crew picking up swimmers
................ this picture came from Dusty Rhoades Bar "Down the Hatch"
in Panama City FL.
The SEAL Story of...
The Painted Jeep or Run Studs Run !
By Chuck Newell (SEAL) USN (Ret)
3rd Quarter 2000, BLAST Magazine
It was 0930 on a beautiful Sunday Caribbean morning. Only a few teammates were up and about. The combination of St. Thomas liberty and demon rum were all the incentive most of the troops needed to catch up on their beauty sleep.
Larry Brock and I were up and about as we had plans to meet a couple sweet young touristas at Limberg Beach. The thought of those candy pants darlings was motivation enough to separate us from our racks, hangovers be damned. After eating a hearty breakfast to calm our queasy stomachs and fortify us for the day, we bid a fond goodbye to team cook, Luke Jones.
Just as we were leaving, the Chief Master at Arms, Sam Bailey, entered the
chow hall muttering under his breath. As Sam poured himself a cup of coffee,
Larry asked, "What’s the matter Sam? You seem pissed off."
"Well you’re gonna be pissed too, when you hear what I’ve got to
say. The skipper wants an all hands muster immediately. That means you two
Casanovas gotta ditch them civies, get into the uniform of the day, don’t ask
questions and get your asses to muster!"
Damn the bad luck. If we’d just omitted one detail in describing the alluring attributes of our dates to the cook, we’d have jumped slick on the muster and been in love instead of in the shits. The uniform of the day was a green shirt, UDT swim trunks and boondockers, so it didn’t take us long to shift canvas.
Sam had preceded us through the warehouse, which served as our barracks, shaking folk from their racks. There were some awful looking teammates: red eyed, hung over and uncomprehending. Yet, they were reacting, however slowly.
When Sam spoke, people paid heed. I noticed that my running mate Pee Wee Nealy had not awakened, so I walked over to his rack to get him moving. The effort required for this feat proved to be considerable.
Pee Wee proclaimed he was not getting up and didn’t care if God himself was calling the muster. I tried unsuccessfully to get him on his feet, all the while, ducking his attempts to punch me out. Finally, in exasperation, I dumped him out of his rack onto the deck and dragged his rack through the adjacent double doors to the outside.
I then beat feet to the muster in order to avoid the fight, which was inevitable had I stuck around. I was a lot bigger than Pee Wee, but he was a former All Navy Bantam weight boxing champ who turned into a wildcat with little or no provocation.
I had done my best to get him awake; if he got restricted for missing muster, too bad. My conscience was clear.
At the muster area, teammates were in loose formation, each speculating as to the reason for the surprise muster. I fell in at the rear of my platoon and lighted a smoke. Just as I’d taken my first drag, Sam called out, "Team Twinny-wan, A-ten-shun!" At that moment Pee Wee arrived on the run and took his place in the rank in front of me. In order to insure Pee Wee would remain in his present nasty frame of mind, I decided to slip him a needle or two.
"Surprised to see you made it PEE WEE! I thought you weren’t getting
Pee Wee turned, cocked his head and said, "I’m gonna whip your ass,
just as soon as this formation is over." When he noticed the cigarette
I’d been fanning, to hide the smoke. He gave me a big shit-eatin grin and
said, "I’ll go easy on that ass-whippin iffin you’ll give me a drag off
Before I could respond, the Skipper, "Bull" Gaither, came roaring into the front of the formation in his jeep. As he leaped to the ground, we all stared. The jeep that the daily duty sections maintained in polished splendor, now looked as though it had been in a collision with a paint locker. That jeep was every color under the sun except, its original, olive drab. To further emphasize the hideous color scheme, the paint looked as though it had been applied with a bucket.
"The Bull" commenced to chew our asses, big time! He was using language and threats we’d never before heard or imagined. If we hadn’t been so dumbfounded, we could have enjoyed that glorious spectacle. Everyone realized that whoever painted that jeep had the biggest set of cojones in the world and would be forever ensconced in the UDT sea story hall of fame. Posthumously, of course.
Pee Wee didn’t care about the Skipper’s tirade. All he wanted was my cigarette. When I wouldn’t accede to his whispered demands, he punctuated a final threat to my well being by shooting me double-barrel birds behind his back. Getting the finger from a running mate was no insult, it just let me know I had the upper hand.
Just as I was about to relent and pass him the smoke, I noticed that his boondockers were only partially laced and he wasn’t wearing socks. The gaping opening in the top of his boondocker presented an opportunity impossible to resist.
I dropped the lighted butt into his boondocker and in about one second, Pee Wee went ballistic. He hopped around on one leg frantically trying to pull the hot boondocker from his other foot.
He hopped through the ranks into the front of the formation. The Skipper was so taken aback by this blatant violation of military decorum that he could only stare open mouthed at the bouncing Pee Wee.
Finally, Pee Wee was able to wrest the boondocker from his foot and fired it
in my direction. Dizzy Dean would have been proud of that toss. Pee Wee then
followed the boondocker, at about the same speed, intent on tearing my head off.
The front rank acted as a buffer and slowed Pee Wee’s progress. Before my bud
could get to me the Skipper regained his voice. "AHHH-TENNN-HUT! RI-ITE-FACE!
I’ll teach you slip knots to play grab-ass. Double time march. Follow me you
jeep painting (something inaudible)."
Off we went, cooks, bakers and non-UDT support sailors alike. The Old Man was setting a hot pace and before long, we realized that his destination was Mountain Top. This was the highest elevation in Charlotte Amalie, high enough that Sir Francis Drake used it to recon the Carribbean. Now, the Skipper, was going to use it to burn our asses.
After an hour or so of hills and hogbacks, the formation was beginning to lengthen. The non-UDT members were straggling miles behind, but "Bull" had the bit in his teeth and charged onward.
At the two hour mark the team members began to separate. The young studs were still hot on the Skipper’s ass, but the old guys were beginning to feel the effects of the heat and elevation. Sam Bailey ran up the outside of the formation to the Skipper, eased in alongside "The Bull" and began talking to him.
We couldn’t hear what Sam was telling the Skipper, but suspected he was recommending that we stop or turn back. By now we had the red-ass at the Skipper for the unwarranted punishment and were determined to run the sonofabitch into the ground.
Seconds after Sam’s verbal exchange, we heard the command, "Quick time march." We slowed to a walk, then halted. "Bull," with his hands on his hips, walked back and forth in front of us explaining that he only stopped to pick up stragglers. He said that he wasn’t finished with us by a long shot; so we’d better get all the rest possible while we had the chance. He wasn’t fooling us with his threats. We all knew he’d shot his wad...Every time he stopped we could see his legs tremble. The Old Man had overloaded his ass and now it was our turn.
Pee Wee requested, "Permission to speak, Captain." "What the
hell have you got to say Nealy," barked the Skipper. "Was it you that
painted my jeep?"
Nosir Captain," said Pee Wee with his head cocked. "I don’t know
nothin about your jeep. But, I was just wondering, and well, since we ain’t
been runnin very hard, and now, we’re just sittin around on our asses. Could
Jesus, I thought the Old Man would have an apoplectic fit! For a moment he just stared at Pee Wee, his eyes burning with anger. Then he said, "All right, you smartasses, on your feet." Away we went at the fastest pace yet. But now we were headed down hill. We had "The Bull" by the short hairs and even he knew he’d had the weeny.
The front runners stayed right on Bull’s heels pressing him to run faster. Then, as if we’d communicated mentally, we began to pass the skipper. He fell quickly through the ranks until he became just a winded straggler. The rest of us ran with the exhilaration of mutiny and revenge.
Back at the warehouse, no one even considered waiting in the muster area until the stragglers arrived. In rebellion, we hit the rain locker, then most of the guys went to the Silver Bullet for a cold beer or two. I went to my footlocker to get a pack of cigarettes when I noticed Pee Wee’s rack was still outside. I dragged it back in and squared it away.
I looked up from my efforts and there stood my ole Bud as I still remember
him to this day... With his head cocked and a shit-eatin grin. We had gone
through frog training together. He was, to say the least, a close friend.
Without saying a word, I lighted a cigarette and offered it to him in silent
apology. He took a couple long pulls, threw his douche kit onto his rack and
said, "You dirty rotten sonofabitch, come on I’ll buy you a beer."
When we got to the Silver Bullet it was buzzing with excited conversation and
laughter. At the bar, Art Hammond handed us a beer and said, "Get this
shit. You won’t believe who painted the Skipper’s jeep. It was the goddamn
sawbones, and he was passed out in Officer’s Quarters the whole time we was
pickin em up and layin em down. That Pecker Checker, Doc Lamphere, got
shit-faced last night and painted the jeep with a swab."
At Monday quarters, a thoroughly shame-faced and contrite Commanding Officer faced his troops. To his credit, he admitted his mistake of assuming only a lowly enlisted puke could have perpetrated so dastardly a deed.
To make up for ruining our Sunday, the Skipper put down Rope Yarn. We all
learned a valuable lesson about leadership and "Bull" lost a whole lot
more than a day’s training on that trip to St. Thomas.
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