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Captain Barbara

Two characteristics of eastern North Carolina - hot and humid. The air base was only 10 feet above sea level. And 5 feet of that was built-up land fill. The surrounding area was only 5 feet above sea level.

The heat we could handle but add in the humidity and it made for one lously place. This is 1966 Marines. No air-conditioning needed by these few, these proud.

Captain Barbara was the OIC when I arrived at ISO. Position required a Major. Captain Barbara was a realist and knew the Marines would never promote her. Interesting when you consider that they really didn't care that a woman was the spokesmen for the Marines at Cherry Point.

The '66 World Series was the Dodgers and the Orioles. Being a big time Dodgers fan I was looking forward to the games. After all they beat the Yankees in 4 straight in '64 and just who were the Baltimore Orioles anyway?

Captain Barbara had set up a TV in the front office and when I saw this I convinced her to rearrange the desks and set the big lounge sofa in front of the TV so we could all watch the games. She agreed. That's the kind of person she was. After the games everything went back to business as usual.

I bet $100 on the first game with Bill Gregory. Dodgers lost. I doubled the bet for the next game. Dodgers lost. Doubled it again. Dodgers lost. What the hell doubled it again. Dodgers lost. Series over. $800 in the hole to Bill.

A short time later the Los Angeles Rams played the Baltimore Colts in their first game of the NFL season. Being a big fan of the Rams I bet my $800 on the Rams to beat the Colts. The Colts were the power house team in the NFL in those days and everyone was convinced I would be $1,600 in the hole by the end of the game. I did too. But we were all wrong. Rams won and went on to win their conference over the Colts. Now that I am even with Bill I give up betting forever. Never again.

Prior to the World Series fun Captain Barbara had decided that Pfc Krill was not spending enough time with the rest of the ISO team and decides to have me help in the Thursday night field-day of the ISO office. Funny, never once did any of the ISO team come over the the photo-lab and help me clean that area. I had to clean the photo-lab area then go over and help with the ISO office area. It wasn't a big deal. And it was kinda' fun working with the ISO crew. Maybe Captain Barbara was right. But it was the principle of the thing. Right?

Anyway Bill and I were assigned to clean the front office where the officer's worked. Couple of desks, couple of chairs and the big leather sofa. No biggie. We went to it.

After getting everything cleaned but the floor we start out sweaping the office area. I'm behind the officer's desks sweeping under the desks. I hit something under Captain Barbara's desk. I look under to see what it is. There, before me, is a small electric desk fan on the floor. It has a button switch so you could use your foot to turn the fan on and off. Laughing to hard to stand I fall to the floor. Bill comes around to see what's so funny. He see the humor of it but he just wants to finished the cleaning and get out of the office.

Bill saids, "Yea so. Everyone in the office knows about that fan. I got plans so lets get this done and outa here."

"No way Bill. This is to good to pass up. Do we have any crep paper?"

"What for?"

"Do we have any crep paper?"

"Yea. We probably have some in the back office."

"Well go get it."

"O.K. but I don't want to know anything. I'll get the paper then I'm leaving. Whatever you have planned I don't want to know about it."

"Fine. Just get the crep paper."

Bill returns with the crep paper and I locate the tape. I cut strips of crep paper about 5 feet in length and tape 4 or 5 of these strips to the fan housing. Arrange them so the Captain won't see them when she sits at her desk but when she turns on the fan they will do their deed.

Then next morning I'm gone. Have jobs all day. It wasn't until the end of the day I find out what happened.

Sometime late in the morning Captain Barbara storms out of her office and goes right up to Bill and asks, "Who cleaned the front office?"

"John, Captain Barbara"


She returns to her office.

Funny thing, I never had to do field day at the ISO office again while Captain Barbara was the OIC. I would have to wait until Tweedledee and Tweedledumb came aboard. That's another story.

Captain Barbara was gone by the Fall of 1966. Not her fault she was more qualified than her replacement. Way more qualified.

True story. Just ask Bill. [Next]