Home Another Vietnam Story Cherry Point Windsock/Informational Services Office | Next | Previous

How I finally got out of this crazy place!

I couldn't keep my mouth shut. I couldn't control my temper. I was really naive. Because of all of these flaws I almost spent the remainder of my time in the Marines in the brig. I didn't but almost did.

Here's what happened.

My boss, Dave Deyerle, finally told the boys behind the green door that they had to setup some kind of rotation when it came to working on weekends. Especially on Sunday. Dave and I were both working almost every Sunday and it was starting to get old.

So at some point they started using reporters to fill in on weekends. And Dave and I only had to do weekend duty once a month.

That's why on the Sunday of the air show it was just a reporter doing the photos. The Windsock wanted either Dave or I to shoot the air show but it wasn't our turn to work the weekend. Plus Dave had told his family that he would take them to the air show. No Windsock business just the family.

The Windsock editor, Cpl Lovelace, asked me to do it.

I said, "No."

So he went to Dave and used my boss to get me to shoot the air show. I really didn't want to do it but for Dave I did.

I shot the air show. Cpl Lovelace was there but I stayed way clear of him. Went through 4 rolls of 36 exposure 35mm film. Dave showed up at the air show with his family as planned.

At the end of the day I went back to the photo-lab to process the film and get contacts made so the first thing Monday morning the Windsock editor, Cpl Lovelace, would have his air show photos on his desk. All he had to do was select the ones he wanted and Dave or I would get them printed. I think both Dave and I thought it would be a double-page spread of photos. Anyway that was the plan. It didn't happen.

I was very busy the rest of the week and had forgotten about the air show photos. I just assumed Dave had printed them. He usually did the printing anyway. He didn't. I found out why Thursday morning.

When the Windsock arrives at the ISO office Dave or I go over and get copies. It was our Thursday morning tradition to examine the latest edition of the Windsock with coffee and donuts.

Dave brought the donuts and I went and got the Windsock.

Over at the ISO I'm looking for the Windsock. Can't find them. They're usually stacked up in the back room. I go to Bill Gregory and ask him were the Windsocks are?

Turns out they were trying to keep the Windsock from me. They didn't think I would like what I saw in it. They were absolutly right on the money!

"I don't see any. Do you?" he said.

"No. That's why I'm asking you. Where are they?"

Just then Cpl Lovelace saids, "There over here John, help yourself."

I go over and get copies. I open one to see how the double-page spread of the air show looks. Can't find it. I look again. Nothing. I ask Cpl Lovelave, "What happened to the air show photos."

"Oh they're in there John. Page 4 at the top."

I turn to page four and there're the air show photos. 3 of them. Photo caption saids, "Photos by Cpl Lovelace."

This little shit-for-brains corporal had taken a Poloriad over to the air show and had taken three fuzzy photos. He put these into the Windsock.

I asked him, "Why didn't you use the photos I took? You were the one that made the big deal about a photographer doing the show. I even got the contacts over to you first thing Monday morning."

Cpl Lovelace saids, "I never saw those contacts. Where did you put them."

"Where I always put them. Right here."

I then reach for a stack of contacts and photos on his desk and search through them for the air show contacts. They were in the stack.

I said, "What this?" Showing him the contacts. I was ready to completly lose it with this shit. My hands were shaking so bad I could barely hold anything. (38 years later as I'm writing this my hands are starting to shake from the anger I still have for this creep.)

He replied that, "I didn't know they were there. I just thought you guys didn't have time to get them done."

Now I did lose it!

I took one of the Windsocks and went through the green door into the front office where all three boys were. I shreaded the Windsock. Asked the gunny for a lighter and lit the shreaded Windsock on fire in the gunny's ashtray.

I said, "That's what I think of your shitty little paper!"

Gunny yells, "What the hell's going on!"

I tell him what happened and leave the ISO office. Not bothering to get a responce from the boys behind the green door.

I went back to the photo-lab and told Dave about the stupid thing I just did.

He just shook his head and said, "I don't think I can save you this time. That is just about the stupidist thing I ever heard anyone do."

I aggreed. To late I thought. To the brig we go. Oh shit.

Dave goes over to the ISO office to see what he could do. We both figured it was over for me. He was just hoping to keep me out of the brig.

He did keep me out of the brig. I didn't even get office-hours from it.

Here's why. The OIC, Tweedledee, thinks I am mentially unstable and sending me to the brig would put me over the edge. And I would never be the same again. He had that right! I tell you, you can't make this stuff up. It really happened.

So instead of any punishment I would do mess duty. A month at the mess hall cleaning dishes. I actually looked forward to it.

In the mean time both Dave and I were working to get me out of the ISO office and over to the base photo-lab. We did just manage it. The photo-lab had just gotten a sergeant from Quanitco. Turns out the lab would do anything to get rid of him. He had pissed off just about everyone in the lab with his know-it-all attitude. So a trade was made. The lab got me and the ISO office got the sergeant.

This sergeant told me, in front of the entire lab crew, that he was three times better than me because he was an E5 and I was an E2. The boys behind the green door agreed with him and were convinced they got the better of the deal. I didn't care what any of them thought. I was out of the ISO office and that's all I cared about.

I only did 2 weeks mess duty and then I was transferred to the base photo-lab. One week later I was a Lance Corporal (E3.)

I became a legand at the ISO office. The guy who burned a Windsock in the gunny's ashtray! And lived to tell the story.

I think Dave was also out at the ISO office. His transfer to the VMCJ squadron came through. An era was over.

Do I care that nothing happened to Lovelace? No. Guys like that get theirs in the end. What goes around, comes around. Remember the gunny got his.

I did miss the crew at the ISO office but they kept me up to date on the happenings behind the green door. [next]

-30-