We've all been there as Crew Chiefs. You know, the night where it's your turn in the truck as the parts runner. There were some guys that got that gig a lot more than others for obvious reasons (let's just say it wasn't the most challenging job in the Air Force). For me, when my time came, it sure was a needed break from busting ass on the line, especially when we had to change all of the inboard re-caped tires!!!! Anyone who has had the pleasure of completing that task knows exactly what I mean! More than anything, when I was assigned the job, I wanted to be fast and efficient. Go get it and get back .... that way I could have my chill time parked somewhere listening to the radio or just goofing around. There are, however, some annoying things that you encounter as the parts runner.
Charleston AFB 437th OMS offices, 1991
Is it me or are SPs some of the most bothersome people (other than QA) on the flightline? They think that they are really somebody with that Beret & M-16 in their little shack at the Entry Control Point. We were supposed to stop and show them your flightline badge each time we went in or out. Some SPs were cool, if they saw you once, they would just wave you through the next time, no big deal. Well, of course we had the guys that went by the book and stopped you every time and made you pull out the badge so that he could look at the picture and look at you and then give his little "I'm an SP God" wave gesture. When you are the parts runner on a busy night, you will be in and out hundreds of times. If you had the "SP Prick" working, it was a long night. I know these guys are just doing their job, but some of them take advantage of the situation with the "I'm a bad-ass cop don't mess with me" attitude and those guys are the ones that got under my skin. It took a trip to Spain to witness some pay-back to an SP prick. Justice was enacted with the help of a Crew from the 172nd Airlift Wing out of Jackson, Mississippi.
Segovia, Spain - The Roman Aqueduct
In early March of 1991, I was sent to Torrejon AB in support of Desert Storm. As usual, I was assigned to my home on grave shift. The nights were typical. Blocking in, blocking out, refueling, pre-flight inspections, a tire change here or there and of course the always favorite: babysitting. I was rather fond of babysitting because I could call home on the HF radio and speak to my folks and my friends. "Thule Airways, Thule Airways this is MAC 650267 on 11175...how copy, over?" My mom was so amazed that I could call her from the airplane. We still talk about that now, nearly 15 years later. I really enjoyed my 33 days in Spain. It was the first time I had ever traveled outside the US and I such a wonderful time. I saw a castle in a village called Segovia, a Romanesque beauty, which also boasts a Roman Aqueduct that is over 2000 years old and still works today. I saw the sights and sounds of Madrid, Spain's largest city. I fell in love with Spain. I didn't care for the trash and graffitti, but it had charm in it's own unique way.
Grave Shift briefing. March 1991, 1900 HRS
Meanwhile, back on the flightline .. one particular night there was an SP prick working the shack. He'd seen me come in and out all night, but kept asking to see the badge. He was annoying everyone. He stopped everybody and went by the book…looked down at the badge, looked at your face, back at the badge, and then gave the SP God wave gesture. We'd had enough of this guy. The final straw was when the parts runner was in hurry to get to a blocking plane and didn't stop. SP prick screamed at him and of course made him pull out the badge! It was time for a little revenge. It just so happens that the Entry Control Point was located right behind a parked C-141, which was the 1st spot on the line on that particular row. I had the pleasure of working that spot, which had a crew from the 172nd Airlift Wing of the Mississippi Air National Guard. I always enjoyed working with Guard crews. They were the best. Very down to earth (for the most part) and always had great stories to tell and most had a great sense of humor, which was the case with this crew on this particular night. They had been basically frisked at the Entry Control Point by the SP prick. When they arrived at the plane they were all talking about how much of an ass the "cop" was at the ECP. We shared our experiences with him and all agreed that he needed to be taught a lesson or two. So, the Aircraft Commander came up with a great idea. Since the spot required a right hand turn on block out, he would nudge the #1 & #2 engines an extra bit, thus an "accidental desired effect" would occur. Took some balls and my respect for the Guard was just that much more reinforced.
Scene of the crime. Circa March 1991.
The SP Shack is no where to be found.
When it came to time to block out, that's exactly what he did and the shack, along with SP prick inside, went flying across the road! It was the funniest thing that I had ever seen. I laughed so hard that I nearly pissed myself. And, by the way, no one from the flightline ran to his aide. That might sound mean, but I think he learned not to mess with the guys on the flightline!