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Military Christmas Memory

So no kidding, there I was.

Just prior to Christmas 1991, I was assigned weekend duty as the driver/runner for our battalion’s Staff Duty NCO (SDNCO).  Basically, a Staff Sergeant and I  spent Friday night and Saturday sitting in the basement of our battalion’s barracks, answering the phone, signing personnel in and out of the unit, and making sure that the revelers in the Op Stop battalion bar didn’t get too rowdy.

Yes Virginia, my battalion operated a bar in the basement of our barracks.  Our commanders made the sensible decision sometime in the 1970’s that it made more sense to fill the unit’s morale fund by selling beer and well drinks to the soldiers in the barracks than by holding bake sales and car washes.  Also, this kept that group of burgeoning alcoholics out of the bars and off the roads.  This kept the SDNCO and the battalion leadership from having to bail soldiers out of jail for fighting and DUI.  As a matter of fact, prior to the Op Stop being shut down in 1993, our unit went 12 years without a DUI.  Considering that the majority of the battalion was aged 20 to 25 and were being set free in a country where alcohol in all its forms ran freely at periodic festivals designed specifically for drinking them, that’s quite an accomplishment.  The weekend after we pulled down the bar in the Op Stop, we had 4 DUI’s.  That’s probably something to consider when you try to keep people from doing things you don’t approve of. They’ll probably still do them, but probably won’t do them in as safe a place as you’ve just taken away.

Anyway, that December weekend saw our valiant troops doing their best to drink Bavaria dry, and I was sent down the hall several times to turn down the music and the drunks.  About 3 AM the sergeant I was working with went down and shut the lights off.  A crowd of about 50 rather inebriated, highly trained, and motivated soldiers then tromped upstairs.

It had been snowing all evening and into the night.  I went out every so often to sweep the snow from the walk in the front of the building and the front steps.  I planned to shovel the parking lot after breakfast on Saturday.

Saturday morning came with a brilliant winter’s sunrise, and was followed very closely by the battalion’s Command Sergeant Major.  This senior NCO was feared and loved by us all.  He was what we called a Tusker.  He was an old elephant who had come home to Augsburg to finish out his career.  He had probably lived in about half of the barracks on our little post over the course of his 30 years.  Only the occasional inconvenience of being sent back to the States for a year or so had kept him away from Augsburg. He was also one of the few people I ever met with an Army Security Agency combat patch.

After checking in with us and chatting about how bad the roads were and how glad he was that he lived within walking distance to post, the Sergeant Major walked upstairs to his office on the third floor.  Moments later, the phone rang.

“What the !#$!@# is going on down on the battalion square?” this normally calm, composed old soldier was yelling into the phone.  A quick look out the back door let me know that my Saturday was going to be long and difficult.

After leaving the Op Stop that morning, the dedicated warriors of our battalion had neither walked home nor gone upstairs to their rooms.  They had taken advantage of the cover of darkness and the newly fallen snow to erect an erotic winter wonderland in the battalion square.  Every conceivable sexual position had been crafted in snowpeople.  They must have worked at it for several hours, because there were about 25 snowpeople engaging in a frozen orgy.

The SDNCO gave me charge of the desk and ran upstairs to wake up everyone he could find.  Over the next hour or so the still drunk and hung over soldiers of our little intel unit obliterated their works of art under the watchful eye of an irate Command Sergeant Major   While no pictures were taken that morning, I later saw several Polaroids of the figures as they were being constructed. A military operation of such stealth and social worth has not since been accomplished.  While there was some grumbling about innocence and being made to knock down such fine works of sculpture, there was also quite a bit of giggling as the obscene statuary was destroyed.

In memory of this wonderful holiday memory, I give you this:

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