Friday, January 06, 2006

Officers Call...Get your ass to the Club!

I don't know why I'm relating this today, other than the fact that it's Friday and in the old days I'd be at the O'Club right now...and not typing on the keyboard. Oh well.

In the bad old days on a Friday evening around 1600 HRS (that's 4:00 PM to you non 24 hr clock folks)all us bad ass Warrant Officer aviators and our not so bad ass RLO minders would retire to the Officers Club for what was called "Officers Call".

Everyone went and no body complained. For the most part no one was ever injured and fun was had by just about all. For whatever reason, this tradition has vanished...in 1987 when I graduated from flight school, if you tried to get into the O'Club at 1800 on a Friday you'd be out of luck...the place would be packed, everyone officers, wives, girlfriends you name it they were there. But today, your lucky to spot a few guys sitting at the bar talking to the Korean bartender.

I saw things go on in there that are now part of legend. A group of young officers ogling the lifeguard by the pool through the huge plate glass window only to find out that she was the daughter of the BDE commander who was standing right behind them. The drunk asshole COL who was punched out by an unknown person who got away with it because the same drunk asshole got stopped by the MPs on the way home. The 82nd Airborne and the Cavalry having a brawl that almost destroyed the club and then moved into the parking lot. And then there's this story...

I was sitting at a table with tow of my buddies, one "Dana" was a OH-58 MTP (Maintenance Test Pilot) the other "Bill" was a 58 IP. At that time in my life I was a UH-1 MTP. "Bill" overheard a couple of drunk young ladies behind us talking and picked up on one of their names..."Patti".

Wanting to have a little fun at their expense "Bill" began to yell over the noise of the club, "PPPPAAAATTTTIII!"

He did this repeatedly until Patti came over to our table where she asked, "Do I know you?"

"Bill" responded with, "You don't remember?"
"Remember what?"
"What do you mean, remember what...we slept together!" (They hadn't...he didn't even know her)
"NO!"
"YES!"
"NO!" (I then overheard her friend say to her, "Did you?")
"Oh Yeah we did...I'm shocked and hurt that you don't remember...and you promised to call me."
"You guys must be Apache pilots!"
"No we fly Hueys(UH-1)"
"Hueys, nobody flies Hueys anymore!"
"Bill" is now in a furious mood turning red "I'm not going to stand here and take that from you...everyone treats us like second class citizens just because we fly Hueys and I'm sick of it."
The girl looks at me with a puzzled hurt look on her face and I say, "What can I say he's a sensitive guy."
With that the ladies beat a hasty retreat afraid that "Bill" is going to actually loose it. A few moments later the waitress brings us a pitcher and says the girls bought it for us to say they were sorry. And then "Bill's" wife showed up...but that's another story.

Now you might tell me that the reason the O'Club is dead now is that the Army has moved beyond the need for its officers to get rip roaring drunk and fight each other to let off steam. That for the most part is true...but much more than people drinking went on there...there was bonding, there was brotherhood and there was the ability to blow off steam with no retribution. I saw guys tell their COs that they were assholes and on Monday when they went back to work, it was all good. Not everyone drank either...I had plenty a coca cola there and still had a good time. While I know things and times change it's not always for the good. That O'Club was a great place sometimes and the new guys will never know what that is like and that is a crying shame. Beisdes where else are we supposed to break in our Stetsons or perform "Belt Lifts"?
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