Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Those were the days my friend

My first duty assignment in the USAF was at RAF Upper Heyford* in England. Since I was single I was posted to the enlisted dorm and since I was an A1C I had to have a roommate.

The first roommate I was assigned to was a guy from my shop named Mark Reese. He was a very quiet guy, who rarely talked and kept to himself for the most part. He also chewed tobacco. In spite of this we got along pretty well.

Over time we started hanging out with another dorm rat named Ken Davis** who was in Avionics as I recall. Ken was the total opposite of Mark. He was large, loud and could put away a serious amount of alcohol. He was a very fun guy to be around. We used to torment the shitkicker contingent of the dorm personnel on Country music night at the base club by playing Ivor Bigguns' song "Halfway Up Virginia" (I love the internet) as loud as we possibly could on Ken's stereo over and over. I'm surprised the SPs never showed up. Or some irate Country music fans.

One afternoon the three of us (his roomie was off doing something for God) were hanging out in Ken's dorm room watching videos on his kickass VCR*** when from the top bunk where Ken was sitting I heard, "Garrrgh! PLah! MARK! Were you using this Coke can for your SPIT?!"

Mark just grinned and said, "I guess so, sorry."

"Man that's fucking NASTY! You need to mark your cans or something!"

Ken had taken a huge drink of tobacco spit tea. It was as funny as it was horrifying. I had learned before that incident to keep my soda close and not drink from anything I'm not sure of around Mark. Ken had to learn the hard way.

Amazingly he didn't kill Mark and even eventually even had him as a roommate of his own.

But that's a story for another time.

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* I googled RAF Upper Heyford to be sure that I was spelling it correctly (because it has been YEARS since I've written it out) and found the site that I linked to. I haven't given the base any real thought in years, but I just found out from that site that it was closed down 10 years ago.

I'm absolutely amazed that I feel sad by this. Seriously amazed because at the time I was there I was pretty miserable. The only bright spot really was finally being in England. Yet, in thinking about it that was also the happiest time I spent in the Air Force. Except during chemical warfare exercises of course. It doesn't help that England was followed up by a year at Dyess AFB in Abilene Texas, "Home of the B-1 Bomber" and all kinds of cow smells and heat.

Logically I would never be seeing this base again, but the fact that it has closed has shaken me to the core. Bizarre. One of the many thoughts zooming through my head was "I wander what happened to the Peace Campers."

I was a member of the 20th CRS in the PMEL (Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory) shop from 1988 to 1990. For whatever that's worth.

** I found what might be his email address on the duty roster of the linked page and have written to him. I'll let you know what comes of that.

*** I've never seen a VCR like this one since. I know it was seriously expensive, but it was able to slow down a video to a steady frame by frame playback as well as many other strange video features (like a plasma image filter). It was with this slow playback that we were able to see, in the movie 'Bad Taste' by Peter Jackson, a hand holding a bucket toss out the blood as Peter's character, Derek, hits the rocks among the seagulls. It was fantastic.

1 comment:

organodano said...

Collin,
This is so funny dude, I am your old roommate: Dan Martineau (the one you referred to as Ken Davis' roommate who was off doing something for God).
Sorry I was so Dogmatic back then, I wanted to save everyone but now realize only Jesus Himself can do that! Have you heard from Ken; in trying to locate him, google directed me to your blog! Contact me on facebook (you'll know I'm the right Dan because I have my Air Force photo from basic training posted there), I'm still a power-geek but I'm much more laid back then those days in England. Hey, remember eating rabbit at the dinning hall on base?
Peace-out,
Dano

"Boring a hole in the patient’s head creates a door through which the demons can escape, and - viola! - out goes the crazy."