A BEER URGE AND A 9mm NUDGE
By Joe W. Rush
Some people live and learn, some just live, and some are just inordinately lucky.
An incident occurred while I was stationed at the LORAN-C Station in Targaburun, Turkey, a story which I shall relate to you without the mention of any names. You might see why after reading the story. I will relate it to you as it was related to me, and the participants will be called "The Chief", "Doc", and "The Idiot".
The year was 1959, the year "The Idiot" turned twenty-one. His age has nothing to do with the story except that he was somewhat ignorant and totally brash. I still see him often and he is still somewhat ignorant, but the years have taken some of the shine off of the brash, if you'll pardon my little play on words. Here is the meat of the story:
"Three of us; myself, The Chief, and Doc, had taken one of the Dodge Weapons Carriers (a fancy name for a 4x4 pickup with wooden bench seats in the rear) from the LORAN Station at Targaburun and made the daily mail run over to the Turkish army base near Corlu (thatís pronounced ĎChorlooí). We were early, but we meant to be. If we were early we would have to wait for our mail to be delivered from Istanbul and sorted, and there was no better place to wait than the "Red Dog Saloon". The beer was cold, it was good, it was cheap, and there was plenty of it, unlike our meager supply at the LORAN Station."
"The Chief insisted on driving the truck and he delivered us to the appointed spot in good health and in good time.
The "Red Dog Saloon" was a facility maintained by the US Army, and they were located on the back side of the Turkish Army base. They had been invited there to teach the Turkish Army about the care and feeding of the Honest John missile, and from all accounts they were doing a masterful job of it, since the Turks had not lately destroyed too much of importance around the area with the missiles. At any rate, upon arrival we checked with the mail room and, wouldn't you just know it, the mail had not yet arrived from Istanbul. That being the case there was nothing to do but wait, so we repaired to the aforementioned watering hole and commenced to drown a thirst and smoke a good cigar or two, or three."
"Several beers later the mail room clerk came in and announced that the mail had been received and sorted, so The Chief reluctantly went to pick it up while Doc and myself said our good-byes and finished our beers. We then mounted the truck, with The Chief driving again, and headed for the main gate which was on the front side of the base. This meant that we had to go through the Turkish base to get out, just as we had had to do to get in. The streets, if you could call them streets, were hard-packed gravel and were terribly rough, sort of like a corduroy road. About halfway through the Turkish area I announced to The Chief that I had a very full bladder which demanded my immediate attention. It was then widely known that I could drink a six-pack of beer and process it within fifteen minutes as a full case, but The Chief told me to hold on to what I had. I held on. I held on for about another fifty feet before I announced that I could no longer hold on. This irritated The Chief a whole bunch, but he brought the truck to a screeching halt so that this Idiot Seaman, who couldnít hold onto his beer, could relieve himself. I was most pleased that he had stopped."
"I quickly dismounted, being on the outside near the door, and just as quickly turned my attention to the business at hand, facing the rear tire of the truck and taking dead aim on that tire. I was hosing it down really well when I felt something poking me in the back. I turned my head and noticed what appeared to be a Turkish soldier standing squarely behind me. I twisted my neck further, unaware that more than my neck was rotating, and noted that the soldier was wearing a Turkish MP arm band, an item I had seen before, and the thing he had poked me in the back with looked quite a bit like the muzzle of a well used 9 mm automatic.
Sure enough, thatís just exactly what the damned thing was. Further noticing on my part brought to my attention that, just on the other side of the ditch near where I was standing, a soccer game had evidently been under way but had now stopped. It was well attended by a bunch of laughing and gesturing Turkish army types and, from the looks of them, some of them were officers. I guessed that one of the officers had sent the MP to see why this infidel was relieving himself on the company street. I guess the reason I didnít notice all these people before was that I only had one thing on my mind."
"Being about half in the bag, I found the situation to be sort of funny and I started chuckling. Then I noticed that when I chuckled the stream, which was still pouring forth with gusto, had found the right foot and leg of the MP. He was wearing the heavy woolen greens that the Turkish Army wore in all seasons, with leggings. The leggings had not protected his shoe nor his uniform though, and his right leg was suddenly wet almost to his crotch. His eyes bulged out, he jumped back about four feet, shouting several words unknown to me, and then he began to jump up and down, sort of like the Yosemite Sam in the Bugs Bunny cartoon.
The Chief heard all of this, leaned across Doc, and shouted at me to tell him what the hell was going on. Now, The Chief was red in the face under any condition, and when he had tippled a bit he was red enough so that you just knew he would bleed to death if you plucked out a whisker. Not only was his face a bright blood red, he was wearing his Chiefís hat, a type of hat with a type of insignia that the Turkish MP had evidently never seen before. The Turk must have thought it prudent to salute this large, red-faced "whatever". He tried this, but he still had that 9 mm in his saluting hand and he came damned close to either knocking himself silly or shooting himself in the head, whichever came first. I never noticed which it was, but I never heard a shot and I was really pleased with that, and not just for the Turk, either."
"With the Turk distracted by his aborted attempt at a salute and my business attended to, I stowed my hardware, jumped back into the truck, and told The Chief to get the hell out of there as quick as he could.
After we were safely off the base I related to him what had happened. Doc had witnessed the whole thing while sitting sidesaddle on the seat with his feet on the running board and he supported my story while trying not to laugh. The Chief chose not to believe it since I had not been shot dead, which he would have done in the MPís place, and which he was thinking about doing anyhow."
I stored the above story in my "Big Ones" file and didnít give it too much thought after that. I rotated from Turkey, went to ET School, made it to ET1, and eventually became an instructor at the LORAN-C School in Groton during the years 1965-1967.
One day I had just dismissed my class for chow when I saw a familiar face coming up from down below. It was "Doc" in civilian clothes but I recognized him even though I couldnít remember his name. He had been the second HM1 stationed at Targaburun, the first one having been "Doc" Patrick.
He recognized me also, and we talked a bit. I asked him what he was doing visiting the school in civilian clothes and he told me that he was with what was then called CID, if my memory is correct, and that it was none of my business what he was doing there. I asked him how long he had been with CID while trying to remember what bad things I might have done in Turkey that might have caught his attention. He confirmed my fears when he told me that he had been sent to Turkey to relieve the original HM1 and get the lay of the land. When I asked him about the above story he confirmed it, and he also told me that "The Idiot" was quite famous in some circles around Washington, DC as the only person ever known to have pissed on a Turkish MP holding a gun on him and not get shot! "Doc" went on about his business and I havenít seen him since, thankfully.
Some people live and learn, some just live, and some are just inordinately lucky.
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