Sunday Sermuncle

This weekend was the Team Dive. There was, as always these days, no diving; but many of the members of A-1 / ODA-111 / ODA-1111 / ODA-2034 (the same basic team, with different numbers, over a span of some forty years) and a few friends from other ODAs in the same company did show up to enjoy grilling, drinking, camaraderie and, of course, endless “war stories” from exercises in Norway to experiences in Legland as a raw private to the process of getting out of an assignment to Hindi/Urdu school in Monterey and volunteering for Vietnam by calling Mrs. A.

A lot of stories involved getting around the Army bureaucracy that committed boneheaded follies, such as assigning a native Filipino who’d spent his last three pre-SF years in units in Hawaii to the unit that covers South America, because his name was Rodriguez. (Not his real name, but close. He escaped with a call to Mrs. A., naturally, and went to Okinawa instead, where his Tagalog fluency was treasured).

As the event is held in Massachusetts, and many of the guys who show up are local, there was a lot of discussion of Massachusetts gun laws, and we all said a few Heil Healeys because that seems to be what she wants, or at least, deserves. Heil Healey!

Some were absent. One guy is going through some hard times and wants to be alone — boy, he doesn’t know what a pestering that has put him in for.

One guy got himself into a severe legal jam, and showed up at the house of a teammate who was keeping his guns, begging for just one back. The friend, of course, refused (or what sort of friend would he have been?) but the troubled man opted for Plan B, a combination of overdose and bloodletting, and saved the authorities a trial and decades of room and board. Given what his future looked like, it may have been the right choice for his family, but his absence was felt.

Then there was the guy who is rumored to be motor racing in Colorado as a relief from his high-stress job in the C-suite. We suspect we missed him more than he misses us.

And some just couldn’t show up — summer weekends are premium for everybody, in these latitudes.

Which brings us to the thing that makes this not a random musing, but a sermuncle — which the dictionary says is a “short sermon.” Go thou, and contact thy friends from service days; do not let this week pass without picking a name at, more or less, random from your phone or rolodex, and calling. Just to say, hello. Just to say that you are a friend.

Perhaps even to say, I can not approve of the misdeed you have done, but I still love you like a brother. It is a small thing, a Christian thing (or perhaps a human thing, for you need not be a Christian to do it; the phone is available to the Hindu and the Jew, and, through the grace of God, to the Godless heathen himself). It is a thing worth doing.

Call a friend you’re out of touch with, before the sun rises next Sunday.

Thus endeth the sermuncle.

 

13 thoughts on “Sunday Sermuncle

  1. Alan Ward

    Amen brother. This to the death bond that vets have is something I regret not getting myself. My limited military experience left me seeing this from a distance and in some ways always having wanted that bond for myself. Now having to have gone through the hell that most vets experienced to get it is another matter.

    1. looserounds.com

      having read way too many vietnam era bios, I can tell you she worked in DC and worked in some office that handles the assignments of Special Forces soldiers and seems it was a common thing when some guy wanted to get to vietnam or some where else but the army said “no” to call her up from a number a friend gave you, and tell her your story and she would do whatever she did to get them the place they wanted. I have read of her helping in books from Billy Waugh, Leigh Wade and John Plaster . Her full name has been published in a lot of those books. But since Hognose did not repeat it. I will not either.

  2. Jim Scrummy

    I’ve reached out to three friends this week. We had great talks about life, family, hobbies, and the four letter word…work. Anyway, had a few laughs about our youthful stupidity. It was good for our souls (not trying to be religiously). Good times!

  3. LSWCHP

    I just spent a weekend on an annual skiing and drinking trip with two of my old army mates and a couple of other friends. I’ve known one of them since we were teenagers on recruit course almost 40 years ago. Now those of us who have hair are grey or greying, but that’s ok because it’s the way of nature and we are all blessed with tall strong sons who make us proud.

    War stories were told, muslim terrorists bastards were roundly and repeatedly cursed and much beer and malt whiskey was consumed with large steaks. It was A Good Thing To do.

  4. SPEMack

    How fitting. Friday Household Six and I attended a Braves game with brother from the dear old Fraternity.

    Between the four of us and our dates every branch but the Marine Corps was represented. And something like 15 deployments in the GWOT.

    A good sermon with a good message, Hognose. I will break out the old call chart tomorrow.

  5. Torres

    Mrs. A would be Mrs. Billye Alexander a Patron Saint of SF assignments during the VN years and I believe into the 70’s. In my day, it was Mrs. Carole Palmer who carried on the job in the 1980’s.

    As far as reunions go, last week 10 members of SFQC Phase I classes 6-80 and 6-80 (Pilot) and SF Aidman 300-F1 class 4-80 got together in Portland, Oregon. We got together to mark 35 years having passed since our respective graduation from the Q-Course.

    We had a great time. We didn’t watch a second of television. We sat around the fire pit, drank beer, reminisced about back in the day, what brought us all to SF, and what we have been doing since we last saw each other in May of 1981. It was an amazing weekend and well worth the time and expense to travel across the country to attend.

    Our group had a career SF officer whom retired as a LTC, a trauma surgeon, a retired Chicago paramedic, a retired SF MSG, one guy whose family runs a business in Oregon, an artist, a church pastor, an economist specializing in real estate, a physician assistant who is soon to be promoted to full Colonel, and myself, an RN in an urban emergency department.

    It was really telling that in spite of not having seen each other in such a long time, it was like we hadn’t missed a beat. We all had somewhat different career paths since the Q-Course but have that unique unifying experience of having served in Special Forces. We were regular Army, Reserve, and National Guard, some serving in all three components. The weekend couldn’t have gone better.

    It was almost like attending a religious retreat except we laughed, said fu*k a lot, and drank a fair amount of beer and ate red meat. We also toasted the memory of those in our class that have gone on to Valhalla and cursed the enemies of our country, both foreign and domestic. Everyone that ever served together needs to do this a least once.

    Here is our Band of Brothers. DOL…

    1. LSWCHP

      Mate, I’m sensing universal themes at these gatherings, across services and even across armies. :-)

      War stories are told and retold. Beer is drunk. Red meat is consumed. Enemies are cursed. And of course, glasses are raised to absent friends.

      I suspect the WM visitors and commenters all have a lot in common and would get on pretty well together!

    1. Hognose Post author

      Yeah, my cop friends who are also vets tell me “it’s kind of the same, but not quite” with fellow cops.

  6. Cap'n Mike

    Awesome stories that you guys still get together with your brothers.
    I really need to reach out more, Im only in touch with 2 guys I served with, which is sad.

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