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Military Illustrations

  • Airport Security

    Airport metal detectorsOn a business trip, my father approached a security checkpoint at the airport. The National Guard shift was rotating, and a guard, in full uniform, was in line in front of him.

    As with everybody else, the soldier was ordered to go through the metal detector. So, as he did so, he handed his M-16 rifle to security personnel along with other items such as handcuffs and a flashlight.

    Still, the alarm sounded when he walked through. Further inspection revealed a little Swiss army knife inside one of his pockets.

    "Sorry, Sir, but this item is prohibited," security said to the soldier.

    Then, taking the knife away, the airport worker handed him back the M-16.

  • Attractive First Impressions

    military manWhen my best friend James came home on his first Army leave, my little brother asked him what he did in the service.

    "I do calisthenics, shoot guns and follow orders," James replied.

    Walking in town that day, James and I ran into a buddy who also asked him what he did in the Army. James gave the same reply:

    "I do calisthenics, shoot guns and follow orders."

    A while later, we met a former classmate, an attractive woman, and she asked the same question. This time, James said,

    "I'm studying communications, learning foreign languages and traveling around the world."

  • Hospital Waiting

    hospital roomA nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside. "Your son is here," she said to the old man.

    She had to repeat the words several times before the patient's eyes opened. Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand. The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man's limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement. The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed. All through the night, the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man's hand and offering him words of love and strength.

  • If

    greece ancientIn ancient Sparta, citizens were noted for economy of speech.

    Legend has it that Philip of Macedonia, storming the gates of Sparta, sent a message to the besieged king..."If we capture your city we will burn it to the ground."

    A one-word answer came back:

    "If."

  • Impressions

    dry cleanersOne day, at the dry-cleaning shop of a local air force base, I overheard a young airman describe in great detail how he wanted his uniform cleaned and pressed.

    When he finished, the counter clerk asked, "Are you getting an award, or do you have an important military function to attend?"

    "Nothing like that," the airman said. "I'm going home on leave, and my little brother is taking me to his second-grade class for show-and-tell."

  • Military First Impressions

    helicopter pilotMy youngest brother Tony had just completed Army basic training and was on leave prior to his first tour in Germany. I am an Army National Guard pilot, and my other brother is my crew chief. Since we were headed to the air base where Tony was to catch his overseas transport, we offered to take him.

  • Military Service, Body Piercing

    body piercingI am a 3-tour veteran of Vietnam and frown on body piercing (anywhere).

    As I was approaching Vietnam by air in our squadron, I looked down at the jungle and although I couldn't see anything going on, I knew there was danger there.

    I tried to pray, but my mind was so taken up with what was going on, I couldn't. The only prayer that I could come up with was,

    "Lord, I know you made me with the exact number of holes that you wanted me to have. I ask you to let me leave Vietnam with the same exact number!"

    Mac McComas, MCPO USN, Ret. (Used with Permission)

  • Nerves of Steel

    airplaneMy friend, an ex-Marine Aviator wanted to show off his new twin-engine plane. I was riding along as he put it through its paces.

    Suddenly, we were caught in a violent thunderstorm, with lightning crashing all around us.

    Next, we lost the radio and most of the instruments.

    As we were being tossed around in the sky, George said, "Uh-oh!" Fearing the worst, I asked, "What's wrong now?"

    George replied, "I got the hiccups. Do something to scare me."

  • Respect, Reverence

    fishingWhen I was stationed at Myrtle Beach, S.C., I spent my spare time fishing in the backwaters of the Intracoastal Waterway. Soon I became a guide of sorts for some senior non-commissioned officers.

    Once, a chief master sergeant hooked a 20-pound striped bass. After he reeled the fish onto the boat, he slipped the hook out of its mouth and released it back into the water.

    He must have noticed the puzzled look on my face.

    "Rank does have its privileges. I can't keep a fish that has more stripes than I do," he explained.

  • Second Career

    bankA RETIRED Navy admiral, my father began a second career working in a bank. One morning, while he prepared his desk for the day, he was approached by a young officer from the nearby Naval base.

    "Sorry, but this department isn't open yet," Dad said.

    "But it's nine o'clock!" protested the officer.

    My father didn't look at his watch. Instead, he surveyed his customer's uniform.

    "Ensign," he snapped, "I'll decide when it's nine o'clock!"

  • Sympathy

    barracksRod and one of his fellow soldiers were assigned to wax the floors of their barracks. They'd heard that if they got the wax really hot, it would just glide across the floor, cutting their labor time in half. Unfortunately, as they were heating the can of wax with a cigarette lighter, it caught on fire, setting off alarms and attracting firetrucks, ambulances and the police.

    Rod had to report to his sergeant's office immediately. Assuming he was in big trouble, he took a deep breath as he faced his superior. But before Rod could say a word, the sergeant simply muttered,

    "Been there, done that.

    You're free to go."