Ask America’s 1stSgt: Arts and Crafts Edition

It’s been a while since I last fielded any questions so I went through my electronic mail bag.

Ally asks: “What are some fun things to do with parachute cord? This 78 year old retired codger has been telling me a few things from back in the day. A few are pranks presumably played by others since he says he was a straight arrow type…”

Marines do a surprisingly diverse amount of stupid things to each other in the name of fun. Much of the time it’s tried and true methods such as sending young PFCs all over creation looking for 50ft of flight line, ID10T forms, a BA-1100 November, or a box of grid squares. It just doesn’t get old.

Ally’s question reminds me of my first deployment to Okinawa. We lived in squad bays back then (still the best way for infantry platoons to billet in my humble opinion).  At the time we thought our squad bay had to be the coolest place on earth.  It had a vending machine which dispensed beer.  Turned out this was fairly common in Japan but it was a novelty to us. It served as our emergency stash in the event of a typhoon.

At any rate, one night my platoon decided it would be a brilliant idea to lash our three beer drunk to the top bunk of his rack with 550 cord (parachute cord).  He usually paid a terrible price for passing out so early on us.  One evening prior to our deployment he had arranged a date for himself.  Due to his poor planning he pushed his three beer threshold during the Company BBQ at the beach.  As he slept if off in the afternoon I shaved his head with clippers.  Really, I was probably doing his date a favor.

So, 550 cord, we used so much on him he was virtually paralyzed.

In the morning we awoke hearing his pitiful cries to the apparently deaf Marine posted on duty as fire watch. Have you ever watched the 1958 version of The Fly? It was kind of like that.

“Firewatch! Firewaaaaaaaaaaaaatch!” he whined struggling helplessly. “I have to PEEEEEEEEEEE!” 

If that’s not fun I don’t know what is.

Semper Fi!
America’s 1stSgt

P.S. As a reminder to everyone, if you have any questions for me please click on the ASK link to the right or click here. No one has been sending me any inquiries for quite some time. It’s a good think I don’t have any feelings to hurt.    

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  1. And yes, the irony of this post immediately following my defining the American Warrior is not lost on me. On the other hand, your 1stSgt has never compromised himself to the extent that he woke up lashed to the deck like Lemuel Gulliver.

  2. I just got into a short p*ssing match with someone about a link she posted of military people having fun such as this. Her answer was “it’s sad they have so much time on their hands. Just one more reason to bring them home.”.

    I suppose it annoyed me because whether my brothers should be home or afar, it’s not the place of a pudgy, bonbon eating housewife to have an opinion. (gee… I sound like a b*tch. Swear I’m not. Much.)

  3. Top,
    I found that before I tell stories like this…”how it was in the old days”…in order to avoid a lawsuit, I have to say:
    “the story you are about to hear is true, the names were changed to protect the idiots. Warning, do not try this at home or with adult supervison– it won’t work and won’t be funny.”

    Having been stationed in what used to be “West Berlin” in the old days- we had to make our own fun. Good bier, and frau’s.

  4. Boyz are stoopid.

    My dad used to tell these sort of stories to my brother, growing up. I was never allowed to hear them because this is sacred male knowledge of course.

    Tales of sending apprentices to stores for a long weight or a round tuit; or surreptitiously karibiner-clipping some hapless fellow onto a half-built engine before tripping the fire alarm.

  5. Oh, 1st Sgt, I sent you a question many moons ago, and you didn’t reply (working or something, I guess, what an excuse) I’m so hurt…. I’ll resend.
    Meadowlark, I AM a bitch, and I tell people that – don’t screw with my guys…

  6. Hey, I was hoping for macrame instructions using the cord. You know, a nice little stylish macrame gun holster, or maybe even a cute laundry bag. I know Marines are stylin’ dudes.

  7. Meadowlark, folks tend to forget our armed forces are populated by human beings and not goose stepping automatons. You could also remind her of all the USO tours, concerts, shows, computer labs, movies theaters, gyms, etc are also in country for our recreation.

    CI Roller, usually I begin with: “I’m not condoning this, all I’m saying is that it happened…”

    Magoo, obviously you have no sense of humor. 🙂

    Leslie, I still have your e-mail marked as having not been answered. My point was I had not been getting any new questions lately not that I didn’t still have a few in the bag.

    Kanani, I’m sorry but I can’t decipher what you are trying to say. Macrame? Cute? Are those English words?

  8. How telling is it that it took me a full 60 seconds to work out the BA-1100 November? Then I cackled like a witch with a small child in her oven. Thanks for the laugh, and keep having fun.

    Honestly, Meadowlark, any idiot that can’t figure out that having a laugh can make any time, busy or boring, easier to bear doesn’t deserve the time it takes to tell them they are an idiot. Your brothers are my heros.

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