Having finally been relieved of our duties in Kharmah we had managed to catch a flight out of Al Taqaddum, Iraq and arrive in Kuwait. There we sat on cots and ate our fill of fat pills at the DFAC until we were called up to continue on the next leg of our journey.
Each company in the battalion was on its own timetable and flight schedule. Every day another company would arrive as we transitioned back to the home of the brave. One night the India company commander came storming into our berthing area. He approached my CO with great concern flapping and pacing as if on fire: “They switched our ULN numbers! We gotta get this fixed!”
I have no idea what ULN means but each of us had a line number which translated to a seat on a chartered flight home. Somehow our company’s roster and India’s were switched. We had India Company’s ULN numbers which in the short term meant we were scheduled to fly out on India’s flight. They had been scheduled to get back to Hawaii first and would arrive a day before us. On paper, we now had their flight.
“We gotta get this fixed! They have the wrong ULNs!” Perspiration rolled down the India Company Commander’s face as he waved his roster around. The idea other Marines might get home before him was an indignity he could not allow. My CO, always cool, replied: “It’s alright. We’ll take care of it.”
This wasn’t enough for India. He continued to gyrate and fuss. My boss had to calm him down some assuring him we weren’t interested in beating him home. His histrionics were amusing. After he whirled out of our berthing my CO turned to me.
“Tell that bitch to be cool,” he smirked.
“Be cool honey-bunny,” I replied.
We got the rosters straight and India Company boarded it’s precious flight. The plane broke down in Shannon, Ireland and had to be repaired. Though Shannon isn’t a bad place to be stranded, a number of spouses and family members awaiting their Marines were not amused. Nor was our battalion commander at the shenanigans of Marines turned loose in the land of Guinness and fine Irish whiskey.
As the days passed, the rest of the battalion landed at the flight line in K-Bay. Every day the word changed on when India Company might get back. Seems there wasn’t enough duct tape and bubble gum to keep their plane air worthy. I sat on the beach drinking locally brewed beer chuckling to myself.
Finally the day came when India Company returned home. They were delayed of course. Instead of landing at the flight line in K-Bay the plane had to stop in Honolulu first. I don’t remember the exact circumstances surrounding the stop but I remarked to one of my fellow 1stSgts we could have sent buses over the Honolulu International and brought the Marines back faster than it was taking them to tinker with the bird and fly it over the mountain to K-Bay. We came back some hours later to finally greet the returning Marines days after than they were originally scheduled to come home.
The lesson here? Getting your panties in a was usually just ends up in a mess of wadded up panties. Karma hates wadded up panties.