Walking of the FOD

One of the daily tasks unique to the Air Wing is the FOD walk. I was disappointed to discover it did not mean Flaming Obliteration of Dirtbags. Turns out it’s Foreign Object Debris and everyone was going out there to pick it up. I heard you got to keep what you found so I decided I’d join the Marines and check it out.

Okay, so there might be a need to pick some of this stuff up. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Mike Granahan)

The first thing one learns about the FOD walk is that you’re not allowed to bring your coffee cup. This made me skeptical of the whole exercise as a possible Communist conspiracy. The fact you can walk around with your cranial helmet in your hand but not a coffee mug is actually typical of the kind of military hypocrisy one encounters throughout a career of service. At least the Wing is being consistent with the rest of the Corps that way.

Everyone lined up on the far end of the taxi way facing the hangar. I could be using wrong terminology here but I think you get the picture. Besides, I’m a SgtMaj and by definition it’s impossible for me to be wrong.

Remaining abreast of one another, we stepped off looking for foreign objects and debris possibly littering the ground and could damage aircraft. We continued walking on line until we got inside the hangar where we continued to look for anything unusual.

I’m sad to report this exercise was actually kind of boring. I didn’t find any gold coins, or crashed satellites, or treasure maps laying around the area. The Marines aren’t supposed to talk much during FOD walk, effectively neutralizing my number one super power. Frankly, police calling the barracks parking lot is more interesting.


Semper Fidelis!

America’s SgtMaj




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    1. Aww yes the daily FOD walk. Every air wing has one, be they Air Force, Navy, Army or Marines as they are quite necessary. Glad you got to experience your first. Now if there is still such a thing as speedy dry used on the hangar deck to remove slick spots from oil, hydraulic fluid or fuel, you will want to be someplace else when a sweep down with speedy dry commences as it is very dusty and could ruin the military bearing of the Sergeant Major.

    2. I saw a flack vest come flying out of a foxhole next to a pad while a Cobra (single engine in those days) was landing. It flapped across the steel planking, rose up into the air and came down through the rotor and hit the pilot’s windshield. Startled him so badly that he pulled back from the pad and landed short, easily putting a half ton of dirt into the air and lots of it through the engine.. FOD happens.

    3. Oh, yeah,, speedy dry and the Fallon Shuffle. I remember those days on any training deployment to NAS Fallon, when we’d have to get out on the far end of the flight line, pour out half a ton of speedy dry, onto the ramp, then we’d alternate between shuffling through the piles of speedy dry, grinding it into every spot of JP, oil, and hydraulic fluid that had ever stained the Navy’s pavement, and then sweeping it towards the hangar into the next oil stain… And grunts wonder why air wingers’ boots always looked like hell…

    4. Seeing that pic of the inbound Shitter and the airborne debris it’s creating makes me laugh. As a former Marine crew chief on CH-53’s, I remember many a time when I watched the grunt who thought he didn’t have to crouch down and who was subsequently tumbling across the the dirt from the rotorwash generated by the huge rotor on my bird. Used to crack the pilots up, too.

    5. Ahhh… the wing!

      A squadron CO I’d met back in the day (cant remember his name) proclaimed that the Corps had it backwards. It should be, according to him, “no smoking 24 hours before takeoff and no beer within 10 yards of the aircraft”.

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