Saturday, October 24, 2015

You just gotta love your friends.

I had been out of the army about 4 or 5 years and was living in Kodiak. I forgot what holiday or celebation it was but some outft of the Alaska National Guard showed up and set up a display of some sort.

I had run an arms room for a while. I had learned to field strip and reassemble all of the small arms I was assigned to take care of. I was, and probably still am, pretty good at this.

There was an M-60 machine gun in the display and I looked up at the lieutenant and bet him $10 I could field strip the M-60. He smiled and gaveme a curious look. It was then I added the word that hooked him.

"Blindfolded," I said.

"I'd like to see that," he replied. 

I tipped over the sign describing the weapon to use as a place to put the parts, picked up the M60 and sat down next to the sign. Then I told a private to cover my face with his shirt. The private grinned and did what he was told.

I cocked and decocked the piece, opened the feed gate and pulled out the buffer yoke. As I was doing this the lieutenant started to tell me I was doing it all wrong until he saw me shake the buffer out of the buttstock.

The way he said "Oh..." when the buffer fell out of the stock let me know he realized I knew what I was doing.

Off came the barrel, the operating spring, the operating spring guide and the op rod.
I pulled the bolt off the op rod and stripped it, placing all the parts on the sign I had sat next to. I put the bolt plug and retaining pin in my shirt pocket to keep them from getting lost.
Then off came the pistol grip retainer, the pin and the pistol grip. As soon as they were off I replaced them.

Then I reassembled the bolt and fiddled for a second while I aligned the bolt plug hole with the bolt and installed the retaining pin. It only took about a second or two.

The bolt went back on the op rod and I put it down and replaced the barrel. In went the bolt and op rod. That was followed by the spring and guide. I used the buffer to push the spring and guide back in and when it was in place I put the yoke back in to hold it. Then slammed the butt onto the end.

With that, I recocked the piece and decocked it again and handed it back for inspection.

The lieutenant told a sergeant to make sure I did it right. The sergeant replied that he had watched carefully and I had done it right.

The lieutenant felt inadequate and I was smart enough not to ask if he or any of his guys could do the same thing.

"The army trained you well," said the lieutenant.

My friend interrupted. "He wasn't in the army. Don't you know who he is?"

The lieutenant looked confused.

"No, I don't," he said. "Who is he?"

I smelled mischief afoot and started to walk off slowly.

"That's Macine Gun Piccolo," he said. "He just got out of Atlanta last year. He had his conviction overturned last year."

"For what?" asked the shocked lieutenant.

"During the Days of Rage in Chicago he got one of those and kept an entire company of Illinois National Guardsman pinned down for 34 hours. Between that and a sniper rifle he kept the entire company dug in. You never heard of that?"

"No," said the lieutenant.

"You were probably still in grammar school," he said. "He never killed anyone, he just kept them pinned down. He might have just nicked some colonel in the ass but that was about it. When the machine gun got hot he amused himself by shooting the gumballs offa cop cars and stuff with the rifle." 

I walked out at this point. I knew when to cut my losses. God only knows what other crap my pal told the hapless lieutenant. 

As soon as I left I saw a blue suit next to me. He had followed me out. It was a member of Kodiak's Finest and he was fighting to not break out and laugh. I realized he had seen the entire thing.

I also knew he had served in Vietnam on a Coast Guard patrol boat in what was sometimes referred to as the 'brown water Navy'. They interdicted enemy supplies and supported ground assets with supporting gunfire. He knew I had been in the army and wasn't a hippie type.

Every time he looked at me he had to turn away to keep from laughing. Finally he settled down.

"With friends like your's, you don't need enemies, Pic," he said quietly chuckling quietly. 

In Tony's later that evening a sergeant came up to me laughing. "Hey, Machine Gun Piccolo," he said. "Between you and your friend you have all the officers shaken up. Were you a grunt?"

"Artillery surveyor," I replied. "But I ran an arms room for a while." 

"I figured it was something like that," he said. "What kind of beer you drinking?"

We were sitting there drinking a beer and the same police officer off duty came up to the pair of us.

"I see you have met Machine Gun Piccolo," said the police officer to the sergeant and grinned. He turned to me.

"Hey, Pic," he said. "That lieutenant came up to me and asked me about you."

"You let the cat out of the bag?" I asked.

"No," he said. "I didn't have the heart. I simply told him Kodiak draws all kinds and give them a second chance. That's not a lie. Besides, he's a second lieutenant. They're supposed to be confused."

Then he bought us both a beer and joined us for a while.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

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