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America in Uniform

America in Uniform

Military Humor Archives

A Man and His Bear

posted by goquin

During Operation Desert Storm, I was a legislative affairs officer for Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf. Often I was required to transport gifts, sent to him from patriotic Americans, from Washington, D.C., to his home base in Florida. On one trip I […]

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Pin-up Pictures

posted by goquin

Aboard the USS Tarawa for six months, my brother, Don, posted a picture of his beloved truck in his locker. Since his fellow Marines had pictures of their girlfriends up, they often ridiculed him for his object of adoration. “Laugh […]

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Hug A Marine!

posted by goquin

When my brother, John, joined the Marines about a year ago, friends and family told my mother not to worry, reassuring her that “at least it’s during peacetime.” On September 11, when terrorists attacked our country, John was stationed in […]

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Mistaken Identity

posted by goquin

One morning a helicopter crew from my squadron got an order to pick up a mental patient and deliver him to an aircraft carrier. The passenger boarded the copter unescorted, but when it landed on the carrier, four Marines charged […]

Collecting a Debt

posted by goquin

Before shipping out to Europe with the Army Air Corps during World War II, my father loaned his buddy $20. The two were assigned to different units and lost contact. Months later, my father’s plane was shot down. Bleeding from […]

Phone Home

posted by goquin

I didn’t think I had been gone that long. After 20 months overseas, my ship arrived in San Diego and, as soon as I got ashore, I phoned home. “Hi, Mom!” I said. “Who is this?” she answered. Hello! I’m […]

The Importance of Appearance

posted by goquin

As he prepared to leave for the Gulf, my husband was complaining to a friend about his uniform. Military men are taught to care about their appearance, and the Air National Guard would be wearing desert camouflage but not the […]

A Working Woman

posted by goquin

I overheard my father telling a family friend about my newly assigned mission in the U.S. Coast Guard. I work on a cutter that escorts all cruise ships and international vessels under the bridges in California’s Bay Area. But what […]

Diagnosing a Leak

posted by goquin

Boarding a military transport plane, I noticed hydraulic fluid pouring from the tail section. “Excuse me,” I said to a crew member. “Do you know the aircraft has a leak?” “Yep,” he said as he continued on his way. “Aren’t […]

Emotional Good-Bye

posted by goquin

It was a very emotional time for me — my youngest son was about to leave for basic training. I took the day off so we could spend his last day as a civilian together. My son likes to pass […]

Boys Never Grow Up

posted by goquin

My husband wore his Army uniform with pride. One day, coming home from the base and dressed in his olive drab fatigues, he stopped off at the grocery store to pick up a few things. While on line at the […]

Hazardous Duty

posted by goquin

I recently returned to work after a year abroad with the Army Reserve. On my first day back, a visitor from headquarters took me aside. “How are you?” he asked, looking concerned. “Do you feel all right?” “I’m fine,” I […]

What Mothers Won’t Do!

posted by goquin

Tax day — April 15 — was looming when an elderly woman showed up at my desk at the IRS. She said she required a thick stack of tax forms. “Why so many?” I asked. “My son is stationed overseas,” […]

Scared?

posted by goquin

We were using live ammunition during maneuvers in Germany when a phosphorus flare fell short, coming perilously close to me and some of my buddies. We did what most people do under such circumstances — we ran for our lives. […]

A Yellow Ribbon

posted by goquin

My family wanted to do something to honor my nephew, a Ranger with the Army’s 101st Airborne, who had been sent to Iraq. So, with the help of her four-year-old grandson, Chandler, my sister tied a yellow ribbon on the […]

Re-enlist?

posted by goquin

During his re-enlistment interview, the first sergeant asked my friend if he’d considered re-upping in the Air Force. “I wouldn’t re-enlist if you made me a four-star general, gave me a million dollars and Miss America for a roommate!” he […]

Coming or Going

posted by goquin

A recruit in Navy boot camp got on the wrong side of our company commander and was ordered to do push-ups. As he neared triple digits, an airliner flew overhead. “I bet you wish you were on that plane, don’tcha?” […]

No Duplicating

posted by goquin

As a professor at the Air Force Institute of Technology, I taught a series of popular courses on software engineering. The program was highly competitive and difficult to get into, but one prospective student made our decision whether to accept […]

Marine Corps Chow

posted by goquin

On the wall of the mess hall of one Marine Corps base: “This food must be good. Ten thousand flies can’t be wrong!” — Joe Turman Provided Courtesy of Reader’s Digest.  Click here for more “Military Jokes“.

Taking Off

posted by goquin

Just after my father, who was a career Air Force NCO, passed away, all my brothers and sisters returned home to be with Mom. As we reminisced about my dad, we found ourselves floating from sorrow to laughter as we […]

Government Green

posted by goquin

I was charged by the Coast Guard to buy a house near Station Rockland in Maine to be converted into military housing. But after many delays on our part, the owners’ lawyer got antsy. “I don’t like working with the […]

Unclean

posted by goquin

Soon after being transferred to a new duty station, my Marine husband called home one evening to tell me he would be late. “Dirty magazines were discovered in the platoon quarters,” he said, “and the whole squad is being disciplined.” […]

Rescue Effort

posted by goquin

The crew of a fast frigate was practicing the man overboard drill by “rescuing” a bright orange fluorescent dummy dubbed Oscar. The captain watched as a young lieutenant nervously stopped the ship, turned it and maneuvered into place. Unfortunately, he […]

Benefits of Being a Service Husband

posted by goquin

My friend’s wife returned from a tour of duty in the Middle East. To celebrate, he decided to take her out for a night on the town. Proud of her service record, he suggested she wear her uniform. Not only […]

Geology Degree

posted by goquin

My parents scoffed, but I knew my college degree in geology would come in handy one day. It was during basic training, at Sheppard Field, Texas, and I was pulling KP duty. When the sergeant asked me what I did […]

INFANTry Soldiers

posted by goquin

While on leave, my Marine buddy and I met two nursing students from Southern California. After chatting them up awhile, the conversation turned to what we did in the service. When we told them we were in the infantry, the […]

Visiting General Custer

posted by goquin

Gen. George Armstrong Custer is buried on the grounds of the United States Military Academy at West Point. Since I was driving through the area, I decided to pay my respects. At the gate, the distracted young MP put down […]

Traveling with Children

posted by goquin

Following an overnight flight to meet my father at his latest military assignment, my mother, eight noisy and shoving siblings, and I arrived at Rhein-Main Air Base in Germany. “Do you have any weapons or illegal drugs in your possession?” […]

Road Sign

posted by goquin

Life in the Navy is dangerous. Which is why a sign was posted on a pier at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, reminding American sailors to “Drive Like You Work. Slow.” — David Holt Provided Courtesy of Reader’s Digest.  Click here for […]

The Dangers of War

posted by goquin

We were asleep in our cots at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan when exploding enemy rockets woke us up. My platoon and I threw on our fatigues, grabbed our weapons and ran to the bunker for protection. Inside the bunker, […]

Jump School Schedule

posted by goquin

After enlisting in the 82nd Airborne Division, I eagerly asked my recruiter what I could expect from jump school. “It’s three weeks long,” he said. “What else?” I asked. “The first week they separate the men from the boys,” he […]

Wrinkles Required

posted by goquin

Soldiers’ combat clothing is not supposed to be ironed, according to an unwritten rule. That, however, did not prevent one sergeant from slightly massaging the regulation. “Gentlemen,” said the sergeant to his troops, “I cannot order you to press your […]

Moms Will Be Moms

posted by goquin

My son arrived back in the United States after fighting with the First Marine Division in Iraq. But I still couldn’t help reacting like a mom when I saw him on the base running over to some buddies to return […]

Second Helpings Allowed

posted by goquin

“Chow looks wonderful,” I told the mess sergeant, a large, intimidating man. “I’d love seconds.” “You’ll get the same as everyone else,” he growled as he chucked food on my tray. “Now move it!” After finishing the edible portion of […]

Advancing Up the Ranks

posted by goquin

During a staff meeting at the Air Force base, the captain disagreed with everything being discussed. The commander, a general, grew annoyed, and let the younger officer know it. “Well, sir,” said the captain, “I doubt you made general by […]

Overstatement?

posted by goquin

Safety is job one in the Air Force. Overstating the obvious is job two, as I discovered when crawling into my military-issue sleeping bag. The label read “In case of an emergency, unzip and exit through the top.” — Keith […]

Guard Duty

posted by goquin

For some recruits, there is nothing basic about basic training. It was clear that one soldier in particular was not getting the hang of it when on guard duty one night, he cried out, “Halt! Don’t shoot or I’ll move!” […]

Sounds of a Helicopter

posted by goquin

While stationed at Fort Rucker, Ala., where helicopter pilots are trained, I learned to identify the different copters by their sound alone. Early one morning, I was awakened when one buzzed my barracks. I ran through the possibilities, but couldn’t […]

SEALs versus Seals

posted by goquin

Some people are extremely impressed when you tell them you’re a Navy SEAL. Case in point: my grandson’s pre-kindergarten class. It was career day, and I was regaling them with stories of my exploits in the military. After I finished, […]

Air Forcese

posted by goquin

Eager to speak military English the way the pros do? Then remember this simple rule — the most basic word comes first. For example: Trousers, Green, Male; Truck, Cargo, 4×4. On a recent trip to the Air Force Academy commissary, […]

Rank Must Pay

posted by goquin

At the canteen on base, we sold snacks, coffee and soda for 25 cents. One night, we decided to charge officers 50 cents. It was explained away as a “Sir charge.” Provided Courtesy of Reader’s Digest.  Click here for more […]

Aliens from Outer Space

posted by goquin

Nights in England are coal black, making parachute jumps difficult and dangerous. So we attach small lights called chemlites to our jumpsuits to make ourselves visible to the rest of our team. Late one night, lost after a practice jump, […]

All in the Name

posted by goquin

At a tea for officers and their wives, the commanding general of a base delivered a seemingly endless oration. A young lieutenant grumbled to the woman sitting beside him, “What a pompous and unbearable old windbag that slob is!” The […]

Biting Airmen

posted by goquin

The time came for annual immunizations at our overseas Air Force base. To get us all vaccinated as quickly as possible, they pressed the veterinary surgeon into helping out. I got my injection from the vet. “Wow,” I said, “you […]

Ready, Aim, Miss

posted by goquin

Being a career soldier was not in the cards for one particular recruit. Every time he took his turn at the rifle range, he’d lift his rifle, aim at the target, fire — and hit some tree way off in […]

Convenient Name

posted by goquin

Some friends were hoping their second child would be a girl, and they even had a name picked out. The ultrasound didn’t reveal the baby’s sex, though, and since the expectant father had orders from the Navy to ship out […]

Army Brat

posted by goquin

Since I grew up in the civilian world, I knew my daughter’s childhood as a military brat would be drastically different from my own. This became quite apparent one day when a playmate arrived and asked my daughter, “Wanna play […]

Poor Shots

posted by goquin

During Desert Storm, one of our co-workers was called to serve in Iraq. Upon his safe return and arrival back at work, we tied yellow ribbons around numerous trees and hung a huge sign that read “We missed you. Thank […]

Government-Paid Golfing Trip

posted by goquin

My husband was a Navy chaplain deployed to the Persian Gulf at the end of Desert Storm. I did everything possible to ensure that our three young children wouldn’t be worried about their father being in danger. It wasn’t always […]

Air Force First Sergeant Test

posted by goquin

1. You are having lunch with your new colonel, talking about the decision paper you wrote. During the conversation, a blonde walks into the dining area and she is so stunning you draw your boss’s attention to her. Having his […]

Five Cannibals

posted by goquin

Five cannibals were employed by the Navy as translators during one of the island campaigns during World War II. When the Commanding Admiral of the task force welcomed the cannibals he said, “You’re all part of our team now. We […]

Army Special Forces Vs. Marines

posted by goquin

A marine recon platoon was on patrol when the lt. noticed a lone special forces soldier standing on a hill top in their area. The lt. told two of his men to go take out that man. They promptly ran […]

Alligator Shoes

posted by goquin

An Army Ranger was on vacation in the depths of Louisiana and he wanted a pair of genuine alligator shoes in the worst way, but was very reluctant to pay the high prices the local vendors were asking. After becoming […]

Air Force Dictionary

posted by goquin

BLAMESTORMING – Sitting around the squadron discussing why a suspense was missed or a mission failed and who was responsible. SEAGULL COLONEL – A colonel who swoops in, makes a lot of noise, and dumps stuff all over everything. SALMON […]

Almost Perfect

posted by goquin

It seems that a young man volunteered for Navy service during World War II. He had such a high aptitude for aviation that he was sent right to Pensacola skipping boot camp. The very first day at Pensacola he solos […]

A Marine in Hell

posted by goquin

A Marine dies in combat and wakes up to find he is in hell. He’s really depressed as he stands in the processing line waiting to talk to an admittance counselor. He thinks to himself I know I lead a […]

Army Ranger School Diet

posted by goquin

U. S. Army Ranger school diet -58 days to a leaner, meaner you! Learn from the people who know weight loss and physical fitness best. Learn how to push your body beyond the limits of hunger. Learn how to dream […]

Air Force Bike Test

posted by goquin

1. Wear a bike helmet to the test. Optional: Include knee and elbow pads. 2. Demand the tester wear a reflective road guard vest “for safety.” 3. Bring a bike horn and attach it. Each time the tester adjusts the […]

51 Days

posted by goquin

A bartender is sitting behind the bar on a typical day, when the door bursts open and in come four exuberant Marines. They come to the bar and order five bottles of beer and ten glasses. They take their order […]

Army Medical Care

posted by goquin

An army Major visiting the sick soldiers, went to one private and asked, “What’s your problem, Soldier?” “Chronic syphilis, Sir.” “What treatment are you getting?” “Five minutes with the wire brush each day.” “What’s your ambition?” “To get back to […]

Administrative Nightmare

posted by goquin

An actual memo from the Alaska Air Command, February 1973 “Due to an administrative error, the original of the attached letter was forwarded to you. A new original has been accomplished and forwarded to AAC/JA (Alaskan Air Command, Judge Advocate […]

Admiral Rickover’s Retirement

posted by goquin

At one point in time during his career, Admiral Hyman Rickover, the father of the Nuclear Navy, was commander of a carrier task force, and had his flag on the carrier. For exercise, Adm. Rickover walked a lap around the […]

Department of the Navy

posted by goquin

The story of how the Marines became a branch under the Department of the Navy: It seems that after WW I, the war to end all wars, the US Govt. had a lot of surplus material that they had no […]

You might be an Airborne Soldier if…

posted by goquin

The first thing you do in the morning is put in a dip Your favorite beer is someone else’s Your cologne smells suspiciously like bug juice You think a spit shine means to spit on your boots and wipe them […]

A Hard Night

posted by goquin

Air Force Approach: Eagle 13, turn right to 330. Eagle 13: Roger 330. App: Eagle 13, I’ve been working since last night, Will you do me a favor? Eagle 13: Affirmative. Go ahead. App: Down below on your right, you’ll […]

In the Clear

posted by goquin

During my time in the Navy, everyone was getting KP or guard duty except me. Not wanting to get in trouble, I asked the ensign why. “What’s your name?” he asked. “Michael Zyvoloski.” “That’s why. I can’t pronounce it, much […]

New Cars

posted by goquin

Visiting a new port is always exciting, and when our destroyer docked in Kiel, Germany, it was no different. In fact, one of my men was awestruck. “Look, Chief,” he whispered excitedly. “They have Volkswagens over here too!” — Ralph […]

Happy Hour

posted by goquin

Four retired Chiefs are walking down a street in Norfolk, Virginia. They turn a corner and see a sign that says, ‘Old Timers Bar – all drinks 10 cents.’ They look at each other, and then go in, thinking this […]

A Long Queue

posted by goquin

“Well,” snarled the tough old Navy Chief to the bewildered Seaman, “I suppose after you get discharged from the Navy, you’ll just be waiting for me to die so you can come and pee on my grave.” “Not me, Chief!” […]

A Shave at the Barber Shop

posted by goquin

A Chief and a Capt. were sitting in the barbershop. They were both just getting finished with their shaves, when the barbers reached for some after-shave to slap on their faces. The Capt. shouted, “Hey, don’t put that stuff on […]

Fighter Pilots

posted by goquin

Q: How do you know if there is a fighter pilot at your party? A: He’ll tell you. Q: What’s the difference between God and fighter pilots? A: God doesn’t think he’s a fighter pilot. Q: What’s the difference between […]

How to Address an Officer

posted by goquin

Officer: “Soldier, do you have change for a dollar?” Soldier: “Sure, buddy.” Officer: “That’s no way to address an officer! Now let’s try it again!” “Soldier, do you have change for a dollar?” Soldier: “No, SIR!”

Need to Impress?

posted by goquin

Having just moved into his new office, a pompous, new colonel was sitting at his desk when an airman knocked on the door. Conscious of his new position, the colonel quickly picked up the phone, told the airman to enter, […]

What Time Is It?

posted by goquin

In some air bases the Air Force is on one side of the field and civilian aircraft use the other side of the field, with the control tower in the middle. One day the tower received a call from an […]

The Wrong Hat

posted by goquin

As a 2LT stationed at Ft Benning during the ’70’s, I was walking with our BN Exec Officer when we passed a Medical Services CPT (DR) with in Class A’s wearing a hat with “scrambled eggs” on the visor. Thinking […]

Japanese Taco

posted by goquin

My 1st overseas assignment was to an aircraft carrier currently on duty in Yokosuka, Japan. While travelling to my duty station, I met some other young men who also were just reporting for duty on the same ship. When the […]

Instant Messaging

posted by goquin

During the second Gulf War, I was an Air Force colonel. I routinely flew on different aircraft to familiarize myself with their capabilities. One day I was aboard an intelligence aircraft, where each crew member was surrounded by complex gear. […]

Identification not Required

posted by goquin

Out of the Navy and ready to buy my own home, I filled out the veterans loan forms and mailed them away. But what I didn’t realize was that I had placed the forms in the envelope containing a lock […]

Appropriate Names

posted by goquin

The base’s public-address system is the simplest way to call the troops — just shout out the soldiers’ last names, tell them where they’re needed, and they’ll hustle right over. But there was some head-turning the day I summoned these […]

Last Known Position

posted by goquin

Following a few frantic minutes, air-traffic controllers finally made radio contact with the lost young pilot. “What was your last known position?” they asked. “When I was No. 1 for takeoff,” came the reply. — Phyllis Nielson   Provided Courtesy […]

Mother-In-Law

posted by goquin

I was visiting my parents with my new husband, a Navy frogman, when he drew me aside. “I don’t think your mother likes me,” he said. “I was explaining that I can’t wear my wedding ring when I dive, because […]

Parachute Problems

posted by goquin

The topic of the day at Army Airborne School was what you should do if your parachute malfunctions. We had just gotten to the part about reserve parachutes when another student raised his hand. “If the main parachute malfunctions,” he […]

Tough Dentist

posted by goquin

A Navy dentist’s license plate: “TOP GUM.” Provided Courtesy of Reader’s Digest. Click here for more   “Military Jokes“.

Dangerous Weapons Permitted

posted by goquin

On 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 […]

Air Force Talk

posted by goquin

Pointing to a pan of chicken wings and legs disguised in the classic mess-hall manner, a young airman asked the mess sergeant, “What’s for chow?” “Air Force chicken,” replied the sergeant. “You want wings or landing gear?” — Paul Jaggerke […]

Falling Objects

posted by goquin

When I was an infantry platoon commander, my Marines trained regularly for nighttime reconnaissance patrol. As we moved along, each of us would whisper the name of any obstacle to the person behind so that no one would be surprised […]

Good Behavior

posted by goquin

Notice seen on the bulletin board of a Florida air base: “The following enlisted men will pick up their Good Conduct medals in the supply room this afternoon. Failure to comply with this order will result in disciplinary action.” — […]

Crash Landing

posted by goquin

As he reviewed pilot crash reports, my Air Force military science professor stumbled upon this understated entry: “After catastrophic engine failure, I landed long.  As I had no power, the landing gear failed to deploy and no braking was available.  […]

Weight Issues

posted by goquin

Sixteen years is a long time. That’s how far the photo of my husband — looking slim and fit in his Marine Reserve uniform — goes back. Today, he’s about 100 pounds heavier, so it was understandable when my friend’s […]

Signature Only

posted by goquin

Having helped prepare the annual budget for my unit of the Seventh Army Special Troops in Heidelberg, Germany, I took the report to the office of the adjutant, who signs all official papers. The adjutant was not in, but his […]

Navy versus Army

posted by goquin

After being at sea in the Persian Gulf for 90 straight days, I went to the squadron command master chief to complain. “Chief, I joined the Navy to see the world,” I said, “but for the past three months all […]

Cookies from Mom

posted by goquin

To mail a big package of cookies to my two Air Force sons, both of whom were serving in Saudi Arabia, I was required to attach a label describing the contents. I carefully marked the box “Cookies” and sent it […]

Being Truthful Pays Off

posted by goquin

Serving as a Marine recruiter in western North Carolina, I found a young man who met all the requirements and was ready to enlist. I explained the importance of being truthful on the application, and he began filling out his […]

Classified Information

posted by goquin

While standing watch in the Coast Guard station in Juneau, Alaska, I got a call from the Navy in the nearby city of Adak. They had lost contact with one of their planes, and they needed the Coast Guard to […]

Tough Luck

posted by goquin

“I feel sorry for this soldier,” joked my husband as he handed me a flier he’d found in our mailbox. It read: Lost Cat Black and white Answers to Nate Belongs to a soldier Recently neutered –Sondra Gilbertson Provided Courtesy […]

Trying

posted by goquin

Marines are known for storming the beaches, not for romance. I witnessed this firsthand at the base in Twentynine Palms, California. One of the enlisted men complimented the receptionist’s flowered jacket. “It’s very pretty,” he said shyly. “Thank you,” she […]

Tool Time

posted by goquin

The chief and I were on our submarine trying in vain to hook up some fire hoses. The wrenches we had didn’t fit the connections, so he resorted to banging away at the hoses to make things fit. Just then […]

Fear Factor

posted by goquin

I served in a parachute regiment. During a nighttime exercise, I was seated next to a young officer. He was looking a bit pale, so I asked, “Scared, lieutenant?” “No,” he replied. “Apprehensive.” “What’s the difference?” “That means I’m scared, […]

International Pride

posted by goquin

A brother of a student of mine showed me a photo their father had sent from Iraq. In it, his dad is sitting atop a tank. On the back of the tank is this bumper sticker: “My son is an […]

War Stories

posted by goquin

My father was telling his young nephew about fighting in Vietnam. “Are you a hero?” Jose asked. “Nah,” said Dad. “Did you ever shoot anyone?” “No. All I did was aim at ‘em.” –Margarita Bemis Provided Courtesy of Reader’s Digest. […]

What’s a Motto?

posted by goquin

As a new paratrooper, I was struck by all the T-shirts on base emblazoned with the motto “Death from above!” Later I noticed a submariner with a T-shirt that declared “Death from below!” Then, standing in line for chow one […]

Geography

posted by goquin

The day after the Haitian earthquake, I got a frantic call from my daughter in Florida. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “Nate’s been called up by the National Guard. He’s going to Haiti,” she said. Then came the tears: “I didn’t […]

Giving It Away

posted by goquin

As the soldier drove up to the Air Force base gate, my husband, who was on security detail at the time, had an inkling that the driver might have had a few. What gave him away? The guy thought he […]

No Smoking

posted by goquin

I was in our local VA hospital when a clerk began scolding a veteran who’d lit up a cigarette in a no-smoking area. “Sir!” she barked. “When did you start smoking?” The conversation came to a halt when he replied, […]

American Food

posted by goquin

Upon returning from a stint in Iraq, my sister insisted that the best part about being home was having real food again: “The Lunchables I had for breakfast was great! –Garrett Lee Thorne Provided Courtesy of Reader’s Digest. Click here […]

Helping Her Out

posted by goquin

When my very pregnant niece, a sergeant in the New York Army National Guard, accidentally knocked over a glass of water, one of her soldiers volunteered to help clean it up. As he was mopping up the mess, an officer […]

No Discipline Problem Here!

posted by goquin

Having served his time with the Marine Corps, a man became a school teacher, but before school started he injured his back.  He was required to wear a plaster cast around the upper part of his body.  Fortunately, the cast […]

A Star Above the Pilot

posted by goquin

A PARTICULARLY DIPLOMATIC MAJOR in my Air Force squadron was often called to fly with senior-ranking pilots on training flights, a task junior officers don’t relish, given the possibility of bruising top-brass egos. One week, he flew a B-52 with […]

Rifles…put!

posted by goquin

WHENEVER I BEGIN to feel a bit smug, I recall my first week at Naval Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I. I learned quickly, I thought, and was getting adept at giving commands like “To the rear…march” and “Company…halt.” There […]

The Call

posted by goquin

AFTER our son Greg was accepted by the U.S. Naval Academy, we went to a meeting where parents of third-year midshipmen spoke about the difficult plebe year. When the new plebes left the room, the veteran parents told us to […]

Boy What?

posted by goquin

SIX WEEKS into basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas, Company “C” was beginning to conform to the drill instructor’s exacting style of discipline. Late one bleak morning, having spent hours going through a rigorous series of marching drills, a weary […]

Women or Men?

posted by goquin

AS FEMALE ARMY RECRUITS we watched our femininity being taken away one piece at a time. Our civilian clothing, jewelry and makeup were locked away. Our hair was hidden under caps, and battle-dress uniforms camouflaged our figures. We were issued […]

Drill Inspector Turned Cop

posted by goquin

UPON COMPLETING Air Force technical school, I had to drive from the Gulf Coast to the Pacific Northwest for my next assignment. A friend suggested I hang my blue dress uniform in the left-rear window to generate good will from […]

Seat Belt Snafu

posted by goquin

FRESH OUT OF Army parachute school, I was about to make the first jump with my new outfit, the elite 82nd Airborne Division and I was scared. I had heard the stories about rookie jumpers who had been summarily banished […]

Earning versus Pinning

posted by goquin

AFTER 5-1/2 YEARS in college, I graduated and was ready to be commissioned a second lieutenant through Army ROTC. I had asked my father, who had suffered silently through my stormy undergraduate years, to pin on my hard-won gold bars.  […]

Multi-Tasking Pilot – Got Cha!

posted by goquin

WE WERE ABOUT THREE HOURS into a long refueling mission, ferrying fighter aircraft across the Atlantic, when one of the fighter pilots maneuvered his plane ahead of our tanker’s nose and executed several rolls. “Bet you can’t do that,” the […]

A Letter to Mom

posted by goquin

THE HARD-BITTEN COMMANDER of my infantry company in Vietnam was frustrated in his efforts to make a soldier out of one particular PFC. The young man lagged behind on patrols, feigned illness and managed to spend most of his time […]

Following Orders

posted by goquin

WHILE I WAS A DRILL SERGEANT at Fort McClellan, ALA., I served on a panel to select outstanding soldiers from basic training.  When a candidate appeared before the board to answer questions, the company commander would begin, “In about two […]

No Reverse?

posted by goquin

AT THE OCEANA, VA., Naval Air Station, I was training a young ground-crew member on how to direct an F-14 into the fuel pit. I glanced over to check wing clearance and, when I looked back, discovered that he had […]

Army versus Navy

posted by goquin

TO GET TO OUR FAMILY REUNION in Arizona, my husband flew from the Navy base in San Diego to the Air Force base in Tucson. I took an earlier commercial flight, and my sister and I met him at the […]

Bugle Overboard!

posted by goquin

IN JULY 1941, my newly formed First Marine Division trained along the Atlantic Coast. Life aboard the Navy transports was tough, and morale on the “rust buckets” was rock-bottom. One gray evening, as we stood in ranks, the Marine bugler […]

Hydraulic Fluid?

posted by goquin

THE MAINTENANCE CREW of my Navy E-2C squadron had worked feverishly to repair my aircraft in time for an important flight. After they declared the plane “up,” they stood by while I conducted a preflight inspection. As I reached behind […]

The Air Force Way

posted by goquin

SOON AFTER I RETIRED from the Air Force, I went to work in a warehouse where several other military retirees were employed. One day we received a large crate too big to fit in our storage area. A retired Army […]

Excess Airplanes

posted by goquin

OUR SQUADRON in Vietnam was experiencing a shortage of air-crew personnel, which meant each of us had to fly extra missions. The general held a briefing and then opened the floor to questions. “Sir,” one flier asked, “when will the […]

Message from MARS

posted by goquin

STATIONED at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea, I used the Military Affiliate Radio System to call my wife back home in the States. Since many people serving overseas use this network, especially on the weekends, I had to wait […]

Polish Pilots

posted by goquin

DURING WORLD WAR II, Polish pilots in Great Britain were famous for showing off their flying skills. One morning I was returning from a flight test and made the mistake of beginning my landing approach at too low a speed. […]

Military Insurance Coverage

posted by goquin

ONE COLD, WINDY February morning during my Army basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas, our company was assembled outside. There, at parade rest, we were forced to listen to an endless procession of individuals extolling the benefits of Army life. […]

Desert Popcorn

posted by goquin

IN THE ARMY during Operation Desert Storm, I found myself in a world that had changed little since Biblical times. With so few creature comforts available, packages from home containing cookies and canned goods were received with great anticipation. When […]

Gangs and Mothers

posted by goquin

AT A RECENT Navy retirement ceremony the guest of honor was asked what it was like to spend so many years in an F-14 fighter squadron. “Well,” he replied, “I guess it’s just like being in a motorcycle gang — […]

Tape It Up!

posted by goquin

DURING OPERATION DESERT STORM I was part of a field-hospital team stationed in northern Saudi Arabia. One day, I noticed a small rip in the canvas vestibule of our hospital laboratory and asked the section sergeant to fix it. He […]

Build It Yourself?

posted by goquin

WHEN THE NAVY was developing helicopters in the 1950s to track submarines, our Florida-based test squadron had to be innovative. Because the copters lacked sufficient lifting power with test equipment on board, weight was reduced by removing the metal skin […]

The Sound of Freedom

posted by goquin

SOON AFTER I arrived for duty as chief of public affairs for a Strategic Air Command wing, the unit had a surprise operational-readiness inspection. We had no time to alert the surrounding community that we’d be launching our fleet of […]

An Air Force Mailman?

posted by goquin

HURRYING TO MY PLEBE CHEMISTRY CLASS at West Point, I noticed a tactical officer in my regiment coming the other way, white gym bag over his shoulder.  He was an Air Force captain, and his blue uniform stood out amid […]

Chaplains Create Questions

posted by goquin

OUR RESERVE CHAPLAINS UNIT was training with a Navy landing-craft unit at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center pier at the same time a Navy divers unit was embarking for a mission in Lake Michigan. Just before the divers’ boat left, […]

The Ultimate Foxhole

posted by goquin

ON BIVOUAC in basic training at Fort Lewis, Wash., each of us had to dig a foxhole. It was supposed to be deep and narrow, but as I attempted to do it justice, mine got deeper and wider. The commanding officer […]

Tactic for Jumping the Queue

posted by goquin

WAITING TO HAVE a physical at the base hospital in Cherry Point, N.C., I overheard a Marine Corps warrant officer try unsuccessfully to get the medical personnel to issue him new eyeglasses without an appointment.  Just then, a two-star general came […]

Swimming at Sea

posted by goquin

WHEN MY NAVY SON-IN-LAW was assigned to sea duty for the first time, I asked him if he thought there was a way to continue his daily fitness program. He said there was an exercise room on board. Then, with a […]

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