25 October 2007

25 OCT Why I love the military, reason: 22

25 OCT Why I love the military, reason: 22

It might be time for another buzz. My hair is getting away from me. Luckily the care package that my sister A. and her coworkers sent has shaving gel and some triple blade razors. Ooh, how smooth I'll be!

My mount has a lame foot. Last night as I left the Air Force Theater Hospital, I noticed that my back wheel was riding a little low. As soon as I mounted, I felt that sinking feeling of grounding the rim on a completely flat tire. My bike was a generous pay-it-forward from Plastic surgeon M. who is happily and safely stateside. He warned me that the tires had a slow leak, Each week or so, I pump them up and go merrily on my way, but this was a full deflation. We've had a touch of vandalism lately. I entertained the though that perhaps the peace symbol on my helmet locked to my bike had invited commentary, but it was just a plain old leak. As it was midnight, and my patch kit was in the hooch, I rode the rim "home". Feh.

Today I borrowed the Czar Car and trekked to the PX. First I tried Army PX and them moved on to West side KBR PX. No luck, no inner tubes were to be found. In the usual pot pourri of random items I did find tubes for a 16" child's bike and one for a three speed beach cruiser, but none that would fit my Huffy mountain bike. This is how it goes at the PX. It has lots of stuff at good prices, but it is a pawed over lot of remnants like a Railroad Salvage. I need a new PT uniform (shorts and T-shirt) but I can only find petite Bruce Jenner shorts and a XXXL top that comes to my knees. Maybe I'll go gangsta. As for my bike, I had to settle for a hot glue patch kit and a tube of slime. Now I have my project for tonight. I can get the leak fixed (back tire, wouldn't you know it) in my own little bike clinic. It also needs the derailleur tightened, a new headlight that doesn't flicker, and I'm going to make fenders out of casting fiberglass. (The peanut butter mud is coming soon.) Of course the PX had new bikes for sale, but what is the fun in that? All I gots is time. But that's okay. I'm no doctor, but I do know this: You can't stop the clock.

What really gets me about the military is how they take every opportunity to go large. Yesterday we organized a hospital staff photograph on the helipad. We arranged for a medevac Blackhawk to park behind us. In true military fashion, instead of just climbing up a ladder, The photographer was perched in a ginormous construction cherry picker crane. We fell out into formation, taller tapped to line up by height, and then held formation for the next half hour. In that time, the crane operator moved the photographer up and down, scoochin' and oochin' to every possible position. For a nervous while he was precariously perched 40 feet over the head of all our commanders as the crane arm wobbled with the herky-jerky maneuvers of man at the helm, who probably didn't operate cranes at home. Then the crane broke and the basket wouldn't move up or down. Someone fetched a ladder in case we couldn't get the photographer out of his tree. After the backup compressor kicked in, the crane operator lowered the basket to a position eight feet above the ground. This, it turns out, was the ideal vantage point for the photograph. The photographer motioned for us all to "squeeze together", like at a birthday party at Uno's. If only we had gotten the ladder first, we wouldn't have needed the crane at all!

We surgeons stopped in front of the mural honoring the Tuskegee Airmen for a small group shot. Our Wing is named after the Tuskegee Airman and carries their number. It's our turn now. It will take a lot of heart and effort if we are to earn that name. I hope that our actions maintain the brilliance of that tradition so that a century from now they can look back and say that we earned the Tuskegee name and number.

Say cheese!



Lucia said...

Love your blog, it's fascinating.

Why are some uniforms grey-ish and others sandy coloured? And from my civilian observation, those hats look somewhat impractical for such a hot climate.

lainy said...

Sounds like the crane had a mind of it's own! LOL

Let us know hoe the bike is coming along.

Hope you get home safe and soon.

Chris said...

Hi, Lucia and Lainy, thanks for stopping in. The grey uniforms are the newer ABU: Airman Battle Uniform. I and many others who have deployed in the past still have the DCU: Desert Camoflauge Uniform, which is tan and brown.

I liked your comment about the hat! I think we should all be issued puffy wigs. The 8-point marine cap is the sharper hat, and is about as light as a cotton baseball cap. In hotter weather I prefer the floppy Boonie cap because it is like a big sun bonnet. It actually makes me feel cooler.

The bike is much improved and speedier, but I might have to buy a rear headlamp. The sun and sand have taken too much of a toll on the Pelican for it to even function as a taillight. As long as my tubes stay inflated, I'm a happy biker.

Take care!