Wednesday, September 05, 2007


I know, in this photograph, I do not look very formidable, but the truth is when you are alone on the street and you face overwhelming situations, your “second nature training” is enhanced by the adrenaline produced by fear. It is also surprising that you can hide your fear with a confidence that even you did not know you had.

Not too long after I began getting “law enforcement” patrol assignments, I encountered my first anxious situation. Looking back on it later, I knew I should have called for backup, but things just happened so quickly. In addition, as I say, Air Police Training makes you react quickly, as if it were only a training scenario, and the “adrenaline high” masks the obvious dangers of certain situations.

I was making a routine pass through the Keesler Airman’s Club parking lot late one Saturday when four guys, dressed in civilian clothes, came out of the club and started out across a wide grassy lawn toward a line of cars parked under a row of pine trees.

I noticed that they were tugging at one of the guys, and the fellow was obviously fighting back at them. Suddenly the guy who was slapping at the others, and getting louder, fell to the ground and turned over on his back.

This is the point I should have called in, especially since there were four of them and one of me. Instead, I pulled up and parked the truck with my bright lights full on the four individuals, got out, and walked toward the group.

Just as I got to the guy on the ground he regurgitated straight up and the whole mess fell back in his face. He just lay there and moaned, as one of his friends said, “Ah man, get up…what the hell?

The drunk (on the ground) just lay there without any seeming regard for the puke all over his face. All he seemed to be able to do was moan.

I yelled, “You guys his friend?

Yeah,” one said, as they began slowly side step and get further apart around me.

Are you stationed here?” I demanded to know, beginning now to shake way down inside.

No…we’re ah, Coast Guard…from down in Gulf Port,” one offered.

I asked for IDs and confirmed there names, rank, and branch of service, and then asked where their vehicle was. One pointed in the general direction, and I said, as deeply and manly as possible, “Get this drunk off my base!

Yes, sir,” they said in unison, sensing they were getting off light. They went to where their friend lay and began trying to get him up. The guy lay flat out, arms and legs out to his sides as if he were ready to begin making “grass angels,” and refused to move.

It soon became obvious that the three guys could do nothing with their friend – he simply was incapable of moving. I walked over and looked the guy over with my flash light and I got more and more disgusted with his appearance, and lack of self-respect.

Feeling my legs want to begin a little shake, I yelled, “Damn it! Get that car door open!

I reached in my pocket, pulled out a ballpoint pen and placed it under the second finger (the gig finger) of his right hand, and across the tops of his first and third fingers. Then, as someone once told me, but I had never tried, I squeezed down as hard as I could on the three fingers! Remarkably, the drunk rose to his feet, his right arm straight out, and began to walk like a zombie along beside me moaning loudly!

His friends looked at me wide-eyed and began to get angry with me. Hey, you’re hurting him!

Get that damn door open!” I yelled.

One guy opened the back door of their vehicle and I walked “my drunk” even quicker to the open door. Just as we reached the door, I shoved him toward the opening and his head, just about the hairline, caught the opening and made a loud “thunking” sound! However, his momentum carried him on into the back seat.

Later as I sat reviewing the events, I thought at the point, particularly because of the way his head snapped back, that I may have broken his neck! Apparently that did not happen – thank God!

The others looked glaringly in my direction, but then I reached for the door and slammed it shut; only, in the dark, I did not see that his right leg was still hanging out the door. There was another loud “thunk,” and the drunk uttered another low pain induced moan. He then lay motionless in the dark!

Now, their eyes looked frightened at the bad assed “Sky Cop” who again bellowed, “Get him off my damn base, and don’t ever come back!

Yes sir,” was all I heard and they drove off into the night.

I stood there and watched the taillights disappear, and for a long time, I breathed deeply, trying to calm myself. It was my first real law enforcement encounter and I wondered if I had over reacted. I also wondered how things would have turned out had I not acted so wild myself. It was pure intimidation and it worked.

It was not my last encounter with drunks, but this first event bolstered my confidence for the future.

I could never understand a person who could get so drunk they had no control over or self-respect for themselves. To puke straight up into the air and then let it hit and stay on their face - something so wrong about that! I did not know until this happened, what a lack of tolerance I have for mean or sloppy drunks.


GUYK said...

Young sky cops on security posts scared hell out of me. I was at MacDill during the Cuban 'war' in the fall of 1962. The adrenalin was pumpin' for all of us and I damn sure dreaded driving a fuel truck into a restricted area..even when the security cops had been notified in advance I was coming in.

Good place to get shot...

BRUNO said...

Yet another reason I don't patronize bars---some sloppy-assed drunk, up in my face, or my wifes---I'm even LESS forgiving now, than I was years ago. Just another "fight-in-progress" for either, or both of us.

Indeed, a bit of back-up might have been in order, but the bluff of the uniform, and the authority works the majority of the time---and besides, you were YOUNG then!

I'll have to remember that "pen under the finger" thing, don't recall ever learning that one. Of course, "don't recall" just goes without saying....!

pat houseworth said...

Ahhh, the life of a Sky Cop....guess it could have been worse...the drunks could have been fellow Sky Cops...not that any of us ever went over that line...

Reminds me one night at Nha Trang when one young black guy was drunk at the NCO club, and made the mistake of calling my SSgt supervisor an "Uncle Tom" when we were called to the "party getting out of hand" at the club....not a pretty site, but pretty funny, remembering Melvin's actions and reaction nearly 40 years later.


Hammer said...

I'm going to have to learn that pen trick.

Yep I want no part of sloppy puking drunks. I've been one of the poor guys that had to take em to safety.

Buck Pennington said...

I won't...can't... be too critical of the Coastie in your story, what with having been an enthusiastic participant at "nickel beer night" at the Keesler Airmen's Club on waaay too many occasions. And with outcomes similar to what you described, Mushy, except without the benefit of a helpful sky cop.

We are, all of us, lucky to have survived our youth.

Alex said...

Haha! I would have slammed his leg a couple more times.

Then again, these days there would be a lawsuit.

~Fathairybastard~ said...

Well, that was cool. Yep, I'll need to learn that pen trick too. Can't help but feel how cool it is to see you coming of age, and growing up in confidence in these posts. Enjoying it. Wish my dad had put all these sorts of things down for me to read. You're really doing that little girl a service.

One of the coolest things about being a teacher on the Navy ships was going to the clubs with the guys and then going back to the ship after everyone else was supposed to be aboard. I'd walk confidently up the gang plank and wave my ID at the guards, while sailors and Marines were getting in trouble for being late. As a civilian, they couldn't, or didn't bother to do anything to me.

And yea, I can't imagine how people let themselves get that loaded ether, but I did, once. it just came over me, after all those beers and shots. I humiliated myself once, in a foreign port. So now I can say I did it, and don't need to do it again.

Ron Southern said...

Excuse me, lack of intolerance?! Uh...think again.

Suldog said...

A huge "AMEN!" to Buck's last line. In my case, I might replace "lucky" with "blessed"!

And I just tried that pen trick on myself. D'Oh! I now can certainly see how it would work.

Mushy said...

Thanks Schoolmarm!

*Goddess* said...

Ooooo, Mushy's looking hott in his cop uniform;)

Les Becker said...

I SAW that puke fly up in the air. I don't know whether to laugh, cry or run to the bathroom.

Sometimes, Mushy, I wish you weren't quite so successfully descriptive...

david mcmahon said...

G'day Mushy,

Heard about the pen trick, but never seen it performed. A big learning experience for you in how to handle people who are not fully in control of themselves.

Like you, I make a big distinction between mean drunks and funny drunks. Had an interesting experience heading off a fight in an Alaska bar one time - simply by being scrupulously polite.

Lovely work, Mushy



Mushy said...

Thanks everyone for the comments on this one.

Sorry for the graphic depiction Les, but sometimes it's necessary.

And Goddess...I've been waiting for a Hott Cop award from you!

Lin said...

GREAT story, Mushy! Can't say I would have done it any differently myself if I had been in that position. You nailed it, it's these moments which make us realize that we are stronger than we ever imagined.

Sarge Charlie said...

You are a hottie, what, who said that

Sarge Charlie said...

I copped your sign about winning in VN, i liked it and since i am an old soldier i didn't think you would mind. it will be on my side bar

Scott from Oregon said...

Puke fountains are no picnic...

Mushy said...

I second the Hottie!

FHB sent me the Vietnam sticker and I prolly should give him credit for that...oh, just did!

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

They reckon that the day after my birthday this year, I was found on the floor with four other Bears, several empty bottles, cake crumbs, paper streamers and piles of pants.

I don't remember it at all.

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Cor, you were gorgeous (oops, sorry - still are, naturally). Gee, I sure am glad I'm a happy drunk, as I'd hate to meet you with your pen otherwise!!

Mushy said...

The only man I ever knew that was gorgeous was Gorgeous George! Bet'cha don't remember him!