Tuesday, September 04, 2007


There were a host of characters at Keesler AFB, but here are a few that I remember most, besides Frank Boyce and Frank Gordon. Each are in my memory for unique reasons only their personalities could create. All of us were from different lifestyles and parts of the country, and all volunteers randomly placed in some specific circumstance for their country. Pure fate put us in the same place at the same time.

This first photo of Boyce and I was taken sometime in the spring of 1965, I know that from the 1505 short-sleeved uniform. By this time, we were comfortable with our lives in the Air Force. Our job was like any other civilian job. We had to be at work at a particular time and we got off 8 hours later. What we did between shifts was up to us and we roamed the area of Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi, and even Mobile, Alabama and New Orleans, Louisiana frequently.

Often we spent quiet evenings out at dinner clubs watching club performers and comedians like Brother Dave Gardner, doing shtick about RC Colas and Moon Pies! We would order Old Fashions before dinner and Tom Collins for dessert! It was a grand time and I loved the Mississippi Coast during this year and a half. I owe Boyce much for teaching me how to be a civilized man and how to give the appearance, at least, of having some culture in public.

On the other hand, there were other characters that I knew and watched who had less desirable characteristics.

One was “Funky McNasty”, whose real name it is best I do not remember. I think it was Boyce, who first coined this moniker, having been too close to him on occasion!

There was occasional reshuffling in the barracks and one time it meant that I was rooming with Funky McNasty – the horror! Poor ol’ Funky could not help that his body odor was offensive. We watched, just to make sure, and he took showers, and he used deodorant, but he still stunk! It was a sweet sickening kind of smell with touch of acridness to it! Just really unpleasant to be around.

In this second shot, I am considering knocking the hell out of “Funky” and throwing his stinking body out the window! Seriously, he had just taken a shower and put on fresh clothes as some guys dropped by to visit. He still smelled, albeit a little better at that particular moment.

He and I grew close enough; over the couple of months I could stand it, to discuss the subject. He knew his body had this unique smell and had tried for years to cover it up. Poor guy had never had a girlfriend or any real close friends. I confessed to him that I had only stayed in his room because I did not want to hurt his feelings. He completely understood, and that week, he became the only guy on the floor with a private room!

I have no picture of Airman Currier. Airman Currier was from California, and, like Boyce, washed out of OCS and into the Air Police! It makes you feel good to learn, just after building up pride in being an Air Policeman, that the Air Force puts guys in that position as punishment! Shows you how much respect Sky Cops have with the upper brass!

Currier was a plump, waddling, sort of guy, that always looked like he needed a shave after having shaved. His uniform was just a little less fresh, a little less pressed, and everything was slightly off kilter!

Currier wore glasses almost as thick as the bottoms of Coke bottles, and had a loud voice that grated on you. To Sgt. Webb, who prided himself in how his “Air Cops” looked, Currier was a total embarrassment and disappointment. Webb actually hated Currier – it was evident. Airman Currier” (that’s the only way I ever remember him being addressed) would be assigned standing or walking post for months before ever being given a riding patrol, but he never complained. He did his job and took whatever came his way.

One evening the Desk Sergeant (a person who operates the AP HQ base radio and dispatched assignments and coordinated operations) asked Unit 8 (Currier), just before shift change, how much gas he had in his vehicle. Currier in his jovial, yet irritating way screeched out over the airways, like nails on a blackboard, “It’s either half full or half empty! The Desk Sergeant, through gritted teeth, came back with a simple, “10-4.” Currier stood gate duty for months after that!

Finally, there was Airman Rick, a rather small black fellow from New York, with an effeminate voice and mannerisms. However, I do not think Rick was gay by any stretch of the imagination. Rick used to tell me stories about his conquests and about how he made love to his girlfriends.

I must say that his expertise was highly refined and in later years, I put a couple moves to the test. They worked great, I was told, so to me this gives even more credence to him being heterosexual.

However, his tendency to sound effeminate left him venerable to practical jokes. One of the worst ever played on him was when Boyce sprayed lighter fluid under the width of his door, lit it, and yelled fire!

Now, if you have not been asleep, and have not been startled awake, you would immediately think that you are living in a concrete building with steel doors, and that a fire is most likely not really burning in the hallway, and that you are in no immediate danger.

On the other hand, if you just sprang up from a deep sleep, in a dark room, and you see fire under your door, you do what anyone would do in a burning building. You would open the nearest window, squeeze your way through it, and drop twelve feet to safety on the ground below!

At this point, you will be fully awake and realize you have been punked - not that the laughter from the window above would give anything away!

It is truly a miracle that Airman Rick did not break his leg or neck!

I would love to see them all today.


Scott from Oregon said...

I think remembering the entirety and complexity and absurdity of a life is important. Glad you do too...

Suldog said...

I keep repeating myself here, I'm afraid. Great stuff, Mushy! I'm looking forward to as many reminiscences as you wish to put out here. I'm really enjoying this series.

~Fathairybastard~ said...

I'll never forget discovering my dads "Brother Dave" albums back in the mid 1970s. That guy was hilarious! Total other end of the spectrum from Richard Pryor, who I also discovered at about the same time, and yet the exact same sort of humor... from life and humble backgrounds. Hilarious.

You know I love these sorts of posts. You spin a great yarn, and it's fun to watch you grow.

Buck Pennington said...

I haven't heard Brother Dave mentioned in literally years. So, naturally...I googled him. Didja know he was busted for pot in '62? He must have had better PR folks than our "stars" do nowadays, or the news biz has gotten better/worse, or something.

Re: 1505s. Another blast from the past! I have a few 1505 pics similar to yours (minus the white hat), Mushy, laying about in the archives in Son Number Two's basement, somewhere. I really should buy a scanner and retrieve those photos...just for grins and giggles.

Thanks for the memories!

Mushy said...

Buck - You really MUST do that before you lose them to time. Plus, we'd all love to see them.

GUYK said...

Yeah, I was and still am a Brother Dave fan "Dear Hearts" and always thought he was funny..but "it's all in how ya look at it."

BRUNO said...

Good advice you gave to Buck, Mushy! Time, and/or uncaring relatives, neither of which are kind to old photos!

Dixiechick said...

I sure hope my son has as many memories as you.. I'm sure he will.


Jose said...

Another really good story. I can really see some of this situations as fillers in a movie about the armed forces. I know it's been done before but with so many of you that served and lived the military life the stories have got to be endless.

Becky said...

Your poor friend Funky McNasty. I saw a story on The Today Show about people that naturally smell bad no matter how many times they shower and no matter what they eat. Perhaps there should be some site that gets them together?

pat houseworth said...

Amazing how we turned from skinny kids to not-so-skinny men...I was 135 or so when I went to basic...165 when I "grad-e-ate-ed from Cop School 13 weeks the time I went to Vietnam(a year after joining) I was 185.....


Sarge Charlie said...

You know I love this stuff, memories are what makes your life worthwhile.

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Aw Mushy, why don't you? Look them up, I mean. I'll bet they would love to know what became of you too.. (and wouldn't THAT be a post and a half to read?) Smile. Great stuff, as ever, my friend.