Busy, busy

Your humble host normally tries to set aside an hour or so on Sunday’s for some writing, or at least thinking about writing, and real content for the blog.

Today, alas, the stuff of life intervened, and there was no serious contemplation or writing to be had. Between a trip to multiple grocery stores, the hardware store, the liquor store and McDonalds, the morning was shot. Then, while doing laundry, the urge to strip, wash, wax and buff my car struck, and what I had intended to be an hour of enjoying the sun turned into a four hour marathon trying to get my poor old Beemer looking half assed decent again. Turns out, CLR isn’t great for its finish, but  it is the  only way to get the years and years of hard water spots off the old girl. Some CLR, instantly followed by rubbing compound, followed by a good wax job, and she looks a lot better. Which brings us to a story from over 20 years ago.

It came to pass that then Specialist XBrad (actually, then XM113TC) was sent up to brigade headquarters to be the driver for the Brigade XO. As the XO’s driver, my primary vehicle was an M1009 CUCV- basically, the Army version of a ‘78 K5 Blazer. Now, it may have been an off the shelf design, but it was a tactical vehicle, and as such, had a tactical paint job. And one of the things you may not have known is that Army tactical vehicles used a very special camouflage paint. In order to prevent equipment from absorbing nerve agents or other chemical weapon agents in the event of World War III, Army vehicles were coated with a special, expensive paint called “CARC” or Chemical Agent Resistant Coating. Given CARCs affinity for absorbing petroleum products, I’m not sure just how well it would work against VX or mustard gas, but nobody asked me.  But CARC had to be maintained carefully. And one thing the technical manuals all stressed was that no vehicle coated with CARC could ever be waxed. No waxes, coatings,  finishes, polishes or anything like that were permitted.

Being an eager beaver, and new to my job as a Colonel’s driver, just about the very first thing I did was take my truck to the wash rack and give her a good scrubbing. I wanted her spic and span, shipshape and Bristol fashion. And by the time I finished spending all morning and a fair part of the afternoon scrubbing and whatnot, that truck was neat as a pin. I may have been a dirty mess, but my chest was puffed out with pride for how clean and spiffy my truck was. I parked out front of Brigade headquarters with a sense of smug satisfaction that my truck was fully up to the Army standard.

The Brigade Command Sergeant Major stepped out just as I was finishing parking. He called me over. Expecting to start my new duties with a nice attaboy, I was a touch butthurt when his very first words to me were:
”The XO’s truck needs a heck of a lot more wax than that, Specialist X. We can’t have our officers out in crappy looking trucks!”

Not my vehicle, but mine was in virtually the same configuration. But shinier.

Arguing with the CSM that TM9-whatever-10 forbade was didn’t seem like the prudent course of action. I hopped into the truck, hit the PX, and about $75 dollars later, had a goodly supply of Armor-All,* TurtleWax, and an buffer.


*Also completely forbidden by the manuals, and also absolutely mandatory in practice.

13 thoughts on “Busy, busy”

    1. You had to go and ask that, you sick puppy! Just the thought….

      I remember when BDUs came out. We were told about the anti-IR coatings and were told not to starch them. So, you can guess what we ended up having to do.

    2. QM, I recall the same thing. It’s the evils of garrison command. Can’t have soldiers in utility uniforms looking “shabby” (i.e. like the uniforms were worn as intended). Never mind that the obvious solution is to put em in Class B’s if you want sharp looking soldiers… oh no. Cause see then, you don’t look “Tactical”. And heaven forfend that these soldiers get airs or think that they’re not the tip of the spear (never mind the fact that they’re not).

      REMF Tactical always made me want to smack people. I remember watching a Ranger officer at Ft. Meade chew out two AF girls (the fact they were cute had NOTHING to do with my discomfort at what happened to them… naturally) because they didn’t salute him. He, wearing subdued rank at the time. Because you don’t wear shiny rank insignia in the field. It is a near thing that I didn’t point out to him the incongruity of wearing subdued rank and getting upset at not being saluted. I did apologize to the two of them on behalf of the US Army.

  1. I shall now relate a story involving a Chevy Tahoe, and a siren, and my nieghbors orange and white tomcat, Mr. Whiskers.

    The siren had shorted out on my Tahoe, so it had been sent back to Federal Signal to be repaired onder warratny. While it was gone, I took the speaker off of the deer smucker on the front of the truck, after all, I live in Wisconsin, land of road salt. When the Brown Truck of Happiness brought the siren back, I grabbed the speaker and the siren, and headed for the truck. Mr. Whiskers, always ready to come and supervise anything going on outside, came over and hopped into the truck as I put the siren back in, and wired it up. I then grabbed a milk crate, and sat in front of the truck, and remounted the speaker on the deer smucker. I pushed the ground wire onto it’s terminal and picked up the power cable, saying unto the cat, “well, one more connection, and I am gonna get me a can of Coke, I’ll grab a saucer of milk for you, and a chocolate donut we can share”. After I pushed the spade connector down on the positive terminal, I suddenly was nade aware of why people say that you should ALWAYS make sure that the guys at Federal turned the thing off before packaging it up and returning it to you. A PA 400 siren set for yelp going off two feet awy from you does grab one’s attention. 200 watts of WOO WOO WOO WOO will do that. Both Mr. Whiskers and I got a littler grayer of fur that day.

  2. Ahhh, the Old CUCV. The only 4 wheel drive vehicle which bogged down on a hard surface road.

    This reminds me of a buddy who used to be the BMO in the Berlin Brigade.
    They had chromed the exhaust ports and lugnuts on the M113 FOVs!

    He told me the maintenance motto of the Berlin Brigade was “Run it might, but shine it will!”

    They used to use a ton of brake fluid on their shrouds to make them nice and shiny.

    1. Buck, I was told the Navy’s version was “Work it may, but shine it must.”

      There is a old Broadside cartoon that I love. It showed a large variety of big problems for the OOD (low water 1A boiler, [thats how old it was]) CBDR contact, helo inbound, someone needing to get off the focsle, etc.). The CO was in his chair, and his comment was, “OOD, no one did the brightwork!!!”

  3. Hope your experience was better than a former BDE XO I worked for, in that his driver ran him over one night at Hohenfels. Some say it was intentional. THe XO’s question, as he lay on the ground with his cold weather boot bent backwards at a 45 degree angle was “Reilly, you SOB! Why’d you run me over?” (The answer may be because the driver was using the BDE XO’s computer to surf some illicit sites and wound up with some UCMJ the day prior.) The entire TOC cheered when the XO was evacuated….

    1. LTC O was a good man and a good officer. So I never tried to run him over. Besides, the only computer in BDE HHC back then was in the maint. section, and we only used it to play M1 Tank Platoon II.

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