Friday, July 5, 2019

Battle Rattle

As most of you know, at the completion of a highly successful flying career ( I had exactly the same number of takeoffs as landings), I was sent to bring the gospel of Saint LeMay to the heathens at Fort Leavenworth and help them gain an understanding of the word "Joint".

No, Beans, we're not talking about some newly legalized method of making the world go away.

I was there to learn about how the Army operates at the various levels of conflict and help them to understand what the Air Force brought to the fight.  I was so good, or bad, at this mission, that I was directed to stay for an additional year.  Which was okay as Mrs J, then Captain J, would also be attending "Armeee Training, Sir" that year.



In any case, during that second year, we got to go on several "Field Trips", one to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin California.  This is the Army's version of the Air Forces Red Flag exercise at Nellis AFB NV.  It endeavors to make the exercise as realistic as possible without, hopefully, although regretfully occasionally, anyone dying.

In any case, we arrive out there and are promptly issued gear.  Helmets, all sorts of equipment harnesses and such.  Thankfully, my roommate for these trips was a Ranger and extremely adept at getting things like this together.

He was helpful.
I retired as  Lt Col.  He's still on Active Duty.  Sharp man!Source

He also told me that the slang term for all this stuff was "Battle Rattle."

Which is a long explanation of the title of this post.

It was earlier this week,  a hot summer day in July in Texas.  There's been a lot of rain in the past few weeks so humidity is in the upper half of the percentages most of the time.  It kinda saps the energy out of you.

So,  I decided that I, as master of my world (Mrs J was at an appointment or something),  would take a nap.

I get the curtains drawn and climb into the rack.  Feline flight is out on patrol somewhere so Canine flight assumes alert 5 status from launch facilities around the bed and I settle in.

I must have been tired as I very quickly went to sleep and started dreaming.  I don't typically get to the dream state in a nap.

Anyhoo...

I'm in this nap and all of a sudden, I hear a fierce rattling sound.

As you know, I live in the country...in Texas.  Texas has these things that have diamonds on their backs and rattles on their tails.  We don't like those things.





In any case, I am now not sleeping any more,  and am a couple of feet above the bed, horizontally moving towards the door.  I'm not sure which muscle, or combination thereof, was used in that manner of levitation, but it was effective.

Outside the bedroom, I hear the rattle slow and then cease.  It seems to have been coming from under the bed, so I get a broom and flashlight.  Maintaining a safe-ish distance from the bed, I lift the bedspread, turn on the flashlight and look underneath.

One of the Russian Blues is playing "Bat the Cicada" with his paws and the Cicada is not happy.

Ahhh, the joys of owning Cats.  Their sense of humor is beguiling.

Yes, the Cicada was given a burial at sea.  No, I did not return to my nap.  I think my pulse is back to normal now though.

28 comments:

  1. Ah......sneks that have rattles on their tails......those you can keep there juvat, good to hear you still know emergency takeoff procedures...... :) There's only two such sneks here and they roam the FAR southeastern part of the state, pretty rare in fact which is a good thing IMHO. I share Indy's opinion also.

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    1. To be honest, I haven't actually SEEN a live one in the wild around here. I've seen some dead ones in the middle of the road, so I know they're around and could possibly make it inside so the levitation experiment was not entirely wasted. The RB had a very confused look on his face when I deprived him of his new playmate. He then went back outside and brought in a large grasshopper. Kids....

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  2. Man o man, not the way to wake up. Yeah, coming completely awake in the middle of a reaction is weird. I had something brush my neck about 0410 this am. Don't know what if anything it was. But I was almost sitting up, and my hand was completing follow through by the time my brain caught up and I was awake.

    I'm glad it was a bug, not a.... well, I was gonna use my exellente espanol, and it turns out the TexMex word I know for snake isn't correct. I had no idea culebra was snake. That's a major road in SA..... hmmmm......... Must be a rest of the story in there some where.

    I'm glad you have a CAP while you rest. or is it a bug patrol??

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    1. I knew that word from HS Spanish, but never put two and two together with respect to Culebra Road. That's on what used to be the west side of San Antonio (now it might be called downtown) which is pretty rocky so it could have been aptly named. Who knows?
      Canine flight never scrambled and the other RB and Schmedly were nowhere near. So, I'm not sure if either is appropriate. More of "Hey Dad, I brought a new friend over to play with, MmmKay?"

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  3. Hey Juvat;

    Got a chuckle reading your post, yep the nefarious cicada has caused my a lot of grief camping, when I have to take new scouts into the woods for the first time and they are city boys....I get a lot of "Mr. Bob..Mr. Bob What is that!!" at night

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    1. And this wasn't the run of the mill, albeit deafening, whistling noise they make when mating in the tries. This was a loud angry noise. Wasn't til I actually saw it that I knew for sure.

      Thanks

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  4. LOL.

    Love that clip from Stripes, too. "Blowed up Sir" "BLOWED UP SIR!!!"

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    1. Stripes is one of my favorite movies from that era. I have to pull it out a couple of times a year, just for old times sake.

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  5. Glad you survived the snake, even if it was a cat. I'm sure the cat was pleased that everything went according to plan.
    I had a helicopter tour of Ft. Irwin and all the various artillery ranges when I was putting together the "Night Ground Attack Tactics" course as an IP at George. I had designed the "Day GAT" course so who better to do it without the benefit of seeing much of anything for the most part. When we started liberating the North at night, no one had ever done any night bombing. Someone showed my fearless leaders how to work the flares and suggested a tactic, then fragged us for a "crucial to the entire war effort" bamboo bridge. We all learned from there. Experience the best teacher. The first night training at Ft. Irwin is a story in itself, which I have to blog out some day.

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    1. Yeah, he did seem to have a somewhat wicked grin on his face when I lifted the bed spread.

      Would love to hear that Ft Irwin story. Dive bombing at night was always....entertaining.

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  6. Ah, sounds that aren't supposed to be there. Especially around cats. How I dearly remember the three-toned warning that cats give before they fire from their internal magazine, "hwark, Hwark, HWARK..." Said alert tone usually issued right next to ear of sleeping person. That sound sequence, after you've heard it once and ignored it, will wake the almost dead and cause the waker to catapult him/her-self up and out of sleeping position very quickly.

    As to cicadas, well, the FIL(spawn of Satan, from HELL itself) hated the sounds cicadas, frogs, other pleasant small critters make. Which, of course, made me enjoy that cacophony of night time noise all the more enjoyable. Ah, the sweet sounds of the South during not-cold times. Heck, that sound almost drowns out the thumpa-thumpa cars as said thumpa-thumpa cars drive by as their owners/operators attempt to share with the whole city their current musical stylings. (Which makes me really want a Mk-19 or an M-2 HB, or maybe a collection of Javelin ATMs...)

    Good post, sir juvat.

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    1. Thanks,

      Cicadas really are loud aren't they Beans? But drown out the Bass from a beater? Not around here they don't.

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    2. One can always hope. Sigh. And yet another law that is ignored because racism (noise ordinance violations...) or some such bullscat.

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    3. And I live a mile and a half from the highway and can hear them. Mrs J told me several years ago to by stock in hearing aids...wish I'd followed her advice.

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    4. Andrew: "Which, of course, made me enjoy that cacophony of night time noise all the more enjoyable." Perhaps proofreading might have made this into a sentence without the redundancy. May I suggest the elimination of the word ' enjoyable '. Not that I have not made similar faux pas. It's just more fun twitting someone else.

      Your friend,
      Paul

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    5. Well, in my defense, I can enjoy something, but the extra added schadenfreude just adds layers of enjoyability onto the whole enjoyment experience.

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    6. Help stamp out and get rid of redundancy.

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    7. If it's worth saying, it's worth saying!

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  7. Good to know it was nothing. I'd hope your pets would warn you before you had to investigate- with hisses or barks or both. Our Jack Russell sounded the alarm with a rattler in our backyard, informing EVERYONE- considering how much of a racket he put up.

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    1. One would hope they would, for sure. But they might have thought (giving them the benefit of the doubt) that Feline flight had the situation well under control. Or maybe, they just wanted to see how high Dad could fly.

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  8. When I was in high school, I spent much of my spare time hunting jack rabbits and other furry varmints in the sage brush and juniper high desert in far Northern California. On one of my outings, I walked past a buzz worm coiled up on the far side of a large flat rock. He lit off just after walked by. Yeah, Adrenalin, heart rate, all that. Had my trusty .22 rifle with me, so no problem. That hide resides on my dusty old cowboy hat to this day.

    So I turn to head for home with my new snek hat band (minus head) and step through a small clump of dry grass. A grasshopper launches out of the grass under my feet, making a very credible imitation of a buzz worm. It is truly an odd sensation to realize you are six feet in the air and are now RTB (or at least RTG) with no real recollection of how you got up there. Why, certainly, just not how.

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    1. I can understand that. You probably hadn't even completed your "Cheated Death" victory dance yet.

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  9. Yes, cats make one's life more enjoyable.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

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  10. Cats AND Dogs. While Bill Murray may define the end of the world that way, we find they get along pretty well. You're right though, they DO make life more enjoyable.

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  11. Late comment. Never cared for "Stripes". I understand it was satire, but it demeaned the experience of men who went through basic training in the Vietnam era, IMO. Regarding battle rattle, once picked up my son's while visiting his home and was shocked by the weight compared to what I carried. He just laughed and said as a medic he carried a lot more. If memory serves, we had a web belt with two ammo pouches (two 20 round magazines each) canteen/cup in a pouch, a small first aid pouch, and an entrenching tool. All this held up with suspenders that you could attach a small backpack and sleeping bag. All up, maybe 40 lbs. We also carried a gas mask with a separate belt and thigh tie down. This was Cold War era Germany.

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    1. I can see your point, WSF. I just found the ridiculousness of it helpful in getting through some of the ridiculousness of CGSC. "ARRRMMMMMEEEE Training, Sir!" said in my best Bill Murray imitation, even if only in my mind. Seemed to help.

      Then Capt Brooks, now General Brooks, got me all sorted out, even though I seemed to be carrying things that the other guys, Non-AF, weren't. It's ok. I had to give a talk on being a fighter pilot. I went over to Whiteman AFB and borrowed a "Complete" set of flight gear, to include a Poopie suit (anti-exposure suit). As I recall that was on a warm summer day in Kansas. Guess who I had as my Model?

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  12. I think a few people are mixing up cicadas and katydids. It's cicadas during the day, katydids taking over at night. When we moved out to the country forty-odd years ago, I explained katydids to my wife as the bugs that aimed megaphones at the bedroom window all night, saying "ChirpyCHIRP!". Yes, cat handball can be played against the baseboard with many and varied objects.

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    1. Did not know that, but he's right. Thanks. This was during the day, so I'm pretty sure it was a cicada.

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