Friday, May 31, 2013

The Story of LUSH

Once upon a time there was a young Naval Flight Officer, a lowly Lieutenant, Junior Grade. Not too far removed from the tender loving care of the East Coast Fleet Replacement Squadron (that's the RAG for you purists) VFA-106, the Gladiators. The squadron where those who have earned their wings of gold move on to the next step in their training in the aircraft they will be using out in "The Fleet". The WSO had passed through the RAG and was now an FNG. (Truly, it said so on her name tag!)

So she was now a brand-spanking new member of the mighty Fighting Swordsmen, the much lauded and often envied Gypsies of VFA-32. Those masters of mud moving and aerial combat, those...

(Okay, okay. I'm going for dramatic effect here. Geez!)

So yes, we're talking about The WSO. My youngest daughter, mother of my oldest granddaughter and (as we like to say) the female version of Your Humble Scribe. She inherited my incredible wit, good looks, striking intelligence and extremely loud command voice. (Okay, the looks and the brains she got from her Mom. She also inherited my metabolism. She and I can gain 5 pounds driving by McDonald's. Perish the thought of what would happen should we actually go inside. She is not thankful when reminded of this. She told me so, recently.)

As a bit of an aside, true story, no sh!t, there I was - while Yours Truly was in attendance at the U.S. Air Force NCO Leadership School at Yokota AB, Japan, I was noted (and yes, praised) for my ability to drill the troops. (As in march them around, what were you thinking?) My command voice was impressive. Much honed over the years of calling for my brothers in the woods of my native Vermont. So powerful was this voice that one day I was drilling my flight when an instructor from another group came over and asked me to "tone it down a bit, eh Sarge?" As my commands were also being executed by our sister flight, some 150 yards away, Like I said, powerful.

Now I'm not sure that a young lady would find such a voice to be a good thing. But it never bothered the WSO, nor myself. It does, however, bug the hell out of the Missus Herself. She has indicated that the youngest of the progeny is just too damn loud, at times. But (let's say it together now) I digress.

Now at some point in the life of a Naval Flight Officer or Naval Aviator, there will be that very first trip to Naval Air Station Fallon, in Nevada. Not near Vegas and from what my sources tell me, not near anything!

Ah, Fallon...
Lovely Fallon...
Oh yeah, where was I?

Yes, The WSO's very first trip to NAS Fallon. Air Wing Fallon they call this evolution. Where the young flying types hone their skills. Drink too much and tell each other tall tales. (At least that's how the Air Force does it!) Now bear in mind, this is her first time to NAS Fallon with her operational squadron and this, gentle reader, is her very first night at NAS Fallon.

Out she and her shipmates go. Out to the NAS Fallon Officer's Club to bond and come together as a fighting unit should. From what I was later given to understand, a good time was had by all. From what I 
was later given to understand, one young Naval Flight Officer had too much of a good time. As she related to me the other day (when the authorization came down from "on high" to release this tale), it was an epic drunk. Truly epic. (She used that word, "epic", multiple times. So I'm guessing it was indeed, epic.)

Apparently, at the close of the evening's festivities (and she's a little hazy on the details here mind you, some of this was related to her second hand) a couple of her squadron mates transported her safely back to the Bachelor Officers' Quarters (BOQ) as she was, shall we say "intoxicated", "three sheets to the wind", "in her cups", "blasted" and, well I think you get the point.

Trouble is though, she was incapable of navigating from the lawn of the BOQ to her actual room. Later that same evening, she was awakened by base security and ambulance folks who were somewhat concerned with her condition. Sleeping as she was on the lawn of the BOQ. Rather covered in vomit (no one said this tale would be pretty!)

Now there may be some of you who are horrified by this tale of drunkenness and sleeping on lawns. But in many ways it was a rite of passage for The WSO. But, as you may well imagine, there were consequences from that "epic" evening.

The WSO's squadron mates had their butts handed to them for not ensuring that the FNG made it all the way to her room. The CO was most displeased with all of the parties involved. But he had some special consequences for The WSO, seems she was banned from the O-Club for the remainder of the squadron's time in Fallon. There was no "official" fall-out from that night. As there shouldn't have been, no harm, no foul and there were lessons learned all around.

On the other hand, The WSO was now accepted as "one of the guys". Now I know some of the ladies might find that distasteful. "One of the guys? I'm a lady, I'm not one of the guys!" However, the military is still very male-oriented. One cannot change hundreds (if not thousands) of years of tradition overnight. For The WSO she was now truly a member of the squadron. She still cherishes that moment when the male Gypsies told her that. She was no longer a chick in a flight suit, she was a Gypsy.

It was shortly thereafter that The WSO got to turn in her FNG name tag and was given one with her actual name and rank. Also she received another new name tag, one every aircrewman has. What in the Air Force would be called her "party" name tag. This one simply had the following embroidered under her wings of gold:

One word, all caps (to steal a phrase from the master himself) which stands for (drum roll please) -

Little Unconscious Sh!t Head

And that's how the Old AF Sarge's baby girl got her call sign.

Oh yeah, and at the in-brief the morning after? Let's just say that The WSO got tired of everyone commenting to her (in very loud voices) -

"Gee, LUSH, did ya know ya smell like vomit?"

What every lady wants to hear.


  1. What a great story. Hand Salute to your wonderful daughter for her service from an old Doggie. Proud to call her sister. Here's to ya LUSH!!!

    1. I'll make sure she sees this.

      Who am I kidding, every post which features her, she reads again and again. Including comments.

      Thanks Six!

  2. Heh. A great story, well-told. Kudos to LUSH (all caps, if'n you please, and even if you DON'T) for giving you the appropriate authorizations to relay the tale. Ya done good. So did she, as well.

    1. She saw your comment the other day, felt she had to oblige. Us being as we are, you're practically her uncle ya know.

      Glad you liked it.

    2. That damned movie spoiled it for Uncle Buck. Just sayin'. ;-)

    3. Ah that was a different (way less cool) Uncle Buck. Remember you've had at least one Navy Captain certify you as cool. (Just thinkin', you were linked at the Mothership, so that's two Navy Captains!)

  3. Just goes to can choose your course of action, but you can't choose the resulting nicknames that will follow you forever. Hee.

  4. OMG ... what a priceless story! And pricelessly told, as well, I might add. :D

  5. Some callsigns come from something to do with your name (i.e. "Snuffy" Smith), some from a physical attribute ("Intake" had a larger-than-average nose), some from doing something stupid or dangerous (a drunken "Gretzky" got beat up with a hockey stick), but the best ones come with a story! Thanks for sharing, and violating some sort of father-daughter confidence. Although her telling you the story- a guy with an aviation-centric blog- she couldn't have expected much daddy-daughter confidentiality in the first place.

    1. I've been wanting to tell that story for quite some time but didn't, not wanting to violate the sanctity of the father-daughter bond. But The WSO told me to go ahead and tell the tale. As I've mentioned before, she and I are kindred souls. I have always loved the call sign stories. Big Time has had a couple of them. Hhhmm, I wonder if he'd let me tell those stories?

    2. Big Time has had a couple of them. Hhhmm, I wonder if he'd let me tell those stories?

      Ask and ye MIGHT receive. Lex's call sign stories were some of the better parts of his blog... and he had a few of 'em.

    3. I will pester him when I next go out to Cali. Which should be in August, they're building a house near (shudder) Lemoore and they'll be moved in then. And it will be around Little Bit's birthday and my son (the Naviguesser) is just up the road (so to speak, approx 130 miles) and his birthday is in August too. So we can celebrate the new house and a couple of birthdays. And bug Big Time for call sign stories.

  6. I love call sign origin stories. My son's buddy and jet advanced classmate has the cool call sign of "Beemer". That's short for "BMW" which is short for Broke My Weaner. Beemer EARNED his call sign in a hotel just off Duval Street after he and his classmates finished their initial CQ on the USS Bush. Bouncing on the Bush as it were. Which is exactly what he was doing with a new found friend when he earned BMW. There was even a mishap report produced that was sent far and wide. True story

  7. As I was reading this I was thinking of the scene in Animal House, where the poor drunken girl was returned to her home in a shopping cart

  8. And great helmet art, too!



Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

NOTE: Comments on posts over 5 days old go into moderation, automatically.