Monday, August 21, 2017

When Pigs Fly

So...There I was*........


Basking in the glory of successfully defending the honor of the US Air Force in a gladiatorial contest on the field of Softball at Ft Leavenworth, Ks.  The vanquished had paid their tribute in liquid refreshment and both sides had a mutually hosted feast of ground bovine and, what a person of Hispanic ancestry might call Perritos calientes.  

Along with a few more adult beverages containing hops.  A good time was had by all (except the Marine O-6 who left the field of battle in a funk).

The following Monday, the AF Colonel calls me into his office, congratulates me and says he's got another project for me.

Poy...Fect!   I think.  I'm trying to get my head around ARRRRRMMMMMMEEEE Training sir.  (Click here if you need yet one more reminder of what I'm talking about.) and he wants me to take on a "project".

"Yes, sir, what can I do for you?"

"I'd like to put on a Kentucky Derby party, the first Saturday in May  as a graduation/assignment type party."

"Yes, Sir?"

"I'd like it to have food, adult recreational beverages, Derby Attire and Betting on the horses."


"Yeah, we've got no money in the budget for things like this, so we'll have to self fund.  We'll have betting with the cost of the party coming out of the pot, then the winner(s) get paid and the  rest we'll donate to Charity." (I think it was the Armed Forces Retirement Home, but it's been a while.)

"Yes, Sir. Do we have a program that does that?"

"Juvat, I've reviewed your personnel file, says you've got a Masters in Management Information Systems.  This should be easy for a man of your talents."


Fortunately, the key words in that Degree are Master and Management.  Masters of Management know people that are experts in a lot of different things, and I knew a guy from Holloman who could write this code in his sleep.  

Which I think he did.

But I've at least got almost a year to get everything ready.

My, but doesn't time fly when you're busy.

Pretty soon, it's April.  My wife has been promoted below the zone to Major and so is automatically selected for Field Grade Professional Education and Magically (She WAS a personnel officer) has been assigned to CGSC at Ft Leavenworth where I, also Magically, have been selected for the second year school known as Jedi Training Academy School for Advanced Military Studies.

I'm in the midst of finding adequate quarters for Mrs Juvat and the Most Beautiful Daughter and the rest of us to live in as the 500 sq ft 2 bdrm apartment that Little Juvat and I had been living in during our" bachelor" days  was deemed inadequate by the boss.

I end up finding and renting a split level on the edge of town with a large back yard for kids to play in.

But I've been busy.  

One Monday, I get called into the Colonel's office.  He hasn't forgotten.

"Juvat, how are the plans for the Kentucky Derby party going?"

"Swimmingly, Sir."

"Well, good.  What have we got set up so far?"

"Beer, Kentucky Bourbon for mint juleps."

"Good, Good. What about food?"

"Chips, Dips, stuff like that."

"I was expecting something more substantial."

"Yes, sir.  Anything specific?"

"How about a roast pig?"

 "You're kidding, Sir, right?"

 Later on in my Joint Career, I would learn that the proper answer here would have been "Aye, Aye, Sir." 

 After a brief interlude of the Colonel speaking words which are not fit for repeating in a family blog, I responded "Yes, sir!" 

Called the commissary.  No, they don't sell whole hogs.

Nor does Safeway.

Happened to be driving by a BBQ Joint a few days later.  HMMMMM.

They couldn't support a party for a very large group, but.....They did have the name of a pig farmer who might be able to help.

Gave the man a call.  Turns out he was Retired Air Force Enlisted and a Maintainer.  He'd be happy to help.  I don't recall what his selling price was, but since it was significantly less than my career, I thanked him.

He'd deliver the fully cooked pig to my place the morning of Derby day.

Which he did.

So,  I've got food, Adult recreational beverages, my computer friend has built his program which subtracted the party costs from the pot (there was a minimal door charge) then calculated our own odds based on who was betting what on which horse and figured the payout.

Saturday rolls around.  Guests start arriving all decked out in Derby Attire.  

Evidently, Hats are a BIG thing at the Derby, Source

Mint Juleps start flowing.  The guys are talking with their hands, the ladies are rolling their eyes.

The pig is delivered.  I'm expecting something like this

That's me on the right.  Source

What the farmer delivers is something more like this.  

Fully Cooked of course Source

It takes several of us to get it off the truck and carried around back to the party.  

We've opened betting, and it is going pretty fast and furious.  (The AF contingent was almost completely composed of Pilots with a few logisticians thrown in, Pilots LIKE games of chance.)

The program worked as expected, expenses were covered  and since nobody bet on the long shot that actually won, payouts were minimal and the Charity made out like a bandit.

The pig was delivered fully cooked and delicious........

For the first several helpings....

Mrs. Juvat ran to Wal Mart and bought several boxes of Gallon Sized zip locks and take home bags were distributed.

"No, really,  I don't need three of them!"

"Take them, distribute them to your neighbors."

"No, really."


We put the, still large quantity, remnants of the Pig Carcass in two 65 gallon garbage bags, end to end and carry it out to the street for pick up on Monday.


Sunday was hot.

Monday, the Garbage Collectors just kept on driving.

That afternoon, Little Juvat and I came home from school and Mrs Juvat is standing out there waiting for me. She's not smiling.

We, I mostly, but Little Juvat did his best in between gagging fits,  load the carcass onto the top of the minivan and drive around looking for a mostly empty dumpster.  Finding one behind WalMart we carefully place the fragrant remains in it, and peel rubber in our escape.

Yes, that can be done in a minivan, if you're desperate enough.

Took quite a few years before roast pork was offered again on our menu at Casa Juvat!



  1. And, what a sea story to be told. Everyone gets a good laugh but Juvat. He lived it.

    1. It's good for a laugh......Now! Back then, not so much.


  2. A most excellent story and I loved the ending. I could have helped you with the roast hog. Our church hosts a "Beast Feast" every year for the Garden City community and a local outfit supplies us with a whole roast wild hog complete with apple as one of the meat choices. (the feast is free for the community complements of the church)

    1. Thanks, Should have thought of that option in the (rushed) planning process. By Sunday morning though, it was probably too late.

  3. Dead pigs in trash cans. What could possibly go wrong? Hahaha!

    (A Masters in MIS? Cue Twilight Zone theme, moi aussi. From Bowie State. Long story.)

    1. It's an interesting story, might be worth a post.

  4. You missed opening with the SJC?
    Leftovers aren't always desirable.

    1. I felt it was needed. It's been a while.
      So, yeah.

  5. Couple things (which I missed), the link on the photo of the hand talkers is broken (chase it and see).

    And the hand talkers are, left to right, Adolf "Dolfo" Galland, Werner "Vati" Mölders, and Theodor "Onkel Theo" Osterkamp. All three of whom were fighter pilots, Onkel Theo flew in WWI and WWII, 32 victories in the former, 6 in the latter. An ace in two wars.

    1. Link fixed. Mölders was killed in a plane crash in 1941, which might be expected as a fighter pilot. However, he was a passenger in a transport that lost an engine and crashed attempting an emergency landing. He was the first fighter pilot to have 100 confirmed kills and, as such, was restricted from flying for propaganda purposes. Source

      Heckuva way for a fighter pilot to die.

    2. Mölders was one hell of a pilot and leader. Galland was cut from the same cloth, his last job, after being the general in charge of all fighters, was squadron commander of Jagdverband (JV) 44. He pissed off Hitler by telling him the truth (same thing he did with Göring during the Battle of Britain) regarding the air defense of Germany (among other things).

      JV 44 flew the Me-262 and was composed of Experten, aces to a man.

    3. All I ever aspired to was command of a fighter squadron. Alas.....

  6. I remember a couple of naval hog roasts, including one where I personally sourced the pig from the depths of the forest. It wasn't much of a pig, but from the little I recall of the actual eating/drinking event a good time was had by all. For some values of good. Garbage can punch was served.

    Fascinating picture of the kraut flyboys. I have Galland's book. Excellent cautionary tale of how ordinary men can participate in great evil.

    1. Amazing how old books can have relevance in modern times, ain't it? Supposedly he was a regular speaker at USAFE dining-ins and brought a lot of value to them with his experiences.

    2. It is amazing and well worth reading/thinking about. He was a remarkable man, and the way he conducted himself throughout his life says an awful lot about living a human life.

    3. This Wikipedia on Mölders had some interesting background on his character. Thought it was interesting that the Allies used that to try and subvert the Nazis.

  7. "quite a few years before roast pork was offered again on our menu" I would think with a hog that size, it would be quite a few years before you ran out of leftovers!

    1. There was, however, the smell lingered in our memories and would trigger, let's just say, an adverse reaction when encountered. So, most of those leftovers deteriorated slowly in the freezer until discarded in preparation for a transfer.

    2. "leftovers deteriorated slowly in the freezer" I hate it when that happens. Going through my freezer is like an archeological dig...only not as fresh!

    3. Yeah, one of the advantages of the military was regularity of moves. Which means the stuff in the freezer gets emptied at least once every 3 years. Same goes with stuff in closets. Pretty sure there might be some stuff in the freezer that's just a "tad" over that.

    4. I once responded to a house trailer fire. I was at the far end of he county, and the FD got there first. The trailer was completely gone when I got there, just the frame rails left. The trailer was from the 1960's, with expanded urea foam insulation. Expanded urea foam is uber flammable. I am told model rocket people use it for a solid fuel.
      The little old lady who lived there had escaped, but went back in after something, and re-entered the trailer, just as the insulation ignited. Roast person smells like roast pork. I used to love pork roast, but while I still love eating it, I can't be around it while it is being cooked.

    5. That would be traumatic, I'm sure.

  8. At Kwajalein, an Army Base that supported the Air Force Western Test Range and was serviced by the Navy (I never saw a Coastie there, but my dad's senior NCO was an ex-Marine DI (yes, black people get sunburned. A very big and angry ex-Marine DI who is grey and peeling is a sight to see)) the local MWR office would host block parties with the assistance of the senior NCOs or officers, depending on what street area it was. Garbage cans full of cold icy beverage (beer for adults, Shasta sodas of all types for lightweights and kids), along with lots of good old fashioned hot-dogs and burgers.

    Dad threw the most epic one any could remember, as he caught both a marlin and a tuna on a boat trip back from Roi-Namur. The base commissary stored the fish until the weekend, and we all chowed down on some really great fish.

    You have brought back some nice memories with your story, sir. Thanks.

    1. My Boss at CINCPAC was an up and coming Army LTC who got offered the job as Airport Manager at Kwajalein in the early 90's. Went from hard charging on Thursday to retired on Monday and on the Atoll the next Thursday. He asked if I'd take Power of Attorney to sell his two cars. Some Sedan and a fire engine red '88 Mazda RX-7 he'd bought new. I said sure and asked how much he wanted for the Mazda. He said "Loan Value", I said "Sold". Loved that car!

    2. If you ever get a chance to go there, DO SO!

      It is lovely, laid back, wonderful weather, great swimming and fishing.

      Touring Kwaj itself is okay, hey look, a base.

      But Roi-Namur is like a world lost in time. Fully up-to-date radar and telemetry combined with a Pacific jungle and bunkers made from coral and cement (with the 14" and 16" AP holes in them.)

      Meck is even more interesting. I got to go when it was an active testing site for the Sprint and Spartan. Got there by air. Put a new meaning to STOL when you're in some DeHavelland bird with 50 other people. Whoo. Mere roller coasters don't compare!

      On my "DO RIGHT NOW" list if ever I win the lottery.

    3. Heck, for all I know, he may still be there, gone all "native" and such. I asked him why he was kicking it all in, and when he explained the financials, I asked him if he needed a deputy. I've visited a lot of Pacific Islands and found a lot to like on each of them. Haven't found the right connections to visit Iwo, but would like to. Wake was interesting. Visited a lot of places on Luzon and most of the islands round Okinawa as well as all the main Japanese Islands. I can imagine that Kwaj and it's environs would have been pretty nice.
      And given the opportunity, I'll take your advice.

  9. Undone by your own competance. Commanders are always on the lookout for over achievers.

    1. While I appreciate the kind words, I think "Rather be Lucky than Good" comes into play somewhere.

  10. Galland was head of the West German Air Force after WWII also. Thanks for the great story.

    Paul L. Quandt

    1. Sadly no, he spent time in Argentina after he left Germany (in 1948) apparently illegally. Josef Kammhuber became head of the new Luftwaffe after Galland had returned to Germany. He never wore the German uniform again after the war.

  11. That was a most amusing story, and will be counted as a Badger Birthday Present! I especialy like the flying pigs!


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