Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash: Pick Two (aghrivaine) wrote,
Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash: Pick Two

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Old Journal - hand grenades

I just rediscovered an old journal of mine - not the first, but the oldest one that still exists, anyway.
I might try and move stuff over, eventually - but there's like, 300 entries or so, so that's a project.
In the mean time, here's a blast from the past - the Hand Grenade Story!

12:29 p.m.--2001-04-10
I have a hand grenade story.

Onetime when I was a member of the 1/111th Infantry Brigade, we went toFt. Dix New Jersey to conduct some training exercises. My particularplatoon was tasked with running a live-fire hand-grenade range. This is fairly unusual - most of us had not dealt with live hand grenades sinceBasic Training. Normally you just use a hand-grenade body with all the explosive removed, and a replacable "fuse" that will make a popping sound when it goes off, but doesn't do any actual damage.

After running the range most of the day, with a about five infantry companies coming, being briefed for safety, and then throwing a few grenades each, we found ourselves with nothing to do. The entire batallion had qualified with their grenades, and we weren't expecting any other companies to come through the range. Mind you - safety on a grenade range is stringent. All soldiers wear helmets and flak vests - every"firer" is accompanied by a safety NCO when on the range. There is a meticulous counting of rings and safety-pins to insure that no one has made off with a live grenade -- in short, there's not much room to fool around.

It was a hot day. We were all sweltering, even under the shade of the ammo dump shed. After a while, our Platoon Sergeant, SFC Dougherty said, "How many grenades do we have left?" to the guy who was in charge of keeping the ammo. Evans, the private in question, did some counting, and emerged from the dugout. "Three, Sergeant."

SFC Dougherty said, "Wow, only three. We guessed pretty good on that one."

Evans said, "No Sergeant, not three grenades. Three cases."

There was a moment of stunned silence. Three cases. Three hundred grenades. That's a lot of pineapples.

SFC Dougherty said, "Jesus. What are we going to do with all those grenades? Do you know how much paperwork is involved in turning back in live ammo?"

Our lieutenant looked up and said laconically. "Then don't turn in live ammo."

We all looked at each other. Three cases. Three hundred little exploding bundles of joy. YEEEHAAA!!!

All semblance of safety was immediatly pitched out the window. We started uncrating the grenades and filling our cargo pockets, ammo pouches and helmets with them. We dashed out to the range as fast as we could get them out of the shipping material. We would line up behind the concrete barriers, and when everyone was ready, Sgt. Michels would yell, "Let fly!"

We'd pull pins and toss grenades, then duck behindthe barrier. BOOM BOOM BOOM! None of this... pulling one pin in unison,then pulling the ring, then letting the spoon flip off and tossing them altogether. No sir - just toss that sucker and duck.

Soon even that got boring. So we started doing things like cooking them off-- we'd let the spoon fly off, hold them in our hands to a count ofthree, and then toss them. It has a five second fuse.

Then we decided we'd try and get them to all go off together. So we'd flipthe spoon off all at the same moment, cook them off for threes econds,and hurl them. The resultant simultaneous BANG of ten or eleven grenades going off was incredibly impressive. It sounded like the worlds biggest machine gun letting rip a stream of bullets the size of VW Bugs. BANGBANGBANGBANG.

We were giggling likeschoolgirls. Sgt.Cure would toss his grenade directly in front of his own concrete pit so that he could hear the shrapnel spang off thebarrier and whizz over his head. Then he started throwing his grenadesin front of OTHER people's barriers. This set off a competition of who could get their grenade closest to somebody else's barrier without actually putting it inside the barrier. Everyone thought this was just grandly funny - everyone that is, except Cpl. McBride - who kept stuttering "cut it out guys...c-c-c-uttt it out!".

Naturally this just made McBride everyone's favorite target.

Wewere cackling madly and pitching grenades with wild abandon when a white van, followed by a Humvee pulled up in a storm of dust and gravel to the range. MP's with M16's boiled out of the hummer. A civillian employee and a Master Sergeant got out of the van, and they came running up to the range.

"What in God's green earth are you assholes doing?" screamed the master sergeant, who was wearing the badge of Range Control.

Sheepishly, SFC Dougherty said, "We were expending excess ammo, Sergeant."

The master sergeant's already florid and sunburned face turned a brilliantshade of purple as he stood in stunned astonishment. "Well Jesus Christ, we heard you guys going at it from the far side of the base! We thought there was some kind of god-damned invasion occurring!" He continued to rant at SFC Dougherty for a good long while. Then he bawled out our Lieutenant - threatening to fill out an "incident report" - something that would end an officer's career.

But you know, I didn't get in any trouble. And it sure was fun.


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