No shit there I was, because that is what all good army stories begin with.
So there I was, Camp Shelby MS. Pre-Mob OIF-IV. Soldiers of my unit were on “lock-down”, meaning they could go nowhere. After three and a half months of training the soldiers were given a two-day pass. Many had family make the 16 hour drive or three hour flight to come visit their soldiers.
This was no different for the unit armorer, we’ll call him young SPC Wesley Green. His brand new wife came down to visit, and they rented a hotel room to go and do the things that young married peoples do.
When he showed up at the orderly room to sign out, the First Sergeant was in a corner scratching his back with a wire coat hanger. “Specialist Green,” he intoned while still scratching, “It would behoove you to give us some contact information for your room, in the event of some sort of Armorer related emergency over the next few days. Am I clear?”
He was, and the Specialist ran off with his pass, eager to see his wife.
Now Young SPC Wesley Green was a conscientious soldier, and wanted to ensure that his First Sergeant could get a hold of him if he needed to. So, as soon as he got to the hotel room, he called back to the company orderly room and asked for “Top”. Top Toven put down the wire coat hanger that he was scratching his back with, and the conversation went as follows:
YSWG (Young SPC Wesley Green): Hey Top, I made it to the hotel, if you’re re..ady to wr-wr-wr..ite down the info, I….I’ll give it to you.
Top Toven: Glad to hear it, hope the hotel is nice, go ahead with that info.
YSWG: It it it…. The Best Western, on Bufford P.P.P.ike, the numb..er is, is…. Oh God, Where’s that number.
Top Toven: (in a very low and exasperated tone): It’s probably on the phone Wes.
YSWG: Oh that’s a good, ohhhhhh so gooood, idea, the number is 812*******.
Top Toven: Wes are you getting a blowjob, while talking to me?!?!
YSWG: ………. (sheepishly) Yes Top.
Top Toven: (screaming) Why you little Son of a…. I’m gonna kill you when you get back, I will PT you to death! *Slams down the phone!*
On the day that the troops returned from their pass, I was standing there watching. Top Toven was standing there as well, with that “Top look” on his face. I’ve seen 40 year-old men run from this look. This is the same guy that created the “fourth Army answer”. There are three generally accepted Army answers: “Yes”, “No”, and “I don’t know at this time, but I will find out and report back to you”. Top Toven created the fourth answer that only First Sergeants can use: “I don’t know, but I have a mother-fucking Frag Grenade, now get the fuck out of my orderly room, before I pull this fucking pin!”
Strolling up from the bus stop is Young Specialist Wesley Green, his head down, like a dog that knows it’s gonna get whipped. First Sergeant Toven, 6’4″, black belt in Tae Kwon Do, with his “Top Look”, now turned into a “Top Glare” was still waiting. As Young Specialist Wesley Green approached Top, he quickly produced a fine wooden, souvenir backscratcher, and said “Backscratcher Top!”
They say that First Sergeant Toven’s heart grew three sizes that day in Whoville, as all he did was snatch the backscratcher from Young SPC Wesley Green’s paws, clicked his heels in an about face, and marched off saying “I’ll take it!”
Attention to detail saved the day!