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He’s a Maniac, Maniac On The Floor

August 27th, 2008 by Raven Prometheus

So there I was, in Iraq, getting ready to go on a mission. Now, before a unit moves out, they usually meet up about an hour early for briefings which cover the route of march, order of movement, recent operations in the area, evacuation and contact procedures, etc. But the briefings never get started on time, so usually we’re just there waiting around in the vehicles. Usually, this is the perfect time to go over your own gear and make sure your truck is definitely good to go.

This night was unusual because the route commander was especially late.

So, there we were, just sitting around with nothing to do.

It should also be understood by those non-military types that certain job specialties, and especially their holders, are considered… weird. PSYOP, if you haven’t guessed from Skippy’s stories, is one of those. Another one that comes to most people’s minds is EOD, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, my job. Basically, we VOLUNTEER to work with explosives. While we are trained for so much more, the Army uses us as a bomb squad.

We’re the guys that get angry, count to ten, calmly ask what kind of car you drive and if it’s parked outside, and then usually get whatever we want. Basically, people think (know?) we’re crazy. We’re the type of people that it’s bad to have bored…. Maybe Skippy could edit here to corroborate this idea. (And now a word from our sponsor?)

corroboration from skippy- You may have heard the phrase “Idle hands are the Devils tools”? Have you ever seen a trencher? It’s basically a bulldozer but instead of a plow, it has a giant chainsaw. If idle hands are the Devil’s tools, then idle EOD is the Devil’s trencher. Being piloted by ferret. On methamphetamines.

Anyways, there we were, inside our very large  JERRV truck, with nothing to do. It was chow time, and our staging area was right across from the mess hall, within full view of the line going in. Our Team Leader, a Staff Sergeant, or an E-6 for those of military but not Army savvy, was outside, his back against the truck and this is important, talking to a friend of his.

I look over at my co-Team Member, who was driving that night while I was in the back in the gunner’s seat. “Brandon,” I say “what would you give me to do an Irish jig on the roof of this truck?”

Yes, we use first names when “in the truck”, basically when no one of higher rank can hear to get mad; calling people by their rank and last name falls under customs and courtesy, and some people of higher rank get really bent up about that kind of thing.

Brandon then reaches into his pocket and pulls out a dollar. “I found a dollar,” he said, holding it out.

“Done and done,” I say, snatching his dollar. I climbed out of the gunner hatch, and begin doing am Irish jig. I wasn’t very far into it, when I saw a shadowy figure separate from the chow line and make a bee line for us.

Now, for anyone that has never met one, Sergeants Major, or any military E-9 (as high as an enlisted man can get) have a certain kind walk when they are perturbed. Only THEY can do this, as I’ve never seen ANY impression come even close. Maybe they teach it in the Sergeant Major’s academy. Again, I might need corroboration from our military writers (another word from our fabulous sponsors!)

Corroboration from skippy- You know how in the Jaws movies, there’s the part where the cello music starts picking up and the shark is now moving directly towards the helpless and delicious marine biologist/nocturnal skinny-dipper/comedically chubby kid? You can see the fin, and it’s cutting through the water, as the monster opens it’s mouth to bite the victim in half. That’s how a ticked off senior NCO walks. Except with feet, instead of awesome John Williams music.

This particular shadow was doing just that walk, so I knew he was a Sergeant Major, and annoyed. What else to do? It was obvious that he was annoyed with ME, and hiding it would have only made it worse.

So, I REALLY got into my dance, adding twirls and little hops and everything. He storms up to my TL, who you may remember, had his back against the truck, and therefore to me.  He then does the whole Army point with all four fingers of one and says, “Sergeant, before I speak, put your cover  on and stand at parade rest! You,” here he turned to my TL’s friend and pointed at her. “Put your Gawt-Damn eye pro on!”

For the non-military readers “cover” is Army for “hat”.  “Eye pro” is Army for “Eye Protection”.  And “Parade Rest” is Army for “Brace yourself, here it comes!”

He turned back to the TL. “Now, tell me why in the f*** this soldier” he pointed up at me, now also at parade rest and rather fortunately with a cover and eye pro on, “is DANCING on top of this gawt-damn truck?!”

His voice was starting to crescendo. It had probably been a good while since he had issued a really GOOD ass-chewing. “Why does he not have three points of contact ?! Why….”

His voice trailed off as he noticed that both myself and the TL had very obvious EOD letters on our left arms, proclaiming to the world not to trust us with their daughters, but their lives were safe with us. It was like he had switched a button in his head that turned him from screaming maniac to Uncle Bob instantly.

“Shee-it, Son,” he put a hand on the TL’s shoulder. “You boys got that stressful job. You pick up that shee-it from the roadsides and take it apart, don’t’cha?  Shee-it, I know y’all are just blowin’ off some steam, just don’t let it go too far. Make sure he don’t fall.” then he turned and sauntered back to the chow line.

I was back inside the truck in record time. The TL took a minute to climb in. When he did, he just sighed. It took him a minute to speak. Finally, he said, “At least life is interesting.” And that’s the last I ever heard about the subject.

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35 Responses to “He’s a Maniac, Maniac On The Floor”

  1. SKD Says:

    That had me in stitches. If you are ever in Jax, FL let me know so I can buy you a drink.


  2. Nutcase Says:

    LMAO When I was in the Army I was Commo and higher ups tended to leave us alone or their phones “mysteriously” went on the fritz (or their internet did he he he)

    Captcha 8th circle..where all soldiers are when deployed!


  3. Dees Says:

    I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time!
    All the EOD I knew were either crazier then a ring tailed cat or made clanking noises when they walked (most generally, both). Good to hear somethings never change!


  4. Jim C Says:

    In the Air Force its was egress, the guys who worked on ejection seats. One of my friends favorite responses was “make sure you check your chair for wires tomorrow”.


  5. paula Says:

    oooooh, I KNOW that E9 walk: daddy was a Master Chief, the Navy equivilent of your Sgt. Major, and every so often he’d kinda forget the difference between his kids and his seamen….

    Plus he was a submarine chief of the boat, which is a whole ‘nother kind of crazy. Master Chief Torpedoman Dad didn’t need to yell, at us OR his guys: he could stop a riot in its tracks with just one look!


    echoesofwonder reply on August 28th, 2008 12:26 am:

    aren’t his kids his semen?


    Angelus reply on August 29th, 2008 8:32 pm:

    Oh, gods, I am sorry. My dad was a Master Chief in the SEaLs, and I know EXACTLY what you had to go through.

    Different kind of crazy, but just as “special.”


    paula reply on August 30th, 2008 6:30 am:

    I loved my dad, but I’ve gotta admit it wasn’t all bad to have him out to sea so much!

  6. Jon Says:

    Yerp… we had the same thing in the Navy with nuclear engineers. We were a bunch of idiots that could get away with things like this because the non-nuclear officers knew we probably knew more than they did, and the nuke officers just didn’t care.

    It was sort of the same for the chiefs as well.


    Stickfodder reply on August 27th, 2008 10:14 pm:



    Signalist reply on August 19th, 2011 2:55 am:

    “We nukes are crazy, better not tick us or the ship’s reactor might go ‘Chernobyl #4′”?


    David B reply on March 5th, 2014 2:32 pm:

    That pretty much sums up my uncle!


  7. MarkHB Says:

    My ribs hurt :D


    I know it’s not quite the same thing, but it warmed my cockles one time horsing around in the pub with some chums. Guy at the bar asked what the hell was wrong with us, and the barman just shook his head and sighed:



  8. Kat Says:

    There seem to be a few MOS’ that have that immunity. Finance, commo, medics (in an infantry unit). I suppose there are some jobs you just don’t f* with.


    barry reply on August 28th, 2008 10:14 pm:

    medics in general


    paula reply on August 29th, 2008 12:44 am:

    even more: Navy hospital corpmen assigned to Marine units…. I’ve known a few, and lemme tell ya, they don’t take shit off ANYBODY.


    Skye reply on August 29th, 2008 9:12 pm:

    My father was one of those corpmen. It’s not the corpmen that don’t take shit, it’s the Marines they’re assigned too that are what you want to worry about. Funny story with that actually.

    My father and ‘his’ marines were in an officer’s club (I think) one night and a fight broke out. At the time my dad weighed 100lbs soaking wet…so one of ‘his’ marines picked him up, plopped him on the bar and placed a beer in each hand. then two more marines stood in front of dad as ‘bodyguards’ so he could watch the fight and not get hurt!

    rob reply on August 29th, 2008 7:55 pm:

    bieng an MI guy in an infantry unit had similar benefits. it takes a few weeks for the “joes” to understand this however. a few raids on sand dunes later, and they know how painful harassment can be for both parties….


    SrA Roesler reply on September 1st, 2008 8:34 am:

    Finance can take a flying leap. never do their jobs right, but aslways seem to think you owe them…


  9. Tokat Says:

    Fisters are just crazy and the original problem kids (MOS 13F)

    just twisted – but than “I am one”



    PFC Wilson reply on September 8th, 2008 3:28 am:

    Freakin fisters.

    13P have a similar amount of power, but only over the 13M. No one wants a 3 hour dwell time


  10. jon spencer Says:

    A long time ago I saw a picture of just the hands in a circle of a group of senior EOD.
    None of them were able to count to ten.
    The caps, when they pop early usually take at least a digit or two.
    They were the smart and lucky ones.
    The unlucky or not so swift, SGLI.


  11. Sgt. Spooky Says:

    I’ve been in my battalion’s (now squadron) Class V section (ammo section for the uninitated) for going on 6 years now, and one thing I can tell you is that we can get away with absolutely anything. Theres a very good reason for this. Its called “We’ve got the bullets”


  12. Dizzy Dad Says:

    Now the whole world can know where I got all my WHITE hair—-I think EOD techs are born not made and my son has just gone out of his way to prove it. I was a Navy Brat and served in Nam so I know that acting like you’ve got a right to be doing what you’re doing is one way to keep out of trouble but only the truly crazy don’t even have to do that.


  13. Mark Says:

    I can verify the Medics getting away with a lot. I was one back in the late 80’s. When out in a bar one saturday night, a local took a disliking me because his lady friend wanted to talk to me and not him. Several of the other patrons of the establishment were cannon cockers who I had seen earlier in the week at the infirmary, one of whom need a shot for a delicate condition that if it had wound up in his records it would have gotten him an article 15, so I kinda fixed him up without the normal paperwork, and just put him down as having an ear infection, being the reason for the anti-biotics. So when the local punched me and was getting ready to smear me along the bar 3 cannon cockers grabbed him while the 4th sat me back down made sure I was ok and bought me a new pitcher of beer. I didn’t see the other 3 for a few minutes then they came back in and I had to do a quick fix on bruised and abraded knuckles. :o)


    Kat reply on August 30th, 2008 8:24 pm:

    Before I married my husband he was living in barracks. I signed in one afternoon for a visit, didn’t sign out until the next morning. Somehow no one said anything. We checked the record book later, I had been signed out at exactly 2300, no one wants to be the guy who kicks out the medic’s girlfriend, because later on that same medic will probably be putting you back together.

    captcha-Forest disaster, Gump’s middle name


  14. Jolly Sapper Says:

    HAHAH… awsome!

    captcha- where income ? Where exactly!


  15. CCO Says:

    It used to be that the iron triangle was supply, finance, and cooks at least for us state side types. I heard that finance went to civilian contractors in the ’90s and that the Mobile Kitchen trailers (fresh cookies in the field!) were going away. Perhaps too many cooks were loosing their eyebrows since they used gasoline for fuel.

    I can seen where those on the pointy edge of the spear would look after the medics real good.

    Captcha: “For Fernie” {Opening Christmas Day?}

    {Hey, if we’re all putting our Captcha in, will the web robots learn how to read it if we keep translating it?}


  16. Jinn Says:

    I wonder if Chaplains get the same immunity.


  17. Dave in NC Says:

    I think we need a Chaplain’s “Skippy List”. I think it would be very interesting.


  18. Forex Trading System Says:

    Interesting website. I sure will come back later..


  19. Forex Trading System Says:



  20. Andrew Says:

    We commies (Communications Techs for those who are curious) get away with a lot in the field. Mainly because we are the ones who “ignore” the fact that your 15 minute phone/teleconference home took an hour and a half; as well as those personal emails from work that seem to fall off the logs. It’s always nice when you are sitting at the beer tent, and you’ve already consumed nine of your daily limit of three beers.


  21. Signalist Says:

    heh, in Finnish army there’s one particular group that one doesn’t fuck with, those in transportation platoon(s) since

    1) they are all thieves, taking everything that’s not nailed on something (then again, the engineer drivers DO have crowbars and shit on hand at all times…) including unattended equipment, and especially desserts and little souvenirs such as field caps and woollen pullovers (you know, the olive drab pullover the British army uses?)


    2) they’ll share their spoils with their buddies.


    Signalist reply on August 19th, 2011 3:30 am:

    and by “share their spoils with their buddies” I mean the desserts and such, no-one is stupid enough to steal a pullover and then tell others about it.


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