Hanger Flying by Jim Masencup

I wouldn’t admit to being part of this story even if I had been. I won’t mention names as the people involved promised to each other never to tell another soul.

Some things we try to forget and don’t. Some things we hope we will never forget and do. And then there is a whole lot that lies in between that remains in varying degrees. I can't remember when the fraging started but I can’t forget it happened. I still don’t sleep very sound and it was difficult to break the habit of sleeping with a .38 on my chest.

The first couple of times we were fraged we thought we were under a mortar attack. SOP for a mortar attack was to get every bird in the air as fast as possible. Most nights only the flair ship crew was on standby. Everyone else was left to their own vices and devices.

Well, one night when the fraging started, thinking it was a mortar attack two pilots who had retired after a night of vice in the O Club grabbed their flight suits from their lockers, jumped into their boots and ran down the hill. The first one to the aircraft started the run up while the second one strapped in when he got there. When the second pilot was strapped in he took over and headed for the perimeter while the first pilot strapped in. As they were going over the wire, with the towers streaming out tracers and popping flares the first, synching up his harness yelled he had been hit. To the question “Where?” from the second pilot the first one screamed “In the Balls!”

The only thing the second pilot could think to do was get to the 67th EVAC as quick as possible. He instructed his wounded buddy to put his hands on the greenhouse and press down real hard in the seat to stem the bleeding and called Qui Nhon inbound. The harder the wounded one pushed the more he screamed in pain. Fortunately the flight only took fifteen minutes.

At the 67th the medial crew was waiting on the pad. As they removed the wounded pilot from his seat the screaming stopped and his pain went away. He wasn’t shot! The coat hanger, which had held his flight suit in his locker, was around his hips and had stuck him in the balls when he strapped in!

Even though no one was supposed to know about this, except the two involved someone got into the sore ones locker and hung red “Remove Me” ribbons on all his coat hangers.

And I swore I would never tell! Ha, who could resist!

Copyright © 2001 by Jim Masencup, All Rights Reserved