It's 1700. The long afternoon was over. The guys working nights had been dropped off. The sun was no longer directly overhead and the breeze off the bay was picking up. Liberty call, time to hit the ville.
The bus that brought nights down took us back up the mountain to the barracks. Long, oversized, Quonset huts with windows added the full length of the sides. No interior walls, no air conditioning. It wasn't too bad, the trees gave some shade and the breeze blew through the buildings at night.
Dump the uniform, grab your kit and hit the shower. The showers were outside, a framework of valves and metal pipes drilled with series of holes, designed for a squad of Marines to shower simultaneously, no walls, no roof. A couple minutes and you were back getting dressed.
"Who's headed to town? Now? Going to chow first? No? Let's catch the next jeepney, we'll eat in town."
Six or seven guys ready and waiting when the next base jeepney rolls up. Pile in and head down the mountain. Another stop at the BOQ and three of our officers cram in with us. Now we are headed for the gate. The rest of the way down out of Cubi Pt. and along the water headed into the main part of Subic Bay and then out to the parking lot at the gate. We won't be spending any time with the officers, they will go to their haunts and we to ours, but sharing a jeepney is commonplace enough.
We're all dressed in shorts, flip-flops(station ditos) and t-shirts, mostly. Clean, relatively neat. Except the Major.
The Major is dressed to kill. A dirty, really dirty like he'd been wrestling in the dust, white t-shirt with a big Superman logo on it and a tear on one shoulder. Red, white and blue striped bermuda shorts, pulled up a little too high and cinched with a web belt. Knee socks. Ankle high tennis shoes. And to top off the ensemble, a rainbow colored umbrella hat.
Impressive, really. A statement. Of something.
We pile out of the jeepney and walk along the cattle chutes to the gate. One by one we show our military I.D. to the Marine at the gate and then pass on toward the bridge. The guard stops the Major and says, "You're not going out in town dressed like that, Marine."
We all stop and turn to watch. The Major reaches in his pocket and fishes out his I.D. He holds it up at eye level in front of the Marine and waits. There is a subtle change in the guard's posture, not that he was slouching before, but a small adjustment toward the position of attention.
He draws up a crisp salute and says, "Have a nice night, Sir."
Out over the bridge we went.
Friday, June 5, 2015
Making The Gate TINSIWT
I have a picture of the Major in this story taken in all his finery. I couldn't find it in my files and suspect it hasn't been scanned yet.