Thursday, January 21, 2021

Whiz Quiz Washout (Part 3 of 4 Parts) blog post #482

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At the end of Part 2, Technical Sergeant Bley hung around even though he was off duty. He obviously wanted to talk privately to his second, Sergeant Bemis.




“Don’t you think it’s time to ease up on Corso?” I asked. “He’s handled everything you can throw at him like a trooper.”

“Shit no, Tom!” he snapped. “He’s a queer, and I want him out. And I’m gonna break him yet.”

I rose and stood in front of him. “No, you’re not. You’re going to treat him like everyone else. He gets his dose of bullshit, but no more. There’s not a shred of evidence the kid’s homo. He’s as much man as any of them.”

“How come you standing up—”

“I stand up for all my men. That’s my job! Yours, too, Staff Sergeant Biers. We’re not here to vent our private prejudices on these trainees. We’re here to make airmen out of them.”

“Shit, Tech Sergeant. To my mind, getting a hard-on for your Pecker-Checker is evidence.”

“Nothing like that happened, Wayne,” I sat back down and tried to ease things a little.

“You calling me a liar?” His redheaded dander was rising.

“No. I’m saying you misunderstood the medic. I talked to the man, myself.”

“Well, fuck, Tom. Never thought you’d take a pickle’s side against me!”

“I’m not taking anyone’s side. I’m just saying treat him like anyone else. Do you hear me?”

“I hear you. Loud and clear!”

It seemed to me he’d said that before.


Discord among TIs is not a desirable thing, but it happens often enough. We were both well trained, and I doubt any of the flight noticed the clouded air between us. They had all they could handle struggling with the PC final assessment, meeting Air Force personal hygiene standards, keeping spotless quarters, a second clothing issue, learning the military codes and courtesies, and drilling—endless drill pad marches, road marches, cross-country marches, parade marches. Handling all that and trying to satisfy two of the meanest motherfuckers they’d ever run into, their Training Instructors, gave us cover for our strained relationship.

I kept a sharp eye on Wayne, and while he tended to pick Corso for the shit details, the real harassment reverted to an acceptable level. After another week, I relaxed my vigil. I shouldn’t have.

At the beginning of WOT 4, I arrived for the morning set-up to find pandemonium in the dorm. I walked halfway through the bay before anyone noticed me and called the flight to attention. Then trainees in various stages of dress scampered for their bunks, abandoning the two men scrambling up off the floor. Corso and Flight Leader Windle had obviously been fighting. Wayne’s pet hadn’t been doing well. Windle nursed a split lip; Corso didn’t have a mark on him. I noticed that the two had been mixing it up down near Corso’s bunk. That meant Windle had approached Corso. When Biers breezed in, prepared to let out a bellow, I took charge, holding up a hand to stop Windle from returning to his bunk.

“Stay right there, Trainee Windle!” I disdained his title of Flight Leader to raise the man’s anxiety level. “I’m not going to ask what’s going on because I don’t want to know.” I raised my voice and acted like a TI, “I won’t have personal fights in my flight! Is that clear?”

“Sir, yes sir!” they shouted in unison.

“If you haven’t learned you’re a team by now,” I bellowed, “then I doubt you’ll ever learn it! Nobody…nobody…is going to disrupt this flight. I’ll ship the two of you out before that happens. Do you understand me?”

“Sir, yes sir!”

“I can’t hear you, ladies!”

“Sir…yes…sir!” They would have made a good chorus; they sang on key.

“Nothing will go into the record…this time! But if there’s ever a next time, you’re dead meat. Now drop and give me twenty and then go get yourselves cleaned up!”

I caught the look in Wayne’s eyes and understood what had happened. He’d allowed his personal prejudice to poison his judgment. He’d probably told Windle about his suspicions and suggested that the Flight Leader take care of the problem. Corso hadn’t been willing to take shit from another trainee like he did from his TI. Good for Corso.

Wayne pouted for the rest of the day.


The chickens came home to roost near the end of the week. Wayne Biers had set things in motion by calling my attention to Justin Corso that first week, and now, damn his eyes, I was getting sucked in deeper and deeper. I found myself thinking about the good-looking trainee more than was normal. Fuckups usually dominated my time, but Corso was no screw-up. He was one of the best in the flight.

The Supply Officer issues and controls supplies, but most TIs store a few items for use during field training. I scrounged up a detail on Saturday and commandeered a truck for the two-mile drive to the Quonset hut housing the equipment. I’m not certain whether I brought Corso along by accident or design. Whatever the reason, he was one of the five trainees I tapped for the detail.




Are things coming to a head? Looks to me like it.


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See you next Thursday.




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