Back in the Mess Hall the “Gunny”, which we found out stood for Master Gunnery Sergeant Major took time to tell us of his exploits and the exotic places he had served. By now I was able to pick out words and comprehend most of his stories thanks to Joe. For a soldier who was now overseeing the feeding of the troops Gunny had led a very active military life. He would tell us of the time he was extracted from a jungle location by a helicopter flying overhead with a hook and rope contraption dangling below. He and the others in the platoon had constructed a catching device so they would be snatched from the jungle as the helicopter made a low pass. I remember this tale vividly, especially as he would tell us it nearly every day, of course it was never boring, especially as it changed slightly with every version.
Whilst the yarns were spun I starred in disbelief but actually not hearing anything. I thought if I wore the ‘Coat of Invisibility’ I could sneak out without anyone knowing, however ‘Rambo’ Gunny would have smelt me leaving as I still stunk of burger juice.
As Gunny reeled off his exploits I struggled to come up with an equally hazardous mission I’d been on. My grey matter struggle to match such daring adventures and then it came to me. It was inspirationally and as the lads all stood in awe of Gunny my mouth opened and everyone fell silent, the anticipation hung in the air as they waited for an exploit that would match the Master Gunnery Sergeants Chronicles of War and heroism.
As they starred at me, my mouth became dry, butterflies swarmed round my stomach, the adrenaline pumped through my veins, the scene was set and my tale to match all tales started to flow from my mouth.
“Well it all happened in the Jungles of Guatemala, Central America, the morning air was crisp and the sounds of the jungle filtered through, a Chinook Helicopter touched down and the pilot made his way to Headquarters, our all round defence position scanned the jungle perimeter for any signs of movement, waiting for the enemy to rush our position. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a lone figure emerge from the jungle cover and made his way towards the waiting chopper. Rules of Engagement rushed through my mind; a whisper went up and down the lines, was this, the first line of attack. The individual approached the helicopter and took out a package which he placed on the rear aerofoil and casually disappeared back into the jungle. It was now I made my move; stealthily I manoeuvred myself to within range of the area where the man had entered the jungle cover at the same time keeping a clear line of fire on the suspect package. With the stealth of a snake we crawled our way closer to the helicopter, within four yards of the location all hell broke loose. The suspect re-emerged from the jungle catching sight of us, we charge towards him as he struggled to hide something in his trousers. Calling on all our training abilities we pounced on the suspect and managed to restrain his arms behind his back. ‘We were good’, the perpetrator was now incapacitated and no shots had been fired. Whilst one of our team kneeled on his back ensuring he couldn’t move another questioned him. We were professional British soldiers and the suspect had no choice but to ‘Sing like a Canary’.
It was then the silent crowd around me, listening with intent, simultaneously asking “So what happened next”. Just as I started to continue an Air Raid siren started to screech in the distance and the group dispersed shouting, “Gas, Gas, Gas”. By the time the raid had finished everyone had got back on with their work. Later that night in the billet, Joe, still fascinated by my ‘Gunny Style’ adventure asked how it all ended. A little reluctant to finish my story without a crowd I agreed to put him out of his misery. “You see, the man emerging from the jungle had actually placed his lunch box on the helicopter, gone into the jungle to relieve himself and the suspect object being hidden back into his trousers was actually, his manhood.