Guido seemed a fitting nickname for a brother whose full name was Gaetano Cutino. I made him the butt of a number of situations that inspired cartoons through my years with Delta, his obvious ties to the Italian Mafia notwithstanding. Though he had no such ties, in reality, it was the de facto duty of men on an assault team to bond through the breaking of balls and the demonstrative propensity to behave like a stereotypical ass:
“Hey, Guido… is my radio too loud for you?”
“No, man… not at all.”
“Great, because you know… I wouldn’t want you to “take out a hit on me”, have me “rubbed out”, “clipped”, “swimming with the fishes” and all…”
“Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha… yeah, yeah, sure, I get it, man, I get it… because I’m Italian therefore I have ties with the mob and only eat-a-the spicey-a meat-a-balla!”
Guido was far from a bungling sort, but his sterling sense of humor and ease of nature just made so many more of the things he did seem more humorous than they actually were. He just seemed to fit well into cartoon frames depicting grossly exaggerated daily events. I found that he quickly became the most featured character in my cartoons of all the men in the squadron.
Immediate material presented itself as Guido attempted to drive a particularly large cargo lory through the “obstacle course” that was the main entrance to our compound. Huge planters were staggered along the approach to the main gate to force vehicles to zig-zag thereby reducing their speed. It was challenging enough for an ordinary vehicle and taxed Guido’s driving spirit to the very edge.
Guido sadly thumped one of the planters displacing it a few feet and rendering a modicum of “cosmetic alteration” to the truck. The episode was laughed off by the guards at the gate who let Guido pass… oh, but that simply did not settle with the squadron brothers who immediately escalated the story into a total loss of drive train resulting in the complete displacement of the rear axle group.
Moving in chronological order I’m put squarely in mind of a down-range training event on our compound. There a modest herd of goats (yes goats) had been procured for training to add a level of realism and a higher degree of difficulty for the participants. Goats played roles as hostages, medical patients, prisoners, and victims. Measures of elements that typically had been just notional were now represented by living things that needed care, convincing, and containment.
“I hate working with those damned things,” lamented Guido on the brief drive downrange, “They stink, they’re loud, they’re stubborn and hard to control!”
“Aaaand then that’s why we use ‘em. If this job were easy monkeys could do it,” our Team Leader (TL) preached.
“I’d much rather use monkeys — that would be cool!” Guido confided.
Pulling up to the range house where the goats were herded, our TL picked on Guido to go in and fetch us out a couple of “litter patients” for the pending exercise. Grumbling gloved Guido begrudgingly headed toward and disappeared into the building.
What followed was a greatly protracted cacophony of thumps, bangs, crashes… wails, cries, curses… laments, oaths, and promises. The fragile walls of the shed shook and bowed outward as they were either head-butted by goats or gave way to the stumbling body of Guido. With nothing more productive to do momentarily, the rest of us howled with laughter at the audio spectacle, trying to imagine the scene within the shed as we yelled instructions for Guido to get his act together and hurry up.
Guido emerged with the same expression of smug bewilderment of Moses descending from Mt. Sinai. With a goat by the horns on either side of him, he had them lifted up off of their front legs as he walked them along on just their hind legs. We four applauded warmly as our TL belted out comedic one-liners. He wasn’t funny; he never was and we routinely reminded him of that, but he made himself laugh and that’s all that mattered — to him!
The cartoon that followed Guido’s famous crashing through the roof of an abandoned target building was actually no exaggeration. The second-story floor of the condemned building gave way under him and he crashed through the floor up to his waist. The assaulters on the floor below him were horrified to witnesses a sudden pair of kicking legs descend upon them.
Probably funnier than the incident itself was the insistence from Guido, against how the medical incident report read, that the injury sustained was to his thigh, rather than his buttock. His claim that his was an upper-thigh affliction only brought on more affirmation that Guido had wounded his ass in combat.
It is with the highest of confidence that I lay claim to my all-time favorite of the Guido series of cartoon frames. It comes from an intense urban training event we conducted in the city of Pittsburg, PA. In that a night’s assault venues would take us over the expanse of the Ohio River, we further encumbered our assault kit with floatation devices mandatory by regulation for flight safety.
Guido and I sat together on the pod outside of an MH-6 Little Bird helicopter for the flight. Along the route, our bird made a sudden dive toward the river. Near incredulous, Guido and I began to tear at our buckles in an attempt to jettison as much equipment as we could before we hit the water. As the helo leveled out again we both fought to get everything secure again before we touched down on the target.
After that night Guido and I contemplated why the helo had made the sudden drop toward the water and cringed at the thought that we might have actually succeeded in jettisoning our assault equipment into the river, only to recover and land on target wearing just our flight suits. That sparked the idea for the frame below that got the good-natured Guido in stitches.
Some brothers shied from cartoon frames fearing humiliation. It was my effort to convince them that in truth they should only ever WANT to be immortalized for all time in one of my cartoon frames in the cartoon book that I kept while in Delta, forever part of Delta lore. Humiliation is a far cry from poking good-natured fun at oneself and one’s brothers.
Guido died on an assault several years after that episode in Pittsburg. Delta Operator Kyle Lamb once said: “If it’s not written down, then it didn’t happen.” Here now I remain with my cherished thoughts and memories of my brother Guido. Now he is immortalized here in these few frames that I produced with my own pen and from my own hand. If ever a body should crave to doubt that this man lived this folly… it most certainly is true, for it is written!
By Almighty God and with honor,
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