Editor’s Note: Geo’s memoir, Brothers of the Cloth, a true account of special mission unit soldiers, is now available for pre-order. You can purchase it here

No shite, there I was. That is how this sort of story typically unfolds. There’s no moral to it; no special message. Perhaps the message is that when it rains, it pours. I was in British Guyana in my jungle lair… sweating. I hadn’t stopped sweating since I had come in-country over a week ago. What time again was it that we were supposed to stop sweating? We had gone there for the rivers and the jungle: a superb training environment. Guyana was a splendid place for combat riverine training — and a superb place to sweat profusely.

I had the good fortune to trade sitting and sweating for a chance to work with our two-troop on some Delta Queen operations with Chinook helicopters and inflatable rubber boats. Mind you, I hated those operations because they were so damned risky, but at that point, I would have rather sucked a dick than sit and dehydrate slowly through my millions of tiny pores.

The morning iterations went well enough, with just one injury to one of the helicopter load crews, who got his leg jammed in the ramp as he was raising it. Poor mug; he did it to himself and had only himself to blame. I, at times — especially that morning — wondered if the load crews didn’t fancy themselves just a tad more important to our Delta Queens than they really were.

What I mean to say is there were two of them jammed back there with seven of us pipe-hitters and a motorboat big enough to carry, well… seven pipe hitters… But for the love of Christ, I couldn’t figure out what at least one of them even did besides getting in the Goddamned way and ratchet up the stress on an already highly-stress-ratcheted situation.

During a Delta Queen operation, the Chinook literally sinks its tail into the water allowing the F-470 CRRC to drive in and out under motor power.

I got that the first guy had an actual function, that being to crimp his leg in the cock-a-doody ramp as he raised it that morning, but the second guy? Let’s face it, they were there because it was their helicopter, and if they didn’t get to play then they were inclined to take their helo and go home.

No Tier One pipe-hitter, I’m sure, could ever push that lever that makes the ramp go up and down — it had to be a specially-trained load crew… and then it had to be two of them — two gettin’-in-the-way mother phuqrz.

The two loads sitting on the ramp of their Chinook; in this photo, they are not in anyone’s way.

Oh, the bitter pills to swallow; they really weren’t all that bitter, just so many of them. There was a break between the morning and afternoon Delta Queen operations. I found nothing better to do than to tool around the mighty river in my rubber boat with a couple of Air Force Pararescuemen (PJ) brothers and my coxswain brother.