In the first segment of this piece, we talked about the initial trip down to Ft. Rucker and we introduced our readers to retired CW4 Wade Chapple, one of the bigger characters I came across in my time in the military. Wade and I served in 1st Bn. 7th SFG(A) together, went to the Warrant Course in the same class and got assigned to 3/7 down in Panama after graduation.

We were roommates at Ft. Gullick (Espinar), and to jump ahead a bit, when we arrived in Panama the housing office wouldn’t let us move in until work that was being done was finished. Well, we just really needed a place to dump our stuff and deploy anyway, and it turned into a fiasco but Wade convinced the housing office to let us move in and they were free to finish work. We lived in what was known as “the pit”, with all DOD school teachers as our neighbors.

We were just down the hill from the pool and our work schedule prevented us from using it during normal hours. The MPs were always trying to catch anyone in there at night, and Wade wanted to get his Scuba legs going so every other night, we’d sneak into the pool when we were around and swim laps and hide under the surface when the MPs would drive by. Of course, if they’d caught us, the explaining to the Bn CDR why the two new officers were trespassing would have been a good one. Never a dull moment. But I digress, and it is back to Ft. Rucker. The cadre members of the WOCS had given the SF guys the $hit detail of cleaning their offices one night. We had some of the kids helping out and in reality, it wasn’t hard.

But between Chapple and Brian Bewley we made it a UW exercise in sabotage. Bewley got a bunch of those old flash cubes that would go on top of those old film cameras. I know you younger people are like “what the heck are those?” He started wiring all of the TACs desks with the flash cubes and batteries with one of our other SF guys, a tall guy from Bad Tolz whose name, unfortunately, escapes me after all these years. Must be CTE/TBI.

How NOT to Attend Warrant Officer Candidate School (WOCS) Pt. 2

However, as soon as they would open their drawer of their desk, poof! A big flash would greet them. No harm, just a startling reminder that the freedom fighters of Pineland were in their midst. As they were doing this, Chapple took an Exacto knife and started cutting around a large wooden hand that each of the TACs had outside their door. The usual procedure was for the candidates to enter the office and pound three times on the hand before entering their respective TAC’s office for the weekly counseling. Most students didn’t really pound it but would open palm it to make a loud slapping sound which would suffice. Chapple wanted to make an entrance for our next morning counseling, and he neatly cut the drywall all around the hand. Everything was set. We finished the cleaning and headed off to bed.

The TACs normally arrived about 15 minutes before the students were woken up at 4:15 a.m. for early morning PT session. By four we were all awake and dressed and looking out the window at the TACs building. They all arrived at about the same time and entered the office. Making small talk in the hallway, no one had entered their offices yet.

Finally, they sat down at their desks. Our biggest nemesis, our own “Rat-Face” a CID warrant, opened his top drawer ….POOF! He jumped back and yelled WTF!. The others came quickly. He explained what happened and opening the drawer, they found the flash cube. The others began laughing (very surprising), they encouraged him to open another drawer….POOF!. So now they were all involved going from office to office opening desk drawers laughing like kids at a park. Pressed against the glass across the street, that wasn’t the reaction we were expecting. We filed out for PT, the TACs came out and said nothing and we PT’d like any other normal day. While we were running, as one of the flank road guards, I stopped at an intersection until the class passed. One of the TACs, young Aviation CW3 stopped beside me jogging in place. As we were running to catch back up with the front, he said, “Hey,…. nice job last night.”