Letter to the editor: Discretion is the better part of valor in the US military | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Discretion is the better part of valor in the US military

Stuart "Boot" Gordon

Like all teenagers, we fighter pilots hated authority.

Joe Crooks (Portland, Oregon), Doug Hayward (Salt Lake City) and I were in Monterey, California, when we decided to return to our base. I sauntered up to three new Army inductees and said, “Hey, you guys know when the bus to Fort Ord arrives?” They all stood at attention, saluted and said, “We don’t know, sir.”

I asked them why their hands went up to their hats. They explained they were saluting because I was an officer.

I told them I was not an officer; I was a fighter pilot: “See them wings? How about having a beer with us?”

“We can’t drink with you,” they said.

“That’s an order!” I shouted.

“Yes, sir,” they responded.

I looked behind them and all their buddies were rubbing one forefinger against another (naughty, naughty). I ordered them all to the bar with us.

We taught them the Army, Air Force and some cadet songs and were having a great ol’ time when someone said the bus for Fort Ord and our combat replacement depot had arrived. So we boarded the bus.

The next morning, the paddlefoot major in charge of our repple depple wakes us up, puts us in formation and chews us out. (We all jeered and laughed because he was staying stateside, and we were headed overseas to die in combat.)

Why was the major mad? Because the two-star general who commanded Fort Ord had called him, saying, “Keep your fighter pilots out of town. They’re ruining our discipline.”

Three fighter pilots, whom those inductees would have followed to hell and back, were ruining the U.S. Army infantry’s discipline?

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