Another back in the day…

WSF’s comment about Air Force security reminded me of an incident that happened to us back in the day (well, actually TWO incidents)…

Incident One- Back in the 70s we land at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana and they put us on the transient line in front of base ops.  No problem, right???

So we offload the pax and baggage into a crew van the USAF graciously provided.  We walk into base ops to take a leak, get coffee and refile for the next leg of the trip. Still no problem, right???

We go to walk back out to our airplane that is 100 yards from base ops, and the Air Policemen stop us!  These are the SAME two that watched us walk in 30 minutes earlier!!!

The ensuing conversation are words to the effect of what got said…

We don’t have ‘ramp badges’, so we can’t go on the ramp!!!  Of course we go WTF???

Troop back into ops, “Hey your pissants out there won’t let us on the ramp to our airplane. Now what?”

Ops puke, “Oh I’ll call a crew van for you.”

30 minutes later, a van finally shows up.  We pile in, and off we go, only to be stopped AGAIN by the same two twits… Same issue, NO BADGE, NO RAMP.

Back to Ops. Me- “Okay, that didn’t work now what?

OP- “Oh only the command post can authorize a ramp badge.  You’ll need to go over there.”

Me- “The CP that is 2/3 of the way across base?”

OP- “Yep.”

Me- “Lemme borrow a phone.”  Dug in my wheel book for my cousin’s numbers, got one of them and he came down to meet me at Ops.  ‘Splained what was going on, got the eye-roll from him and he agreed to ‘escort’ us to the airplane…

Which lead to a rather interesting confrontation with the twits again, since we were now being escorted by the a full Colonel who also happened to be DO for 2nd Bomb Wing…

But he prevailed after a short radio chat with their security commander…

Gave him the nickel tour of the P-3 and we got the hell outta there, and a fervently hope those APs got their asses handed to them…

Incident 2-

198mumble… Lovely Keflavik, Iceland early spring (snowing like a bitch, with a couple of feet already on the ground)…

Pilot (Maintenance Officer O-5) is doing a walk around, the bird is stuffed back in what is known as the ‘throat’ to keep the Aeroflot ‘airline’ flights from ‘accidentally’ taxiing through our flight line.  Problem was, the ‘tail’ of the bird was over the USAF’s infamous Red Line (which happened to be buried under the snow). Now the pilot is walking around the tail and looking UP at the airplane, not looking at the ground, as soon as he crosses the Red Line, two Air Police tackle him and plant him face down in the snow.  Of course this pisses us off…

But they are determined they have a ‘violation’ and RULES MUST BE OBEYED…

So said pilot gets hauled off…

Fast forward 24 hours…

Senior USAF officer, frothing at the mouth is standing in the Navy Rear Admiral’s office (COMFAIRKEF), complaining about how there has been an ‘incursion’ in the hangar by unauthorized personnel and damage has been done to the ready fighters (F-4s that only flew on day/VFR flights it seemed).  When the RADM question how this guy ‘knew’ the Navy was at fault, the guy apparently slapped a zap (example HERE) on the RADM’s desk and stated they had been placed on both F-4s in multiple places including the windscreen!

Promising to get to the bottom of it, the RADM came down to the CO of the squadron, words were exchanged, all officers meeting was held, no ‘culprit’ was found.  Next day, CO has an all hands on the hangar deck.

Oh did I mention that the Maintenance Officer was WELL LIKED by the troops???

CO asked for the ‘perpetrator or perpetrators’ to come forward, finally one E-4 steps out of ranks and marches to the front.  He salutes the CO, and says words to the effect of I did it sir.  When asked why, he answered because the MO was a good guy and what the APs had done was bulls**t, that he’d seen the whole thing and the APs never even warned the MO…

Which caused a massive coughing spell throughout the hangar, and the CO damn near choking trying not to laugh.

The CO stepped away from the mic and quiet words were exchanged with the E-4, then the CO stepped back to the mic, and ‘punished’ the E-4 by slapping him on the wrist. He was then dismissed, and the formation was over.

CO then reported to the RADM that the miscreant had been duly punished…

And the APs had to double their guards and stand out in the snow for the rest of our deployment after their security officer was fired… 🙂


Another back in the day… — 18 Comments

  1. I’ve had some issues with the AP, though none as flamboyant as yours. In my experience they had very little to do so they made the most of what small authority that they had.

  2. LOL! Brings to mind a certain Sergeant Major who drove to Rhein Main to pick up his replacement. Airman on duty at the gate called him, “Army Trooper”. Large mistake!

  3. I’m sitting here smiling. Security and protocol are one thing; treachery and bureaucracy are another.

  4. LL- Screwing with the Navy seems to be one of their favorite pastimes… sigh

    WSF- Ouch!!! 🙂

    Jess- Ain’t it though! 😀

  5. Never had any run-ins with APs (SPs & Marines were another flavor, apparently). These stories make me glad I didn’t.

  6. I live near Whiteman AFB, they seam to be getting a better quality of APs with the all volunteer service. When it was a missile base things could go bad in hurry around the command posts and missile silos.

  7. I had friends who went AP and were good guys, But there were some…
    Marine PMs never seemed to have a sense of humor, though.

  8. Don’t get me started with the APs. The only thing more dangerous than an 18 year old with a gun is an 18 year old with a gun and a badge. But it was always easy to see who thought they were SOMEBODY and who was trying to just do their job. The SOMEBODY would have his beanie smeared down to his ear stiff with starch trying to look like John Wayne. The other guy would have his beret on.
    While at Kadena, everytime we landed somewhere else, we had to clear customs and that was always a PITA. On one trip, a beanie wearer squeezed my toothpaste out of the tube. Another trip, I had just shut down and watched in horror as a boy genius takes his drug dog(some small breed) and lifts it up and puts it in the exhaust stacks within a minute of shutdown. Things were out of control.
    Seems the squadron was deployed to Clark AB PI and while there one of the black boxes from the nose of the aircraft disappeared. (The box was a couple of feet long, 18 inches across and about 6 inches tall, weighed a ton). There’s a lot of hubbub about it while we were deployed, but it took a special twist when we got home. I happened to be flying in the Wing Commander’s flight. He was a one star. When the 6 flights of Eagles came down initial (that thought alone brings a tear), pitched out and landed, we were not sent to the squadron areas to park, rather we shut down on the MAC ramp, a very large open area. When we did, we were told to assemble at the front of the area where a large group of APs were gathered. They then proceeded to pat each of us down saying they were looking for the lost equipment. I happened to be standing to the right of the wing commander and they patted me down first. Right arm, right side, right leg,left leg, left side, left arm, on to the next, right arm all the way to the shoulder where the star was. The airman said “Sir, you don’t have to be here!” General Hall, to his everlasting credit, responded, “Oh Airman, I really believe I do need to be here. And would you do me a favor and extend my most cordial invitation to your Commander and NCOIC to visit with me tomorrow at 0700?”
    Things got a lot less silly after that.

  9. There’s a story I like to tell about myself: an incident at Rhein Main AB, involving a loaded handgun and the Air Terminal security staff. Not for public dissemination, though.

  10. I remember back in the late 80’s, I was on a motorcycle trip cross-country. At some Air Force base in North Dakota as I was riding down the highway, I saw some B-1s sitting out on a flight line. I stopped to take some pictures through the fence only to have a Blazer with two APs roll up on the other side of the fence. They told me that photography was prohibited and ordered me to surrender my camera so that they could seize the film. I pointed out that they were inside the fence and I was outside and informed them that my bike could do 160mph. I then took their picture and rode off. I always wondered if they ever found anyone dumb enough to actually pass a camera or film through the fence.

  11. Keflavik was my first deployment with VP-56 in 1976. We were warned about the red line (an actual red line painted on the tarmac that divided the AF and Navy areas) Doing post flight after an 8 hour patrol, our the radar operator was coming down the ladder with all his gear (helmet bag, survival vest, nav bag full of sooper sekrit radar guy manuals and stuff) and as soon as his feet touched the ice, a 40+ knot gust of wind knocked him off his feet and sent him skidding down the ramp right over the red line. The AP’s got him and hauled him away. We didn’t see him for about 3 hours. Seems that their watch commander wanted to know all about the classified material the radar op was carrying. But, since the watch commander wasn’t cleared, our guy wasn’t talking. It apparently took some phone calls from much higher up the food chain to convince the AP watch commander to let him go. Yup, fun times.

  12. Hey Old NFO;

    I remember something that happened to us while we were at Stuttgart Army Airfield and a Soviet plane(Mid-Late 80’s) had to make an emergency landing for some reason and was on the civilian side of the airport, and we being GI’s
    Immediately pulled out our personal camera’s and proceeded to take pictures. Well our S-2 came along and said that we couldn’t take was a security breech. We looked at each other like he was nuts…I am sure that the Germans were getting better pics than we were being closer to it. But we put the camera’s up until he left…then guess what;) We also took pictures of a plane jane 707 that was just painted blue, no markings…and were told that it is related to the U.S. Government. But I digress.
    Whenever I hear of the U.S. Navy in Iceland I can’t help but think of the book “Red Storm Rising” by Tom Clancy.

  13. I shouldn’t get started about Air Police. I had a 3 plus years long battle with those dumb bastards! It started with me taking a girlfriend (Major’s daughter) from one of those dumb bunny’s. I was harassed at every opportunity, Of course I dropped out of sight for 1-3 months @ a time (TDY’s) which screwed up their simple minds. I had to pull CQ (charge of quarters) the last Sat. night before my long planned separation from the Air Force. This was punishment for a chicken$hit speeding ticket. My roommate & I had to postpone our blowout going away party until the next night. As I drove out the Base Gate & turned in my base vehicle pass one of the AP’s on duty said, “you won’t make it on the outside, you’ll be back! I said, “kiss my…..well, you know !!!

  14. Proves the old adage…Don’t irritate the folks with access to your stuff!

  15. Your story reminded me of an experience I had some years ago. This was at an Army post but I think you’ll find the humor in it anyway.

    I was a contractor employee installing a new radio console system. At this post, the route to walk to the communications dept went through a secured area, so I had to be escorted each day to and from. So, I would walk up to the security desk, announce who I was (each day for about 3 months), and request that they call back to communications and request someone come up to escort me back. They would tell me that they would do so when they could, tell me to take a seat, and go back to reading their newspapers. Eventually, they would call back, and within a minute or so someone would be up front to escort me back (this was before cel phones were so ubiquitous).

    Well, getting toward the end of the project, I was in the process of setting up a few of the console positions, and a middle aged male in uniform came up to ask me how the consoles worked. I noticed that he did have quite a few medals on his uniform, but I didn’t notice his rank. Not that it mattered to me, as he was just as much my customer, as any one else in uniform there. So, I took about 10 minutes and ran him through the operation of the console. He was pretty bright for someone not in communications, and caught on quick. When I was done explaining the console, he thanked me and wandered off. a few hours later he reappeared with quite an entourage in tow, and played expert showing off the new consoles. I just chuckled to myself. It’s no skin off my nose if he wants to play expert, have fun.

    So, a few days later, when I arrive for the morning, I check in at security. I notice that they’re being more formal and bull headed than normal, and I chalk it up to them just being in a bad mood. I go to sit down and wait for them to decide to make the phone call, I look around the room, and see my ‘console expert’ standing off to the side in camos. I waited until he was done with his conversation with others near him, I walked over, shook his hand and commented that I saw the demonstration he put on the other day, and did anyone ask him anything that he couldn’t answer? He said no, and thanked me for the explanation I had given him. I told him he was welcome, and that if he needed anything else from me, to just ask. As I turned away from him, I noticed my two security desk guys sitting there with their eyes as big as the old Eisenhower silver dollars.

    The penny dropped, and I finally realized who I had been talking to. He was a full bird Colonel, and the post commander! My two surly security people just watched the guy that they had been giving shit to for three months walk up to their bosses bosses bosses boss, shake his hand, and
    start shooting the shit!

    Needless to say, I didn’t have too much trouble with them my remaining time there.

  16. LL- That we do 🙂

    Rev- yep!

    EdJ- Yep, as bad or worse than a SAC base…

    EdB- True…

    Murph- You’re lucky they didn’t shoot your ass… sigh

    WN- Want to hear that in a couple of weeks… LOL

    Juvat- Don’t get me started on Kadena (spit)…

    Ray- You’ve been there too! Ysa at the USO!!! 🙂

    Bob- Good one, and yeah, I ‘lived’ that stuff… sigh

    Woody- LOL, good one!!!

    Six- Yep!!!

    Merlin- THAT is a great one! 🙂 THanks!

  17. When I was at Bright Star one fine year in ’95 I worked for the admiral and he didn’t believe in General Order #1 either. As our guys were brought in for severe discipline by the MPs that guard the gate at Cairo West they would turn the suffering souls over to us and report that they smelled of alcohol when they came back from liberty.
    In the morning the Admiral would lightly slap them on the wrist and send them on their way.