In my short career in the Army I had a nasty habit of going against the grain. I was a rebel where I could be always in small ways, but absolutely diligent to my job. It's kind of funny looking back how many people I managed to piss off or become notorious to. People knew me. People remembered me. What that says about you in a system where being "known" is not always a good thing, I couldn't tell you, but one thing is sure my reputation preceded me wherever I went.
I think it started in Basic. See at some point I got the bright idea that I could skip the hair cuts and save some cash if I shaved my head. Only I got caught before I'd even finished the top. What resulted was the most bizarre haircut ever. The middle of my head was shaved bare in a patch ant the rest was starting to get fuzzy. I had to wait a whole week for a hair cut. In that time my face became readily recognizable to the rest of Delta company 2/47 infantry. In a place where everybody looks the same, I became a huge sore thumb sticking out. I suppose it didn't help that I forgot to wash my hands at the gas chamber and started screaming in the Latrine about my dick being on fire.
But that was Basic. That insanity surely wouldn't have followed me. Oh boy, wrong again. See I had a buddy who came over from Benning by the name of Ward. Former Marine and all around goofball he introduced me to the riverwalk the proper way. With lots of alcohol. I wish I could say that I kept my head about me, or even that I remember most of the night, but I didn't and was forced to listen to (in detail) the sad story of my escapades. At one point I'd hit on a woman who identified herself as a Nurse going through OBC. Well I thought that was grand and asked her to show me what she knew, I might have suggested we do a proper exam on each other. She might've slapped me. It kind of got worse from there. At some point I was still thirsty and apparently out of money I decided it would be a good idea to take a drink from the riverwalk. Thankfully cooler heads prevailed, but not before I was about two inches from dunking my head in the foul smelling water there.
It got worse when I got to my first unit, I was there for half of a of a day when I had the dubious pleasure of getting orders to the sister battalion that just happened to be. . . out in the field. Oh. Joy. Well I waited on the steps of staff duty all day till about 2100 when I had to go back to the Repo depot, for the night with my battle buddy Alverio. The next morning we got up bright and early and got the further joy of moving a bed fron the third floor on one side of the quad to the second floor of a building perpendicular. It was not a light bed. By the time I actually got out to the field (after a quick class in how to put together the LBV) I was tired. There is no rest for the wicked though.
The next day I put on war paint for the first time since basic (and the last time not for Halloween) we had a MASCAL and I managed not to make an ass out of myself not knowing what the hell to do. I also managed to get on about three details, and lost in the cantonment area. Ah the days of being a private. That night we got "attacked" and my whole company was ordered to go into our little bunker. Guess what happened. My whole company was "killed" by OpFor. Well this Army thing is getting off to a great start.
I could keep talking about Hawaii, and the time during drivers training where I almost slid off the side of a gulch. Or I could talk about the time I got drunk and lost in Waikiki, and kept asking every passing person where my hotel room was. But really fast forward to Iraq. Again lots of stories here.
I want to focus on two stories that really got me my moniker. See after about 4 months I got switched over to Ambulance Platoon, and eventually I ended up with Charlie Battery 2-11 FA. Now this is 2004 so no Xbox 360, and lets face it I'd never seen an actual Xbox original until that point. During one of the down times there they asked if I wanted to play. Oh heck yeah I do! Well there was this map called rat race, which with enough players is one giant killtastic furball. I still hadn't figured out the layout, and forgot that the controller was set up for a left handed person so the triggers were reversed. so I kept lobbing grenades and then promptly run on top of them. This would kill not only myself but pretty much everyone else as well. I was laughing my head off the whole time.
At sometime some one says "damn Doc, you're crazy"
"That's me, the Mad Medic" I replied the name kinda stuck.
The second story, I have sadly already told in my post about Privates, but yes I really did ask Col. Miles about his "peg leg" and yes he really did show me, and yeah I had a habit of putting my foot in my mouth.
I could talk about the time I ran into a bunker nearly naked, or the time I had an AF LTC screaming at me to get under cover and I told him to hang on as I was enjoying my burger. Heck I could even talk about the time a Sergeant Major pulled me over for speeding, and the rather stupid situation, and how I can only tell how fast I was going by how fast the speedometer spun (See? It really it wasn't my fault!). There are so many stories, not only of my time in the Sandbox, but also in the hospital, and at Riley. I seemed to make it a career choice to piss off my chain of command. . . and give fodder to my battle buddies for hours of laughter.
I'm a Medic, I'm a little crazy, and thats part of who I am. I'm the Mad Medic. Like me, love me or hate me, you have to admit I'm one hell of a character.
Remember the imortal words of Jimmy Buffett (from Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes): “if we weren’t all crazy we would all go insane”.
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