Wednesday, September 19, 2007

SgtMaj, Swim Qual, & Hand to Hand

Back in the pool for yet another swim qual, and I was motivated. I was stoked because this was finally the time when I would have the opportunity to go for the WSQ level of the swim qual. It made for a long day, but I was happy to see if I could do it. The way it worked was that all the guys got in the pool for the lowest level of qualification, the minimum required for the Marines. After everyone passed that level, anyone who wanted to try out for the next higher level stayed in the pool, and so on and so on. The higher level you got, the longer you could go before having to qualify again. I didn't mind whether or not I had to get in the pool in two, three, four, or never again number of years, it was always a good time. I suppose that I should say 'usually a good time'...

We were moving right along through the various portions and levels when it came time to demonstrate the drowning victim rescue. The way that this event worked was that one Marine would play the drowning victim (repeated requests for the local civilian (female) lifeguard squad were mysteriously ignored). The other Marine would demonstrate the proper way to rescue a combative and/or drowning victim. Being Marines, this is where it got interesting...

When it came time to pair up, I got left out like the fat kid on the kickball field. As I would turn one way, that Marine had a swim buddy. Turning the other direction, that guy just got snagged. Eventually I decided to wait to see who else got shafted. The other shaftee turned out to be Sergeant Major Chuckles (Hey, it's my story, I'll call him what I want). The good SgtMaj did not resemble his name.

It might have been just my experience, but it did seem to me that for the most part, whenever anybody with less than 20 years in the Corps got around a Sergeant Major, they started grumbling like you were trying to steal their oxygen or something.

ME: Guess it's you and me, Sergeant Major!

SGT MAJ: Shaddup, thing.

ME: Aye aye, Sergeant Major!

SGT MAJ: *Scowl*


We got the order from the instructors, and all of the 'victims' got into the water. They told us not to give the Marines any breaks, or we would have to tread water for twice as long as needed for the test. With our hands out of the water. Holding bricks. They reminded us that if we made it too hard, well, we were up next to play the part of rescuer.

Chuckles slowly swam towards me. By this time of the test, he was swimming a lot slower than the rest of the Marines, due to the fact that he had enlisted back when the Roman Legions were still kicking ass and taking names. He swam on pure hate and disgust. I thought he was going to drown before he even got to me. Poor guy (this would be my one-time error of underestimating a senior staff NCO).

I, playing my part, reached over to grab ahold of him in a somewhat not-so-aggresive manner. He glared at me and growled, "what in the Hell do you think you are trying to do, give me a hug? You see any tits on me, son? I will make you hate life if you try that shit with me again! Grab me like you got a pair!" Hilarity ensued.

Roger. It's on like donkey kong, ya old fart.

I proceed to do my very best at literally sitting on his head, in the middle of the pool's deep end.

Do you remember the L.I.N.E. training? It's the fighting system wherein every technique, whether its a defense against a punch or a kick, a take down, or whatever can be summed up in grab, twist, pull, sweep, & stomp.

I knew that I was doing a pretty good job at introducing him to the pool floor, by his muttered curses floating up on the bubbles rising to the surface.

What I didn't know (until then) is that the beauty of the L.I.N.E. system as practiced by the Corps (and especially crafty old Sergeants Major) is that it can be done underwater. Yup, in the middle of that pool. Against a combative, motivated, kinda pissed, in shape, younger Marine. It works especially well when applied to the younger Marine's giggle berries. Takes all the fight out of him, chop chop.

I crawled out of the pool, laid on the deck, and prayed for death. Right until the instructors sounded off that it was now my turn to play the part of rescuer.



Snigglefrits said...

I am once again reminded why I'm so glad I don't have "giggle berries". I'd probably fall out of my chair laughing right now, but I'm too busy having strange sympathy pains.

Murphy- you are living proof that "what doesn't kill you adds character"!


Ssssteve said...

That was amazing! great stuff!

SpeakerTweaker said...

My family is asleep. I'm patiently waiting for the laundry machines to stop so I can switch them. I was holding it all together up until "giggle berries."

I'm hoping my 4-year-old remains in La La Land. If not, I hold you responsible;)


Anonymous said...

I havent laughed out loud in awhile, but "giggle berries" absolutely did it for me!