A Story By SgtMac
Why should I miss CCT? From the very first day all they wanted me
to do was quit! I report to Combat Control School and my first encounter
with an instructor has me doing hundreds of push-ups and living in the "Leaning
Rest". Things just went down hill from there. Now they run my butt off, making
me fall out and do more push ups, every time I heave my insides up. There
was always an instructor there letting me know what a disgrace I am and how
he would be happy to assist me in finding desk job. When he'd get tired of
yelling at me I could always count on more push-ups. After numerous weeks
of punishment I finally earn the right to pick out a railroad tie. I'm told
this railroad tie is my buddy and I get to haul him around with me everywhere.
Oh boy, my buddy gets to go with me jump out of an airplane with me and they
call it training. Needless to say, my buddy was bigger than I was and somehow
he was always able to throw me out of the airplane. Thanks buddy! Once the
instructors figured out I wasn't going to quit and I'd done enough push-ups
they graduated me and said I earned the right to be a Combat Controller.
I was finally push-up qualified!
My first duty as a Combat Controller was to participate in exercise
"Solid Shield." No problem, I was push-up qualified! They put me in an airplane
with a bunch of Army guys and told me to jump. My parachute didn't work,
but I had two. You'd think I'd break something on landing, but I was in for
another surprise. The swamp below didn't have any solid surfaces and I was
just sucked in up to my waist. Some Army guys helped pull me out and asked
if I needed a medic. I automatically fell to the ground to accomplish some
push-ups. Opps, it was all swamp and I was stuck in it again. Trying to keep
my head above the muck to breathe, I told the Army guys I was fine. They
realized I was push-up qualified and left me to drown.
I certainly was happy to finally find my NCOIC, but he just chewed
my butt out for being so slow and told me to go hide in the swamp. Once it
got dark, it was time to move out and find another swamp. They told me that
Army Rangers would be in the swamp with listening devices and their job was
to capture us. Hours into the night, the only thing that found me were the
mosquitoes, leaches, and brambles. I thought I was dying, so I fell down
a few times and splashed around making a lot of noise hoping to get captured.
Damned Army guys didn't help at all. Daylight came and we were still looking
for that other swamp. Hours later we requested a helicopter come find us,
but they only had a Med-Evac available. Asked if we had injuries, the boss
man looked around at our beaten eaten up bloody bodies and told them to launch
immediately. It took them hours to find us and we had to be hoisted up. I'll
always remember the look of horror on the loadmasters face as he pulled me
into the helicopter. He apologized for dragging me through a few brambles,
but little did he know, those were tears of happiness finding their way down
my swollen bloodied face. After a few days of recuperation and ridding my
body of lice, I was ready to go back to work.
The commander called me into his office and told me what a good job
I did and now I could be trusted to go and work drop zones. I sat out there
in the freezing rain and high winds for a day or two before I saw an airplane.
They flew over and tossed a bundle into the woods and it was my job to find
it. I spent hours searching and I'm sure I would have found it, but the boss
made me come back when it got dark. The next day the commander called me
back to his office and told me how disappointed he was. It was my fault that
the bundle was lost and how I had cost the Air Force a bunch of money. I
fell to the floor and did some push-up as I was taught at Combat Control
School. I was forgiven and sent back to the drop zone.
I pushed myself to find more bundles and become a good Combat Controller.
Then the guys told me I was spending too much time out in the woods looking
for bundles and had earned the right to "guess-ta-mate." I earned my 5-level
and became one of the best guess-ta-mater's ever. I learned you needed to
guess-ta-mate wrong on occasions to keep from filing out extra paperwork.
Sometimes the airplane crews would even buy you a six pack for wrong
guess-ta-mation's. The commander told me what a good job I was doing and
I got to spend more time on the drop zone. That was fine with me, I had plenty
of time to practice my push-up's.
I got so good at push-up's, they made me a Combat Control School
Instructor. I was one of the best instructors ever! Any time I saw a student
I made him do push-ups and volunteered to help him find another job. I yelled
and screamed at the students relentlessly and when I got tired I left them
in the "leaning rest". I made a lot of students quit and they said I was
a good instructor. Then they put some trailers behind the school and some
special Combat Controllers moved in. They wore civilian clothes, had long
hair, and rode dirt bikes. Hey, I had a Harley, so I moved in with these
Life was great! I was put in charge of the dirt bikes, because I
had a Harley. I got to wear civilian clothes, grow my hair long, and wear
a beeper. The women were a dime a dozen and I didn't have to do push-up's.
I got to travel around the world and act like someone I wasn't. It was great
having the support of general officers at my beckoning. I got to work with
some really neat guys and blow up a lot of stuff. They gave me all kinds
of weapons and special training. I never realized there were so many ways
to punish a body without doing push-ups.
A few of my buddies were killed during our special training, but
I was always lucky. They called me "Malfunction Mac" and with seven of them,
I was well trained in cut-a-ways. I had a few times when I was sure I would
die, but they said it was good character building. I ended up with a lot
of character as most of you do. I certainly won't forget when they tested
the character I had achieved.
The boss man called me to his office and told me to go pack my bags.
My training immediately took over and I fell to the floor knocking out push-up's.
I begged for forgiveness and promised to do a better job, but he told me
to get the hell out. When I left the office, I saw all the guys were packing
their bags. I asked what the hell is going on and I was just told to pack
my bags. I couldn't believe the boss was going to fire us all! Next thing
I know, I'm thrown on an airplane and hauled off to some underground bunker,
who knows where? They tell me not to ask any questions and to go sight my
weapons in. Hey, my weapons are always sighted in, what's going on?
I was told I was asking too many questions, to just go find the Ranger
Commander and stick with him. I found the guy with the shortest hair and
asked him what was going on. He replied; You must be my CCT, can you do
push-up's? I immediately fell to the ground and started knocking them out.
He said I'd do, gave me some grenades and told me to follow him. We load
up on an airplane and are off again. Next thing I know, the aircraft commander
comes over the speaker and says a bunch of guys are getting the hell shot
out of themselves and you're going to parachute in and assist .
A Ranger threw me a parachute and told me to put it on. I asked where
the reserve was and he told me there weren't any, but it didn't matter because
we wouldn't be high enough to use it. I explained to him that I was "Malfunction
Mac" and needed one. He gave me a few more grenades and told me to suck it
up. Our nighttime assault turned into a daytime firing range and we were
the targets. As I stumbled out the bouncing airplane, bullets were zinging
all around me. I wished my parachute had malfunctioned so I could get to
the ground faster. As I lay on the ground, bullets started thumping around
me and I realized I was still alive. I jumped in this damned ditch full of
water and my training took over. My training from day one got me through
the next couple of days and have I have a lot of you to thank for
Years later I felt like the cat with nine life's, eight of them gone.
It was time to move on and I took a job with the Inspector Generals Office.
I was going to be able to pass on some of the valuable lessons of life I
had experienced. I had great expectations of sharing my knowledge and helping
the Combat Control Teams. Wrong! I was back to day one and grading aircrews.
Okay, so it was pacing bundles and they wouldn't let me use my great experience
in "guess-ta-mating." I had to find all the bundles and there was always
a lot of paperwork. After all these years, I was right back where I started.
The rest is history.
My story is just but one of many. So many of you retired/prior CCT
guys are just biting at the bit to get involved with Afghanistan. It's certainly
not because you would enjoy it, but it's to assist your fellow CCTer's. However,
you must take solace in the fact that you led the way for these guys to follow
and CCT has evolved through the years because of your actions. They're all
over there doing what they've trained for and have volunteered to do. I know
each and every one of you would trade places with any of the guys, but you've
severed your time and must let others carry the torch.
John "Chappy" Chapman is one of the others and it's sad to know he
gave the supreme sacrifice, KIA in Afghanistan to "Leave No Man Behind".
No words can express how he will be missed, but these words written by Coke
Braxton come closest;
There are men who have a determination of spirit that transcends
the aspirations of most. These men answer a call, which comes deep from within
the essence of their own convictions.
They share a kindred amongst themselves and though never spoken,
its' strength exceeds the power of any outside ideals forced upon
The sacrifices made from their ranks are great, and each loss
falls hard among those who remain. Yet they continue, knowing each time they
step into the sun, the rays that penetrate their souls are the voices of
their comrades leading them on to the next adventure.
I have never met a greater group of people. Our lives and many others
have depended on each other's abilities on a daily basis. We've all been
through so much together, that an unbreakable bond is formed and we call
each other brother. It doesn't matter whether you have met your fellow brother
or not; he will be there in your time of need. I don't have to explain this
further, for you have shown this bond time after time. You are a very special
group and I'm very lucky to have so many brothers. I Love You