The Inverted Midas Touch

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I must apologize for the dearth of tales, I’m blaming it on spring.  Work is crazier by the day.  This is the first time this week that I’ve seen 2000 hours, every other night I was asleep in the chair by then.  We’re expecting 12 to 18 inches of snow tomorrow and Saturday so I’ll get some fresh stuff up.

Y’all know the kid with the inverted midas-touch.  When King Midas touched something it turned to gold, when this kid touches something it turns to shit.  He always has the best of intentions and is doing his utmost to do the right thing but it always turns to shit.

This poor bastard came to my platoon in the 325th AIR in ’97 or so, innocent looking kid fresh off the farm.  We got him in-processed and within a week he was jumping “Large Package Week” with us.  Once a month The Division executed Large Package Week, aircraft showed up from all over the place and each Brigade would execute an airborne operation.  We were going to seize an airfield on Sicily Drop Zone and Private Midas was making his “first jump in Division.”  We buddied PVT Midas up with a couple squared away Specialists they scooped him up on the drop zone and set out for the assembly area.  They were among the last jumpers to make it to the assembly area, first they check in with me because Accountability.  Then I send them to their respective squads.  PVT Midas checks in, I congratulate him into the realm of the Paratrooper and send him to his Squad Leader.  I watched through my PVS 14 as PVT Midas reported to his Sergeant.  I could see the hand signals and understood like I was reading their lips.  “Go over there and pull security, you’re sector is 10 to 2.”

PVT Midas remembered his Drill Sergeant telling him that when you pull security you find “cover and concealment.”  In Ft Benning GA “cover and concealment means a tree.  On Sicily Drop Zone it means a sand dune, that distinction completely eluded PVT Midas and he took off at combat speed across Mother Sicily heading for cover and concealment.  The nearest treeline was about 1200 meters.  His Sergeant caught him right at the treeline and explained a good many things on their walk back to the assembly area.

A few months later and now PVT Midas is a driver in a different squad.  We’re practicing “occupy a firing position” ‘cuz we’re an 81mm mortar platoon.  Driver Midas pulls into the woodline during one occupation and drives into an ancient WWII era fighting position.  They were moving right along when the front wheels dropped in but the sudden stop was pretty hard on everyone in the vehicle.  Midas’ new Squad Leader didn’t deal with it well.  It could have happened to anyone but it didn’t.  It happened to Private Midas.

I was PVT Midas’ Platoon Sergeant for nearly three years, it was a steadily increasing spiral straight down.  I never saw another human who tried so hard but had such a tough time.  Everything went to shit.  The end came as a result of several piss-poor decisions on his part and the Army cut sling-load on his ass.  It was like Murphy wrote his laws from Private Midas’ shoulder while dressed in a shroud carrying a scythe.  Murphy is a dick.



About the Author:

I joined the Army in 1988, served in the 25th IL (L) , 24th ID, The Infantry Training Brigade, The 82nd Airborne Division, Ft Polk and again The 82nd Division until I retired in 2008. I was a mortar maggot and retired with the rank of Master Sergeant.
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