Sinai ’98: Multi-National Force Observers and Teddy the Time Bomb

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I was the Battalion Mortar Platoon Sergeant in the Red Falcons (1/325 AIR) when we went to Sinai, those were the days.  My platoon was attached to Alpha Company as a fourth platoon.  We executed a real world peacekeeping mission, executed amazing training and partied like the Infantry for six months.  It was nice being a platoon sergeant in a line company, much simpler than HHC.  Alpha Company’s First Sergeant was one of my heroes so that was a huge plus.

His nickname was Teddy the Time Bomb.  I saw him in action while I was inprocessing The Division in ’97.  I walked down to see a buddy of mine from The Trail.  We’d been Drill Sergeants in the same company.  As I stepped into the company area there was a formation being called to attention.The Time Bomb went off.

There had been a jump the night before, Alpha Company had a “jump refusal.”  That’s when some dumbass suddenly decides he’s not enough of a dumbass to exit an aircraft while in flight, while the aircraft is in flight.  Once the aircraft is in flight its too late to decide that jumping is a bad idea.  You should have douched with salt water and vinegar then sucked it up and drove on long before you boarded the aircraft.  Unfortunately we could no longer kick or throw them out the door, political correctness was becoming oppressive.  Rather than put a boot in this young private’s ass and allow him to retain his man card, the jumpmasters had to unhook him, screw everyone else over and hopefully make another pass at the drop zone so everyone else could exit.

In lieu of kicking his ass out the door First Sergeant Teddy went the f*ck off.  He called the company to attention and spouted some official sounding shit about removing a soldiers airborne status.  Basically shunning him from the tribe.  Teddy then ripped the maroon beret off jump refusal’s head, tore the wings off his chest and threw them on the ground.  Teddy pulled a can of lighter fluid from his cargo pocket, thoroughly drenched the beret and wings and lit them on fire.  He gave the command About, Face as the jump refusal cried like a six year old girl.  Then chased jump refusal out of the company area.  I spent three years in the Red Falcons, Alpha Company never had another jump refusal.  The IG did come to investigate.  Teddy told me the secret to the IG, “just tell ’em Oh, I didn’t know I couldn’t do that, what should I have done?”  They’d slap his wrist and tell him, “silly infantryman, don’t do that again.”  That shit worked until ’08, guaran-damn-teed.

My platoon had two Observation Posts, we kept 24 hour surveillance on Egyptian military activity on the Sinai Peninsula for 23 days.  Then we trained for 16 days, then spent the next five or six travelling the mid-east.  Cairo, the pyramids, Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, there were some pretty outstanding tours and trips available.  The MFO was comprised of several different forces from different countries, the Italian Navy, Fijians, Brits and Brit Expats and Hungarians.  I’m not sure how the Hungarians wound up there but they were cool.  Each nationality had their own bar on South Camp.  The American bar sucked but they would deliver liquor to your barracks as long as you ordered food.  Many cases of beer were bicycle delivered along with a single order of fries.

The Brits had a bar called “The Wild Geese” that was quite outstanding.  75 cent shots, dollar beers and brit company.  Those boys were some hard living fools.  I don’t remember if the Hungarian Club had a name but it had a drink.  We called it “The Black Death.”  It was thick and oily with a green cast to the film it left on the edge of the shot glass it was served in.  It poured like maple syrup.  It would tear you a new asshole.

Late one night Teddy and I were staggering back to the barracks when this unknown Second Lieutenant wandered past us on the sidewalk, Teddy saw the shiny gold bar and lit into the poor kid.  The LT didn’t know what to do so he just stood at eh position of attention while a seasoned master of foul language lit into his ass like there was no tomorrow.  About the time Teddy reached for the LT’s throat I slung him onto my shoulder and carried him, cursing commissioned officers the entire way, back to his room.

Working with First Sergeant Teddy and the rest of the team in A Company helped make me what I am and I’m damn glad for the help.


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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