Posts Tagged ‘JFK airport’


usmc flagan excerpt from Tales of a Sinner…

I was becoming too comfortable with this lifestyle. My friends and family endured me because deep down there had to be a “good-guy” in there somewhere. I had seen and been part of more than life’s fair share of death and near death.

Karma was winning. I had to make a change. I had to save myself.  There was a place that I heard of where men like me could go to, a place that would never judge or discriminate against those who sought its embrace. I’m sure that the local authorities would endorse my application into this organization. I was at a dead-end in my life and I felt it was going nowhere fast.

So I did what all good blue blooded males do at this point in their lives. I signed up to do three years in the Marine Corp. I wanted to do something totally different, something I had never done before. This was certainly different.

After all the paperwork and legal shit was done. I had gotten into a fight and got arrested and the judge wanted to send me away. Luckily the Gunny who recruited me, bailed me out of that jail in Long Island by telling the judge I was entering the military. I was told to report to the USMC recruiting station at 181st and Broadway on the 3rd of September.

The night or two or three before the 3rd of September, I was out partying with as many good friends I could possibly find. We drank and smoked everything we could possibly smoke and drink in three days time. I was so hammered when the morning came for me to report to the recruiting station. I couldn’t walk on my own so like good buddies they were and not wanting me to miss my appointment. They literally carried me and dropped me off at the front door of the recruiter’s office. I actually awoke inside the doorstep of the recruiter’s office.

It was early morning and there were people stepping over my drunken ass in the doorway. Moms and dads hugging and kissing their sons and daughters goodbye and everyone wishing everyone good luck.

All this mushy shit please, “Give me a break”, (and a beer and a cigarette). When all the crying and good wishing was finally over, the Gunnery Sergeant who recruited all of us said, “I want everyone upstairs in my office for a quick meeting before the bus that’ll take you to the military processing center gets here.”

We go to his office and he proceeds to tell us that our group of 22 recruits from NY City is the second largest group of New Yorkers to go into boot camp at one time this year. In his infinite wisdom he decides that one of us should be the “group leader” and handle all the medical and personnel files for the 22 of us.

For some ungodly reason he hands “ME” this large briefcase type luggage looking thing with all the personnel and medical records for all us recruits. He declared that “I” should be this responsible person. He must have regretted that decision once he handed me that records. Because then I choose as my assistant record keeper, this crazy looking dude with a Mohawk haircut.

So here we go, getting onto a bus that will take us to the Fort Hamilton military processing center in Brooklyn. All 22 of us, 18 men and 4 women including me and Mohawk guy, “The Keepers of the Records.”

It takes us about an hour or so on the bus to get to Ft Hamilton and then another 10 hours of physicals, stress tests and assorted other useless examinations. From the base we take another bus shuttle to JFK airport. We check in at the ticket line. The airline proceeds to tell us that we have a good 7 or 8 hours to wait until our flight takes off.

“7 hours? What the hell do you do at JFK International airport for 7 hours?”

Dig this; because I was the “leader”, I felt it was my duty to take care of us in the best way I knew how. I rounded everyone up and said, “Now some of us have money in our pockets and some of us don’t have any money at all. And since we’re going to boot camp for three months none of us will need any money.”

I collect every dime from the whole group we actually ended up with a few hundred dollars. Then me and Mohawk Hair Dude take a yellow cab into downtown Queens and buy 25 cases of beer, ice, smokes and munchies. We then take another cab back to JFK, gather our fellow recruits and we all march across to the other side of the airport till we get to what was then known as the Flying Tigers airplane cargo hanger (now it’s the FedEx terminal).

We then spent the next 6 hours drinking, and getting to know each other. What a fucking blast. Most of these kids never had a drink in their life, it was awesome.

By the time we went back to the main terminal and the gate to board our plane we were so freaking drunk that the 4 girls with us were actually placed into wheelchairs. As for the rest of us, we were farting, burping and making all sorts of other humorous bodily noises. We finally get seated and the plane takes off, and of course, we continue to buy drinks and food.  We get thru the majority of the flight without any major problems, other than vomiting and a few fights with some of the other passengers. We safely land in South Carolina.  Of course, we have another hour or so to wait for a second and much shorter flight to a smaller local airport closer to our final destination Parris Island South Carolina. So of course we slam back a few more beers and buy some more booze. Everyone is doing their very best to smoke all their cigarettes and do any other illegal substances that they had on them before we get to the base.

Finally we boarded the last flight and everyone appeared to be mentally preparing themselves for what lies ahead. The flight takes less than 30 minutes and while we are descending into the airport, the pilot makes an announcement over the intercom. He is telling everyone that they have some special passengers on board. The pilot politely asks the other passengers if they would allow us future US Marines to exit first. We will be exiting thru a separate door in the rear of the aircraft. Even though we are all shitfaced drunk we’re thinking, “That’s right we’re Marines, make way you bunch of ordinary civilians.”

That attitude does not last long though. The plane lands and taxis to the gate. As we walk toward the rear of the plane to this little exit door that is now open. I can hear screaming and yelling, more barking than yelling. It wasn’t until I got to the exit door myself that I saw what the all the yelling and barking was all about.

Standing at the bottom of the steps, was quite possibly the biggest, meanest looking person I have ever seen in my entire life, (including in the movies). He was massive. And he was pissed off for some reason. He was screaming, “Get down here you bunch of low life @%$%, and you *)&%#$. He was yelling at the top of his lungs, which I am pretty sure were massive as well. As the “drunks”, (that’s us), made our way to the bottom of the stairs this massive dude was literally tossing people to one side of the room. I was able to run past him with the Mohawk hair guy into the bathroom to take a piss and snort the last of his cocaine.

All of the sudden the frigging bathroom door comes flying open. The door practically comes off its hinges. And here comes SGT Rock Massive still screaming and yelling as he comes right at us. He sees that we’re doing drugs and takes a swing at me about head high. I duck and he hits the metal partition between the urinals we are standing at. The freaking thing breaks off the wall. I’m laughing and pissing on myself as I run out of the tiny now “door-less” bathroom and into the madness that is the room filled with all my other drunk recruit buddies.

I get to one side of the room to join everyone else and it took a moment before I realized that there were just as many SGT Rock Massive pissed off dudes out here as there were of us drunks. There had to be a dozen of these crazy bug-eyed screaming giant drill instructors.

Everyone is scrambling to find a corner to run to or stand in, just get away from these psychos. The Smokey hat wearing screaming, barking bellowing, yelling, vein neck bulging Marines are running behind people. Screaming at them, ordering us to stand in these little yellow footprints painted on the floor.

They finally round everyone up and into the appropriate areas, it seems like things are starting to settle down a bit.  “But, as you can figure out by now, there is much more abuse to come, especially my way, because after all this is my story.”

I’m standing straight as I can like everyone else. On my left is this little room with a small window, like one of those windows they have in the police station interrogation rooms. (Not that I know of such rooms personally, or do I?) Through the small window, I can see SGT Rock Massive and this other huge guy in a hat. The two of them are waiving their hands, hats, and everything else all about like madmen.

They’re also holding this black plastic garbage bag.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention something. Remember that briefcase luggage looking thing that the Gunny gave us with the records in it? Well while we were at the airport drinking all that beer. I used that briefcase thing as a cooler for some of the beer.  So naturally I used a garbage bag to hold the records. I was now guessing that all the records in that garbage bag got all shuffled and mixed up. The two giant mean screaming Sgt Massive come out of the little room and with one look. Everything and everyone stopped, no more screaming and yelling, just silence. I swear that second lasted an hour, but it didn’t. All of the sudden SGT Rock Massive starts screaming,

“WHO THE FUCK IS O’BRIEN, WHO THE FUCK IS O’BRIEN?”

Well, everyone looks at me and starts laughing, me included, but not for long. Before I knew it, I had one SGT Massive Mean Screaming Hat Shaking Marine standing in front of me screaming.  Another SGT Massive Mean Screaming Hat Shaking Marine at the right side of my face.  I had one other SGT Massive Mean Screaming Hat Shaking Marine at the left side of my face. And I had yet another SGT Massive Mean Screaming Hat Shaking Marine at the back of my neck, and YES there was actually one more SGT Massive Mean Screaming Hat Shaking Marine standing on top of a chair yelling at the top of my head, at the top of my head!

They are so close to me that every now and then one of them would knock his own hat off when its brim would hit me. You would think they could yell without their hats, right? Apparently not, they need the hats to yell, I’m not kidding. I don’t ever remember seeing a drill instructor yell without his hat. Well because of this still infamous act, I became the most taunted recruit throughout my entire experience at boot camp. Everyone knew about O’Brien and the medical records fiasco. Every time there was a punishment handed out, our entire platoon had to scream, “Thank you private O’Brien.”

I survived boot camp and the rest of the shit that karma delivered to me. The moments and opportunities in my life that I thought had meaning and merit didn’t have either. The things in my life that I squandered and wasted would have been gladly received by someone else in this world.  I had so much given to me and I gave it all away.

Know what?

I wouldn’t change a single minute of that or any other day in my life up till this point.