In the Chest
Two newly minted Marine pilots discuss their upcoming mission.
Around the room, officers in ranks from second lieutenant to captain all sat in airline armchair seats. Most bitched about their wives and husbands. Some seemed to be right on the edge of sleep. Still others remained like eager Devil Dogs salivating over a steak, they awaited their orders for the upcoming mission. Second Lieutenant Kenan Lloyd grinned. He was about 5’9” and possessed oak colored skin.
“I said that the first thing that I’m going to do in the shop is kick the major right in the chest. With both feet. And I did it. All of this to establish dominance, of course.”
“Stop your silly nonsense, man,” Captain Dryden Fresno said with a grin. He was about 6’4” and the color of nutmeg.
“I’m serious. I squared up,” He motioned with his arms and legs outstretched, “I maintained perfect form and then I leapt into the air like I was floating on a cross.”
“Get the hell out of here, Ken’,” Fresno said with a laugh.
“Don’t believe me all you want to. But there’s a boot print from me on his Eagle, Globe, and Anchor right now.”
“Shut up,” Fresno said. “I don’t know, man. This meeting seems redundant. I mean who are we going up against? What are we even here for? We’ve got drones flying from Nevada. What the hell do they need us for?” he asked.
“What we’re here for? Didn’t you go to TBS? Aren’t you ready for this Captain Fresno?”
“I’m gung-ho don’t get me wrong, it’s just that technology has advanced so–”
"Do you need a kick in the chest?”
“Kenan, don’t be that guy.”
“Who’s ‘that guy’?”
“You come in with all this bluster and rage and then you don’t do anything.”
"Let me tell you something Dry’. I’ve been training for this moment ever since I was back on the block in Wilmington, Delaware. This room makes me feel charged, you know? You remember those T-6s? The Texan II’s? I told myself that if I can fly this floating tin lizzy, then anything is possible. Now, we’re poised to do actual combat missions. All of our training and knowledge and understanding has lead us to this point.”
“We could be back in college chasing skirts.”
“Yes, we could. But as bachelors with our bachelors who fly jets, they’ll be plenty of space and opportunity to find a wife after all of this is over.”
“I’m telling you, the drones will take over and they’ll be nothing left for us to do but to sit behind a desk eating nachos and dunking them in cola until our beer bellies burst our cammies.”
“You paint a sordid picture my friend,” Lloyd said. “I think that the Corps has broken you, man.”
“I’m not broken, I’m just saying that they won’t need pilots like us because a whole village will be vanquished with just a few bomb blasts from a drone. Our enemy isn’t in a fighter jet. There are no dog fights,” Fresno said.
“Dog fights? You know better. There hasn’t been one of those by a US fighter pilot in nearly a century.”
“It seems sooner.”
“If you’re scared go to church.”
“I mean if you don’t want to fly these missions then you can let the chain of command know that you’re not willing to strap in and focus, my guy,” Lloyd said.
“Right. And you know the worst part of all of this is the idea that we had so much training just to get to this point.”
“We had the training and we’re ready to knock down any pesthole that Uncle Sam deems to be a threat. The two places right now seem to be Saudi Arabia and Iran. If they want to act like savages, we will gladly stamp their tickets to hell.”
“I wouldn’t let the BGen hear you saying that,” Fresno said.
“Say what? That we should pound these brutes back to prehistoric times? She doesn’t care. She’s a general. A one star, but a general nonetheless. She’s battle hardened. She’s flown her fair share of missions.”
“Speak of the devil….” Fresno said.
Executive Officer Colonel Highland Coors stepped into the room.
“Company, atten-hut!” The Colonel exclaimed.
The men and women pilots shot to their feet at the position of attention. Brigadier General Denisa Inger moved to the center.
“As you were,” she said.