Short Story Made Long

There was a fairly good system a while back where the Active Army would send some of their soldiers to our camps to help us train and do some evaluations.  These Active Army guys or evaluators would spend days out with us but generally would go back to Motels for the night unless we were at their home stations and they would simple go back to their homes. 

One year we took a good part of the Brigade to Camp Ripley, Minnesota.  The state bird there is the mosquito.   They said that one landed at the airport and one of the fuel handlers put 30 gallons of JP4 in it before it took off.  They could drive you crazy if you didn't have enough DEET in your repellent.

Ripley is a great post for dismounted infantry training and not a bad Artillery post but we should have left the tanks at Fort Riley,  The post there in Minnesota just didn't like tank tread marks in their fields.  That kept them pretty much in fixed areas with established tank positions.  That doesn't even begin to cover the fact that the impact area at Ripley is so small that our tanks could not fire their main guns. 

Well, the tanks have a procedure where they get into a firing position and as soon as they fire, they move to an alternate position and get ready to fire.  In the real world, one of the places you don't want to be is behind a tank when they are shooting and moving.  One of the advisors pulled up behind a tank in position and started to get out to see how their training was going.  As it turned out, they fired the simulator on the front of the tank and started to move to a new position.  The jeep the evaluator was driving didn't even make a poor wheel chock and it was smashed flatter than a fliver. 

When the whole thing kind of died down, the investigating officer took a statement from the advisor.  His exact words were, "I honked the horn to stop them but they didn't stop."  Have you ever heard the toy horn on a jeep?  It sounds like what would come out of your mouth if you held your nose and said the word Jeep.  Imagine a tank motor revved up and how little of that sound would get through to the tank crew members. 

The only good thing was that at the time we were phasing out the jeep and we had about a hundred of them at the Cannibalization Point at Fort Riley.  A few rivets to move the ID plate to a non smashed jeep and the soldier that was driving the smashed up mess got off with almost no cost.  I'm sure that his words were written on enough reports that he was forever remembered for the line "I honked my horn..." 


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