Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Black Bra

Once upon a time FlyGuy was yanked back into the military to participate in Desert Storm, the liberation of Kuwait from the Iraqi’s in 1990-1991.  War is a serious thing and we all took it seriously, most of the time.  I flew large cargo jets all over the world that year going to some interesting places.  We never knew where we were going until we were told to show up for an assignment, which could last for weeks.  During a period of rest in Spain I was doing my laundry in the barracks.  I went to put my clothes into a dryer and when I opened it there was a black bra inside.  I took it out and hung it up for the owner to find.  When I came back for my clothes the bra was still there.  For reasons I still cannot explain, I took the bra back to my room.  This bra was a size 34 and a B or C cup.  It had some lace bordering the cups.

Before any mission was flown there was a lot of work to do.  We had to check the flight plan for our day’s mission which could be several thousand miles.  We had to check the weather for all of it, get a security briefing, know where all the good guys were and how we could let them know we were good guys too so we wouldn’t get shot at.  We had to check our flight publications currency for the entire planet. We had to fuel plan the mission to make sure we did not run out of gas.  Sometimes the mission would require an air refueling and that was another big planning part all by itself.  All this happened in the flight planning rooms in the operations area of wherever we were.  You could walk into a flight planning room and find numerous flight crews planning all sorts of missions.  They could be pilots from any branch of the military and from other countries as well. I rarely would come across someone I knew.  

I entered the flight planning room with the other pilots on my crew, at the air base in Spain. There were another half dozen crews doing their flight planning.  I went to get the standard forms we always used and found an empty table.  The tables were set high as you stood up to do the planning.  It was at this point that I unzipped my flight suit down to my waist, pulled my arms out the sleeves and tied them around my waist.  This left my upper body from the waist up naked and exposed, with the exception of a nice and lacey black bra.  Now it should be understood that I am a very hairy man and the sight of myself this way grossed even me out.  I couldn’t wait for someone to see me and watch the expressions on their faces.  As an officer and pilot I realized that there could possibly be trouble for me doing such a thing but I just did not care.  The two pilots on my crew came walking up, looked at me and continued doing their work as if I was not even there.  The other crews saw me and turned back to doing their work.  There was silence in the room, no one said a word.  What I did was weird alright but the response was weirder.  We finished flight planning and as we exited the flight planning room I zipped my flight suit back up, covering my elastic companion and feeling a little frustrated that nobody reacted to me.

I wore that bra for the next 34 days in honor of its size (34).  I learned a lot about myself and the opposite sex as well.  I hope that not too many women suffer from thick chest hairs being pulled out like I did.  That would happen randomly and for no bleepin reason.
I learned that a bra can chaff you badly if not worn properly.  The metal part of the strap can dig into your back.  I lived in fear of leaving it somewhere, then what would I do!
For 34 days in a row I wore that black bra on my exposed chest in flight planning rooms around the world.  My bra covered breasts were seen by men from many nations, by pilots of many branches of different militaries, by officers senior to me, and by other pilots I knew.  I wore my bra above and below the equator, on 5 continents, during daylight and in darkness, once during a scud missile attack.  For all of that work and all of that time I put into wearing that bra, not one time did anybody ever say anything to me.  There was no way I was going to yell out, “Hey what the $*&K are you flyboys thinking, I’m wearing a #%CK@NG BRA”!  Cool was the rule and I acted as though I had been doing this ever since my mother bought me my first one at 13.  How many people were witnesses to my breast covering adventure I can’t be sure of, but it was at least 150 pilots.  About a month after I stopped wearing the bra I ran into my squadron commander.  He was the type who would pat himself on the back for fighting a war from as far away from the front line as possible.  None of us had any respect for him as we found him to be a spineless administrator who let others lead for him.  There was an officer in the HBO series Band of Brothers who would only show up after the fighting had stopped and tell his men he had to go do some checking in at headquarters.  They hardly saw him and he was worthless to them.  So the colonel pulls me aside and tells me that he knows what I am up to and that it won’t work.  I asked him what he was talking about.  He said, “Klinger didn’t get away with it and neither will you.”  Then he walked away.  In the 1970’s there was a sitcom called MASH, based on a medical unit on the front lines in the Korean War.  One of the characters named Klinger was always trying to get classified as a “section 8”, when you are found to be mentally unfit for combat duty and sent home.  Klinger steadfastly insisted he was a woman and dressed appropriately in skirts, dresses, wedding gowns, etc.  I was mad, very mad.  I remember being madder over the fact that I was not wearing the bra that day than what the colonel had said to me.  The war ended and we all went home.  I had a girlfriend at the time and she found the bra in my luggage when I got back.  I tried to explain but she wasn’t buying it.  There were other issues between us and she broke up with me shortly thereafter.  I am not sure if the bra was the icing on the cake for her but I did find it interesting that out of all that effort I took to get a response from people, she was the only one that said anything directly about my bra and I wasn’t even wearing the damn thing.  I have told this story to my daughters many times and to their boyfriends and their friends.  There is a photo in one of the family photo albums showing me proudly puffing out my hairy chest with my 34s sticking straight out, a barren and dry desert in the background.  These days I am satisfied flying people like you to places you need to be.  I have tamed things down quite a bit.  Although there is that orange clown wig I wear from time to time, but that is a story for another day.  Be Safe, FlyGuy


Anonymous jay said...

I hope I don't disappoint you in saying that I wouldn't bat an eyelash but after reading this story.

I hope that one day I get to walk on to your plane - it would be an honour!

But of course I will be trying to imagine your hairy chest and that bra! LOL :-)

1:27 AM  
Anonymous Jim Howard said...

OK, the bra I can live with, but I hope you don't put spoons in your flight suit pockets.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous My Sping On Things said...

You are a funny funny man:)

9:07 PM  
Blogger Tim Perkins said...

Just think. If you had had a Bible poking out your back pocket, there probably would have been a riot.

7:08 PM  
Blogger 61TASC130FE said...

I've seen plenty of weird stuff in squadron ops before, albeit the bra would be right up there as one of the weirdest. Makes you wonder what else might be hidden under those flight suits? Great story...

6:45 AM  

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