In the 6th part of my series on the 511th MI Company, I have a short list of quotes that the ESM guys collected at Hohenfels, 1990.
- "Don't [dip] chew when expecting chow; it always arrives in 2 minutes." - D.A. Morris
- "Sorry, I used the wrong grid." - Bill McCollum
- "So, this is where we are...?" - Jeff Norris
- "I wish I were an Oscar Meyer Wiener." - Joe Masten
- "You guys aren't Prima Donnas!" - 1LT Innocenti
- "You talk a lot of s***, but you're just another officer." - Fred
- "More follows..." - CPT Quinn
- "Who's f***in' around, dammit?!!" - J. Morris
- "I'll either make a career in or out of the Army." - Jeff Norris
- "F*** the camo nets..." - EW2's ESM squad
- "Slow that thing down or I'll have you force-marching everywhere!" - CPT Quinn
- "Are we doing the speed limit?" - 1LT Innocenti
- "This is good training." - LTG Joulwan
- "It's hard to convince Fred that he's wrong." - Whitfield
- "I'm not wrong!" - Fred
- "That's the problem with NCO's..." - Felix
- "The 511th MI Company thanks you for that grid..." - Steve Barnes
- "You have to go to MOPP4? I hate it when that happens!" - Dork
Ah, CPT Quinn - everyone tried to explain to him that "break" was the proper proword to use when you had more to send over the radio, but he steadfastly refused to use anything other than "more follows." Obviously CPT Quinn was trained incorrectly when he went through MI Officer Basic. In one of those weird full circle coincidences, when I transferred to Fort Huachuca the following year, I wound up being the NCO that was in charge of training and grading the officers that were going through MI Officer Basic. I had no qualms whatsoever about telling any officer that they were a "NOGO" at my station, because I knew that these officers were going to wind up in charge of some poor MI platoon, and I couldn't put my fellow MI brethren through the embarrassment of having an officer that didn't know how to use the darn radio correctly.
1LT Innocenti and I did not get along on this field problem - although I don't think that he got along with anyone else in the EW platoons. Since 1LT Innocenti moved to GSR immediately after we returned to garrison, we only had him as a platoon leader for the combined duration of Hohenfels and Grafenwoehr, or about six weeks total, making that one of the shortest durations for a platoon leader that I saw in my eight years of military service. D.A. Morris saved my career while we were out in the field at Hohenfels when I stepped towards 1LT Innocenti with the full intention of decking him after he refused to let D.A. and I take everyone's guard duty and radio watch shifts to make up for all their hard work over the past several weeks. 1LT Innocenti claimed that he had done more work than anyone else, while in reality the only duty that he performed was running chow for us when he wasn't sleeping. What was even worse, his poor choices for words were accusing all of my subordinates of being lazy, while in reality they had been working nearly round-the-clock for several days. This was too much for me to take, so my right arm clenched into a fist and it would have been travelling in the direction of 1LT Innocenti's face when D.A. caught my arm and pulled me aside. I found out later that 1LT Innocenti had a black belt in Karate - so I probably wouldn't have been able to land a single punch before being hauled away to prison for assaulting an officer. (Thanks D.A. for saving my life!)
I bumped into CPT Innocenti several years later when he was going through the MI Officer Advanced Course in Ft. Huachuca, where I was helping to teach MI Operations. By that time we were able to have a few laughs about our shared history with no hard feelings. (CPT Innocenti - if you ever read this, my apologies once again; I was pretty young at the time.)
Another funny story about Hohenfels in 1990 was that I was one of only a handful of people that were chosen from the 11th ACR to brief LTG Joulwan, (who was the commanding general for all of the US Army forces in Europe), about regimental operations in Hohenfels. When the general arrived, I gave him a tour of the ESM gear, showed him how it worked, explained how we conducted operations, etc. After fifteen minutes or so, LTG Joulwan asked me what I thought of his field problem. I looked him right in the eye and said, "Frankly sir, I think it sucks." At that moment, 1LT Innocenti was standing behind the general, and I watched as he put his face in his hands - probably feeling that his career had just ended. The general was momentarily taken aback, and then he asked, "Why?" So I took the next five to ten minutes or so explaining how his deployment of US forces didn't match actual enemy tactics, how their radio communications were completely dissimilar, how we were able to wreak havoc simply by ICD'ing everyone on the planet, etc. The general and I had a pretty good conversation that lasted for several minutes, and eventually we agreed to disagree on several points. Before his departure, LTG Joulwan gave me one of his custom-made USAEUR coins "in recognition of my outstanding achievements," then he got in his humvee and drove off. CPT Quinn dropped by later and informed me that out of the hundreds of people that LTG Joulwan had met that day, I was one of only two people to which the general had given a coin. (CPT Quinn also asked me never to do that again.) So I like to remember that I received a medal (more or less) for being one of the few people who was willing to tell a three-star general to his face that I thought his training sucked.