Good Conduct

by Billy Bob 'Launcher' Lary

Each one of was damn proud to change our designator from (SU) to (SS), but did you know what SS actually means?

Until you made E-6 or you got married (and even this is in question), SS meant – SMARTASS SUBSAILOR, STUPID SHIT or maybe even SNOTNOSE SONUVABITCH.

Case in point. In ’78, a certain TM2 that we all know and love, was in school at GMS (GUIDED MISSILE SCHOOL) Dam Neck, Virginia, going through the painful TM/MT conversion process, you know, trading my deck screwdriver, slugging wrenches and boots for high heels and a purse. It so happens that this suave and debonair young man completed his fourth year of not getting caught (at least not anything bad enough for NJP or Captain’s Mast) and was awarded his very first GOOD CONDUCT MEDAL.

Certain days of the week were designated for GMT and each classroom was equipped with a TV. One day a week we watched VICTORY AT SEA and on another day we watched other educational shows. Stuff like “How to fool IVAN”, “Security and you”, “VD: The Silent Killer, don’t take it home”, you know entertaining shows like that. One fine Navy day we watched an episode on being captured and later on it alluded to sailors being taken advantage of by civilians. They like to trick sailors out of their money and their Military ID cards. We were instructed to never surrender our ID cards unless we were arrested. Can you see where this going?

At the end of class, on the day I received my Good Conduct award, some of my fellow classmates (all mindless E-3 animals) took me over to the EM club, “The Shifting Sands”. Nice place, went back 14 years later and not much had changed. Anyway, we drank a bit and since I lived off-base and we had a class the next day, we leave early, right around 2000-2030. I head over to the barracks to drop a couple of the guys, when outta nowhere, red and blue flashing lights are everywhere. I pull over and one of them SP/base security/MAA skimmer buttheads sticks his face in my window and starts yelling at me. Hey, he’s an E-5, I’m an E-5, where does he get off ?!?

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, Mr. E-5 SP/MAA/security (whatever) NUMBNUTS tells me I was speeding. I musta gave him my “you gotta be shitting me” stupid look and he asks for the standard, license and registration, which I have ready, then the fun starts.

Mr. Hardcase “tells” me to “give” him my ID card. Hey, I just learned today, not to “give” my ID card to anybody, unless I’m being arrested, didn’t he watch TV today? So TM2 (SS - STUPID SHIT) sez: “If you want my ID you’ll have to arrest me.”

“Look pal, you were speeding and I need to check on you, now give me your gahdam ID card!”

TM2 (SS – SMARTASS SUBSAILOR) sez: “We just learned at GMT this morning not to “give” our ID to anybody unless we’ve been arrested.”

“Wait right there.”

Long pause while he goes back to his vehicle, a few minutes later a second vehicle pulls up and out jumps another E-5 SP/security/MAA. He goes to his partner and gets “A” story. Then he comes over to me.

“Why didn’t you give this man your ID card?”

“He didn’t ask to see it.”

“But he said he told you to give him your ID card.”

“Yeah, he “told” me, but all he had to do was listen to me and “ask” to see it.”

They took me down to the office at the main gate, and since they had no way of telling if I was intoxicated or not, they called for help from Virginia Beach’s finest.

He takes me to the Princess Anne precinct for a breath analyzer test, I barely fail. He asks me if I’ve had any cigarettes since I was stopped, I told him yes, 5-6. He tells me that the test is null and void since tobacco increases the readings.

“Besides that”, he sez, "they can’t use this against you. You were pulled over on a military base by base security, we have no jurisdiction since they or you didn’t involve us.”

I like to think he helped me out because I had joined the Virginia Beach Aux Police and he was one of my instructors.

He takes me back lets them know that they screwed up by letting me smoke and there isn’t anything he or they can do. They still write me a speeding ticket and file a complaint on me. The next day I’m summoned to the security office and speak to the OIC. I guess they don’t like their boys shown up. I had my base driving privileges revoked for a year (but no fine). Which sucked, if you never been to the base, the main gate was a LOOONNNGGG way away from the classrooms, at least it seemed that way.

Sometimes too much training is not good, so be careful of training (over or under) anybody under E-6.

Billy Bob Lary