The Status of our Reservists – What the heck is going on?



The Status of our Reservists – What the heck is going on?

by Lee Wm Sachs

Do you want the straight goods and why the U.S.A. is losing the war in Iraq and Roll?   Simple.  We are using National Guard and Reservists, accidental soldiers that, in my day, fought only the traffic on a busy weekend.  I was in such a unit:  The 50th General Hospital, Ft. Lawton, Washington. 

Like our National Guard Counterparts, we, weekend warriors, would experiment on how much marijuana and alcohol we could introduce into our muddled systems before our bodies finally fell on the battlefield of the bacchanal.  The whole concept was, frankly, brilliant.   In time of stress and war, if we were activated (I loved that term), called up, we would merely replace regular Stateside Army/Navy/Airforce/Marine/Coast Guard units so that the unlucky, unfortunate and uneducated gung-ho lifers could then go overseas and get maimed, killed and missed. 

But we in the reserves would never go overseas and into harm’s way (a great term meaning that somebody was gunning for us)…….


We Reservists signed meaningless pagares — six year promissory notes — obligating ourselves to weekends and a fortnight summer camp.  I recall smoking weed and then climbing into a man-sized autoclave for a much-deserved snooze.  Some servicemen even dropped acid during meetings or maneuvers (I love this word, too).  For eight to ten hours their olive drab life became a kaleidoscope of colors, laughter and beer guzzling. 

What was great about being in a medical unit was that there could never be any overdosing.  We had more doctors and nurses per capita than you’ll find in a busy day in the Whitehouse.  We were stoned, to put it in the nomenclature of the day.  Nomenclature (I am especially fond of this over-killed military cliché — another word I adore). 


Some units that went to summer camp — a B’nai B’rith for the goyim — hit a winner with Presidio in San Francisco.  Haight Ashbury was a mere dope-trip away.  Haight, where grams of acid could be had wholesale for three-and-a-half large, was the largest open-air drugstore on the Planet Earth. 

Some uniformed dealers — Spec 5s and Buck Sergeants — made more in the two weeks at sleep-away party than they did the whole six years of their ready reserve contract.  And those few Citizen Soldiers who experienced Bad Trips (never liked this word), could many years later receive disability cheques from the V.A.  It was all good fun.  Student princes with their II-S deferments, Standby and Ready Reserve, we all legally avoided the annoyance of Vietnam, and were paid in cash and colorsthose beautiful psychedelic colors that manifested themselves at the end of a dobbie or the conclusion of an eight hour head trip.

I used to muse (another great word) on whether missile deployment (great word) units also partook of hallucinogenic meds.  I imagined some spaced out Noncom grooving on his control panel, grooving to his heart’s content, when all of a sudden, he would push a button and watch the graphics board while a facsimile warhead headed for Russia and a great big megaton bummer (another super word, though civilian, not military in origin).

Wow, man.  Can you dig it?  The seated sergeant asked his immediate superior, a reserve major.  Wowww

On the Lucite projection above them, a mini-missile had arched over Saskatchewan.  In forty-five white-knuckle minutes this weapon of mass destruction would overfly Alaska, the Bering Sea, violate USSR airspace and finally wake up seven million vodka-addled Muscovites.  These commie characters would hear a split-second Wooooshhhh, a blinding white light and then..

Nothing.  Nyet.

I mean, like.  Can you dig it?  The Noncom asked again.

The major was entranced by the lightshow over on the far wall.  There were several other officers in the command centre and they too were now digging an impending Armageddon (a wonderful word).  A second lieutenant, female, with a Playboy bunny figure sashayed past a knot of rubbernecking servicemen.  No one paid any attention to her.  When the Earth has but an hour left to exist, who-in-the-hell cares about getting laid?

The seated staff sergeant continued to stare imbecilicly at his screen.  He knew in his heart-of-hearts that his reserve unit should never have been entrusted with the job at hand.  When the regular battalion returned from wherever-the-hell they had gone, some people would be pissed. 

The staff sergeant was an insurance salesman in real life.  He wondered if his company had underwritten any property beneath the trajectory of tragedy playing itself out on Lucite land.  The sergeant also wondered if a reservist could be court marshaled.  Did they conduct weekend trials for weekend citizen soldiers?


(to be continued)


Lee Wm Sachs is a published author, a U.S. Army Veteran, and Comedian.  He has a Master Degree in Humanities from Pacific Lutheran University.  Send in your comments. He can be reached at [email protected]




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