"RHYME OF THE ANCIENT PRAIRIE SUBMARINER" ~ G.W.O.

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"RHYME OF THE ANCIENT PRAIRIE SUBMARINER" ~ G.W.O.

Postby AE on Fri Jul 21, 2006 8:52 pm

When I was at Malmstrom back in the 1980s, there was a tradition that allowed each crewmember the opportunity to have the podium at the Pre-D briefing before heading out for his final alert (yes, our crews were all guys). This was called your L.F.A. speech ("L" stood for "Last" and "A" stood for "Alert"--and I'll let your imagination take care of the "F"). It was a rare opportunity to speak without retribution, and as a courtesy the colonels usually left the room for this event so as to not make the speaker feel uncomfortable or inhibited in any way. Since I had sort of developed a reputation as a bard, of sorts, the night before my LFA I wrote a poem and delivered it at Pre-D the next morning. (I decided that every line would rhyme with "LFA" and that made it a little more challenging than it otherwise might have been.) What follows may give readers some insights into how things were back then--and why. This was my LFA "speech" on 23 February 1986:


RHYME OF THE ANCIENT PRAIRIE SUBMARINER

The time has come, the crew dog said, to talk of yesterday...
Of what it took to turn me old, and turn my crew blues gray;
So let me just reminesce a bit -- on this, my special day.

It all began four years ago, before my hair turned gray;
They graduated me from missile school, at that base with ocean spray,
Then turned me loose to drive up here from that land so far away.

I thought the drive from there to here was enough to make one pray,
But it wasn't nearly half as bad as the one I'll make today:
A hundred-plus Montana miles -- rutted all the way!

Yes, I've 80,000 highway miles, weaving through plains of hay,
'Tis test enough when the road is clear, and when stopping is okay;
But winter is the norm up here, and Summer's a holiday!

Remember, when you're on the icy trail, and fog shrouds the sun's display;
And you're driving old Methuselah -- who has tendency to stray --
That you'd better take the wheel because it's your hide that they will flay.

'Tis true, I'll miss the stops at Stanford, at Eddie's and Circle K;
I'll miss the sight of soaring eagles, and other birds of prey;
And I'll miss the thrill of seeing bear, and watching antelope play.

But I won't miss those radar guns, zapping me with their ray,
Or the LOR that waits for me, if the limits I disobey.
Is it any wonder I'm a nervous wreck with harassment every day?

Enough about the driving -- 'tis better now anyway.
You've got air and radios -- amenities in wide array.
When I first arrived we were happy if our gas would last one way!

Let's talk about security ... about why you shouldn't betray
Your country's secrets to the cook at the Hotel-One Cafe.
You see, the Commies are everywhere -- so be careful what you say!

Have you ever wondered why you do the things you do today?
Why the necklace? the ID check? The briefcase to carry things away?
Let me just enlighten you now with this history I convey.

First, about that little pouch, around your neck today:
Pockets used to be the place we tucked the MECS away.
But pockets weren't secure enough for those who wear beret.

So Heitkamp made it policy. Said he, "They all shall pay."
Thus, ever since, though Ops was pure, the pouch on chest does lay.
And we continue paying penitence for the sins of cops astray.

And the reason you flashed your ID card when you entered here today?
'Twas not to see if you were really Tom, Dennis, Bill, or Jay.
But, rather, to make sure, instead, the cops will let you stay.

It happened several years ago, out at "Killer-K"
That one young deputy was embarrassed when he had to say,
"I left my card at home, you see, but you know me anyway."

It's bad enough when you have to drive, out and back next day.
But to have to do it twice, and changeover much delay,
Caused bitter feeling between all, and words heard -- like "repay."

So once again our leaders came, and the dragon they did slay;
By implementing the ID check, they prevented a replay.
And so we do the "Warnock Maneuver" ... to this very day.

Say, have you heard the story about that 'case you sway?
About the time, before its use, when the "TS" got away?
It happened out in Stanford town -- at the old "By-Way."

"Sluggo" Chase had stopped to set his feet upon the clay,
But when he opened up the door -- much to his dismay --
Mother Nature put the cab in total disarray.

The wind swept through and got the "class" -- and carried it away.
They chased it over hill and dale, in Ford and Chevrolet,
And with lots of help from many folks, recovered most -- they say.

So to guard against another gust, and so we won't mislay
The secrets of our country in the lap of ubiquitous "they,"
We carry now the "Chase Case" for our secret communique.

And we all know how well it works (let's just ignore hearsay),
How since the case has been utilized, we avoided a replay;
Why, not one incident has since transpired -- so the bag is here to stay.

But just in case one slips through the fingers of your protegee,
Colonel Jones devised a nifty form, your fears to allay.
Nobody thought to ask the crews if we minded the delay!

It didn't used to be so bad, on any typical day,
Pre-D consisted of about ten slides, then we were on our way.
Changeover took about five at most -- ten was considered risque.

But now the slides number near 50! And most info they portray
Is just a rehash of Pre-Pre, or a social expose.
I say just brief what's required, then send us on our way.

And the classified in the capsule is impossible today.
It takes a full half-hour, the COMSEC to survey.
There's far too much useless stuff -- all of it blase.

I suppose I really should say something about "OA."
I remember another crew dog, when he, on his special day,
Said, "I have only one thing -- about this to say."

He then stepped back, ducked low, and turned himself away,
And when next we saw him -- Mickey's ears on his head did lay,
And between them, in front, a patch that said "OA."

There is elegance in simplicity, and this thought I did weigh,
For he spoke not a single word, this message to convey.
And then, after a moment, he put the ears away.

One other thing that I'm mighty proud to say,
In more than four years -- in spite of death, disease, and decay,
I never burned a single back-up, to this very day.

I'm trained to be a warrior: war orders to obey.
Thankfully, all I ever had to do was decode and relay.
The only wars I ever fought were SCN wars at midday;
And gophers on the highways were all that I did slay.

But I was ever ready for a keyturn any day,
To send old Ivan to his grave if Ronnie said okay.
Just remember you're the vanguard, and you help deter doomsday,
Whether sitting watch TV, or running an Oly Play.

Now my time draws to an end; I've had my grand heyday.
I'm moving on to work for those who liked my resume.
So now I'll just step aside, as I shout a loud "Hooray!"
For finally I get to really pull my long-awaited L.F.A.

~ by Greg Ogletree
Last edited by AE on Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
ILCS Class 31 / ALCS Class 90-2
490 SMS - 341 SMW/DOTI - 4315 CCTS - 4 ACCS - 2 ACCS
... and damned proud of every single one of my 476 nuclear alerts in SAC!
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Postby Spank on Mon Aug 07, 2006 12:02 pm

I'm sorry, but I've decided that "prairie submariner" doesn't work for me. That would mean we were still under the sea.

The proper term from this point on will be "subterraner."

Please help spread the word by using 6-7 times a day...forever.
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Postby AE on Mon Aug 07, 2006 4:46 pm

Hey Spank, still the troublemaker I see! Guess you didn't read the post about Lima 01 being beneath the underground stream. Okay...I'm rationalizing--guilty as charged. Poetry (even bad poetry) should always take us somewhere we've never been before. You mean to tell me you never used the capsule's snorkel? Imagination: Try it, you'll like it!
ILCS Class 31 / ALCS Class 90-2
490 SMS - 341 SMW/DOTI - 4315 CCTS - 4 ACCS - 2 ACCS
... and damned proud of every single one of my 476 nuclear alerts in SAC!
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Posts: 123
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2006 3:58 am
Location: Near Vandenberg

Postby Spank on Mon Aug 07, 2006 10:21 pm

I remember snorkeling in the capsule, but that was to get hired into the shop...
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Postby AE on Tue Aug 08, 2006 1:28 am

Glad to see you haven't lost your sense of humor either! From one old former Fourth Axer to another, best of luck to you in your new post-AF career. ("Retirement" is a misnomer, if you haven't already discovered that.) EC's Forever, ~Greg (AE)
ILCS Class 31 / ALCS Class 90-2
490 SMS - 341 SMW/DOTI - 4315 CCTS - 4 ACCS - 2 ACCS
... and damned proud of every single one of my 476 nuclear alerts in SAC!
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Posts: 123
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2006 3:58 am
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Postby Spank on Tue Aug 08, 2006 1:54 am

Greg, I have retired from active duty, but I'm still hard-core ALCS. I run the ALCS branch as a GS weenie now. I can't seem to let go since I had what you and I both use as an avatar tattooed on my left arm in 2000.

'Til I freakin' die...

I still remember you coming out to the Vandenberg Airshow and riding your mountain bike from the back of the 135 to the front. It would be much tougher on the E-6...though I have to admit I haven't tried.
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