I Don't Miss CCT, But I Sure Miss The Guys

A Story By SgtMac

Why should I miss CCT? From the very first day all they wanted me to do was quit! I report to Combat Control School and my first encounter with an instructor has me doing hundreds of push-ups and living in the "Leaning Rest". Things just went down hill from there. Now they run my butt off, making me fall out and do more push ups, every time I heave my insides up. There was always an instructor there letting me know what a disgrace I am and how he would be happy to assist me in finding desk job. When he'd get tired of yelling at me I could always count on more push-ups. After numerous weeks of punishment I finally earn the right to pick out a railroad tie. I'm told this railroad tie is my buddy and I get to haul him around with me everywhere. Oh boy, my buddy gets to go with me jump out of an airplane with me and they call it training. Needless to say, my buddy was bigger than I was and somehow he was always able to throw me out of the airplane. Thanks buddy! Once the instructors figured out I wasn't going to quit and I'd done enough push-ups they graduated me and said I earned the right to be a Combat Controller. I was finally push-up qualified!

My first duty as a Combat Controller was to participate in exercise "Solid Shield." No problem, I was push-up qualified! They put me in an airplane with a bunch of Army guys and told me to jump. My parachute didn't work, but I had two. You'd think I'd break something on landing, but I was in for another surprise. The swamp below didn't have any solid surfaces and I was just sucked in up to my waist. Some Army guys helped pull me out and asked if I needed a medic. I automatically fell to the ground to accomplish some push-ups. Opps, it was all swamp and I was stuck in it again. Trying to keep my head above the muck to breathe, I told the Army guys I was fine. They realized I was push-up qualified and left me to drown.

I certainly was happy to finally find my NCOIC, but he just chewed my butt out for being so slow and told me to go hide in the swamp. Once it got dark, it was time to move out and find another swamp. They told me that Army Rangers would be in the swamp with listening devices and their job was to capture us. Hours into the night, the only thing that found me were the mosquitoes, leaches, and brambles. I thought I was dying, so I fell down a few times and splashed around making a lot of noise hoping to get captured. Damned Army guys didn't help at all. Daylight came and we were still looking for that other swamp. Hours later we requested a helicopter come find us, but they only had a Med-Evac available. Asked if we had injuries, the boss man looked around at our beaten eaten up bloody bodies and told them to launch immediately. It took them hours to find us and we had to be hoisted up. I'll always remember the look of horror on the loadmasters face as he pulled me into the helicopter. He apologized for dragging me through a few brambles, but little did he know, those were tears of happiness finding their way down my swollen bloodied face. After a few days of recuperation and ridding my body of lice, I was ready to go back to work.

The commander called me into his office and told me what a good job I did and now I could be trusted to go and work drop zones. I sat out there in the freezing rain and high winds for a day or two before I saw an airplane. They flew over and tossed a bundle into the woods and it was my job to find it. I spent hours searching and I'm sure I would have found it, but the boss made me come back when it got dark. The next day the commander called me back to his office and told me how disappointed he was. It was my fault that the bundle was lost and how I had cost the Air Force a bunch of money. I fell to the floor and did some push-up as I was taught at Combat Control School. I was forgiven and sent back to the drop zone.

I pushed myself to find more bundles and become a good Combat Controller. Then the guys told me I was spending too much time out in the woods looking for bundles and had earned the right to "guess-ta-mate." I earned my 5-level and became one of the best guess-ta-mater's ever. I learned you needed to guess-ta-mate wrong on occasions to keep from filing out extra paperwork. Sometimes the airplane crews would even buy you a six pack for wrong guess-ta-mation's. The commander told me what a good job I was doing and I got to spend more time on the drop zone. That was fine with me, I had plenty of time to practice my push-up's.

I got so good at push-up's, they made me a Combat Control School Instructor. I was one of the best instructors ever! Any time I saw a student I made him do push-ups and volunteered to help him find another job. I yelled and screamed at the students relentlessly and when I got tired I left them in the "leaning rest". I made a lot of students quit and they said I was a good instructor. Then they put some trailers behind the school and some special Combat Controllers moved in. They wore civilian clothes, had long hair, and rode dirt bikes. Hey, I had a Harley, so I moved in with these guys.

Life was great! I was put in charge of the dirt bikes, because I had a Harley. I got to wear civilian clothes, grow my hair long, and wear a beeper. The women were a dime a dozen and I didn't have to do push-up's. I got to travel around the world and act like someone I wasn't. It was great having the support of general officers at my beckoning. I got to work with some really neat guys and blow up a lot of stuff. They gave me all kinds of weapons and special training. I never realized there were so many ways to punish a body without doing push-ups.

A few of my buddies were killed during our special training, but I was always lucky. They called me "Malfunction Mac" and with seven of them, I was well trained in cut-a-ways. I had a few times when I was sure I would die, but they said it was good character building. I ended up with a lot of character as most of you do. I certainly won't forget when they tested the character I had achieved.

The boss man called me to his office and told me to go pack my bags. My training immediately took over and I fell to the floor knocking out push-up's. I begged for forgiveness and promised to do a better job, but he told me to get the hell out. When I left the office, I saw all the guys were packing their bags. I asked what the hell is going on and I was just told to pack my bags. I couldn't believe the boss was going to fire us all! Next thing I know, I'm thrown on an airplane and hauled off to some underground bunker, who knows where? They tell me not to ask any questions and to go sight my weapons in. Hey, my weapons are always sighted in, what's going on?

I was told I was asking too many questions, to just go find the Ranger Commander and stick with him. I found the guy with the shortest hair and asked him what was going on. He replied; You must be my CCT, can you do push-up's? I immediately fell to the ground and started knocking them out. He said I'd do, gave me some grenades and told me to follow him. We load up on an airplane and are off again. Next thing I know, the aircraft commander comes over the speaker and says a bunch of guys are getting the hell shot out of themselves and you're going to parachute in and assist .

A Ranger threw me a parachute and told me to put it on. I asked where the reserve was and he told me there weren't any, but it didn't matter because we wouldn't be high enough to use it. I explained to him that I was "Malfunction Mac" and needed one. He gave me a few more grenades and told me to suck it up. Our nighttime assault turned into a daytime firing range and we were the targets. As I stumbled out the bouncing airplane, bullets were zinging all around me. I wished my parachute had malfunctioned so I could get to the ground faster. As I lay on the ground, bullets started thumping around me and I realized I was still alive. I jumped in this damned ditch full of water and my training took over. My training from day one got me through the next couple of days and have I have a lot of you to thank for that.

Years later I felt like the cat with nine life's, eight of them gone. It was time to move on and I took a job with the Inspector Generals Office. I was going to be able to pass on some of the valuable lessons of life I had experienced. I had great expectations of sharing my knowledge and helping the Combat Control Teams. Wrong! I was back to day one and grading aircrews. Okay, so it was pacing bundles and they wouldn't let me use my great experience in "guess-ta-mating." I had to find all the bundles and there was always a lot of paperwork. After all these years, I was right back where I started. The rest is history.

My story is just but one of many. So many of you retired/prior CCT guys are just biting at the bit to get involved with Afghanistan. It's certainly not because you would enjoy it, but it's to assist your fellow CCTer's. However, you must take solace in the fact that you led the way for these guys to follow and CCT has evolved through the years because of your actions. They're all over there doing what they've trained for and have volunteered to do. I know each and every one of you would trade places with any of the guys, but you've severed your time and must let others carry the torch.

John "Chappy" Chapman is one of the others and it's sad to know he gave the supreme sacrifice, KIA in Afghanistan to "Leave No Man Behind". No words can express how he will be missed, but these words written by Coke Braxton come closest;

There are men who have a determination of spirit that transcends the aspirations of most. These men answer a call, which comes deep from within the essence of their own convictions.

They share a kindred amongst themselves and though never spoken, its' strength exceeds the power of any outside ideals forced upon it.

The sacrifices made from their ranks are great, and each loss falls hard among those who remain. Yet they continue, knowing each time they step into the sun, the rays that penetrate their souls are the voices of their comrades leading them on to the next adventure.

I have never met a greater group of people. Our lives and many others have depended on each other's abilities on a daily basis. We've all been through so much together, that an unbreakable bond is formed and we call each other brother. It doesn't matter whether you have met your fellow brother or not; he will be there in your time of need. I don't have to explain this further, for you have shown this bond time after time. You are a very special group and I'm very lucky to have so many brothers. I Love You Guys……….…Mac