Air Force Humor, Part II

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[pilots] [Biggest Lies] [fighters & heavies] [maintenance] [language difference] [Bad TDYs] [Smartest Enlisted?] [Marines] [boat race] [what time?] [the baloonist] [Pilot Hell] [M-D warranty] [Rules of Flying]

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[IM Jodies] [Hotel Al-Kharj] [Rank Insignia] [Feed the Pilots] [Dangerous Phrases] [This Sucks] [Enlistment Oaths] [How to Operate a Mechanic] [General's physical] [High Flight FAA sup] [Low Flight] [New Colonel] [The Barber] [Capt kirk]

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[Customs & Courtesies] [Air Force One] [Frankfurt] [Decoy Airfield] [UPT stories] [Airspeed] [War Heroes] [Training Program] [Ground Effect] [SR-71] [Bureaucracy] [Ergometry Test] [Air Force Dictionary] [1st Sergeant Test] [Recruiting] [Aircrew Coordination] [Captain Bravado]

Marching Jodies for Information Managers

My first assignment on active duty was as an executive officer (i.e. administrative weenie). During the gruelling 5-week IM (information manager) training course, I and some of my classmates came up with these jodies (marching songs).

left, right, left...

I don't know, but it's been said
that I.M. butts are made of lead

In my office, work all day
not to see the light of day

Scroll of silver on my chest
got a desk job like the rest

"Semper Scribus" is our creed
gonna write until I bleed

If I die while at my desk
serve me at the enlisted mess

Four-dash-fifty is OK
gonna get the mail out right away

BITS is BITS and that is that
gotta get the message in the right format

Shuffle those papers and run to the door
I wanna get off work around half past four

ten-dash-one is oh so fun!
I'd rather do forms than shoot a gun

If I go to a foreign land
I'll defend myself with a rubber band

More powerful than a battleship
are papers held together with a paper clip

I.M. commandos running down the isles
behind enemy lines to secure those files

In the enemy's office in the dead of night
to screw up their files before the morning light

Locator roster on the wall
I.M. forces are always on call!

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The Hotel Al-Kharj

Prince Sultan Air Base is the main U.S. air base in Saudi Arabia, located near Al-Kharj (alias "Al's Garage", probably arabic for "middle of nowhere"). This is sung to the tune of the Eagles' "Hotel California". Welcome to the hotel Al-Kharj

On a dark desert flightline, hot dust in my hair
Warm smell of the sewage rising up through the air
Out ahead in the distance, I saw a camel in sight
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim, I had a long, long flight
There he stood in the doorway, with a towel on his head
I was thinking to myself: this could be heaven, but it would be hell
Then he lit up a hooka, and started puffing away
I heard voices down the corridor, thought I heard them say:

Welcome to the Hotel Al-Kharj
What a bad surprise, for your appetite

Our hosts wear long white dresses, they got the Mercedes Benz
They got a lot of pretty, pretty boys, and they hold hands
How they chop in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat
some chopped just a little, some chopped to minced meat
And still those voices are calling from loud speakers
Wake you up in the middle of the night, just to hear them pray:

Welcome to the Hotel Al-Kharj
Any time of year, you're TDY here

There are no curtains in the showers
No potable water on ice
We are all just prisoners here, of Exxon's delight
So I called up my Captain, please bring me some wine. He said
"They won't allow that spirit here until the end of all time"
And in the Mirage chow hall, we gathered for the feast
We stab it with our plastic knives but we just can't cut the beef
Last thing I remember, I was running for my plane
I had to find the freedom bird to take me home again
Relax, said the First Shirt, we have orders to receive,
You can out-process any time you like, but you can never leave

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The Origin of Rank Insignia

The U.S. decided it needed to create insignia for officers to show their rank and to distinguish them from officers of other countries, so they put a committee together.

Second lieutenants, since they are the future of the military, are very valuable, decided the committee. They are also very malleable, so their insignia shall be a gold bar.

First lieutenants are also valuable, but not quite as malleable, so they will be designated by a silver bar.

A captain should be able to do twice the work of a lieutenant, therefore, they get two bars.

They further decided that colonels hold lofty positions of authority, like eagles soaring overhead, so that should be their insignia.

Generals, they reasoned, are even higher than colonels, so they should be designated by stars, which are higher in the sky than the birds. maj

Then the committee thought about what device to use for majors and lieutenant colonels. They thought and thought, but couldn't come up with anything. After long deliberation, the chaplain on the committee spoke up and said "Well, since Adam and Eve's day, we've always covered our unmentionables with leaves..."

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Feed the Pilots

an appeal from Sally Struthers and the Feed the Pilots Foundation...

It's just not right. Thousands of Air Force pilots in our very own country are living at or just below the six-figure salary line. If that wasn't bad enough, many of them may go several weeks or months without a bonus if they are forced to wait for Congress to pass needed legislation. Congress is just "sitting" on much-needed legislation to increase the pilot bonus (ACP) to $25,000 per year, and while we wait our pilots are going without any bonus payments at all!

But you can help! For $480 a week (that's less than the price of a 31" television set) you can help keep a pilot economically viable during his (or her) time of need. $480 a week may not seem like a lot of money to you, but to a pilot it could mean the difference between a vacation fishing in Florida or a Mediterranean cruise.

For you, $480 may be nothing more than half a month's rent or mortgage payment, but to an Air Force pilot, $480 a week is their god-given right for the hardships of having to fly a sleek fighter or a mission-critical transport plane instead of some old commercial airliner between La Guardia and Atlanta.

$480 a week will enable a needy pilot to upgrade his or her home computer, buy that new high-definition TV set, trade in the 6-month old Lexus for a Ferrari, or simply enjoy a dinner (with champagne) at The Mansion.


Each month, you'll receive a complete financial statement report on the pilot you sponsor. Detailed information about his or her stocks, bonds, and real estate holdings will be mailed directly to your home. You will be able to watch your pilot's net worth grow. You will also have information on how they choose to invest their salary when they eventually separate to take a commercial aviation job.


Your pilot will be told that he or she has a SPECIAL FRIEND that just wants to help. Although the pilot won't know your name, he or she will be able to make collect calls to your home via a special operator in case they need more funds.

So won't you please help these pilots in their time of need by sending your donation of just $480 a week by check or credit card to:

Feed the Pilots
PO Box 9876
Washington, DC 12345

Thank you.

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In the Personal Ads...


Mature North American Superpower seeks hostile partner for arms racing third world conflicts, and general antagonism. Must be sufficiantly menacing to convince Congress of military financial requirements. Nuclear capablility is preferred, however non-nuclear candidates possessing significant biological/chemical warfare resources will be considered. Send note with pictures of Fleet, Air squadrons and Army to:

Chairman, Joint Cheifs of Staff
The Pentagon
Washington D.C.
United States of America

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The Most Dangerous Things in the Air Force

  1. An Airman saying "I learned this in Basic Training..."
  2. A Sergeant saying "Trust me, sir..."
  3. A 2nd Lieutenant saying "Based on my experience..."
  4. A Colonel saying "I was just thinking..."
  5. A Chief Master Sergeant saying "Watch this shit..."

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Life in Thule

A military transport carrying important supplies across "the pond" lands at Thule Air Station in Greenland for refueling. The flight engineer, while doing his walk-around check, notices that the station's crew chief, an A1C, is smoking a cigarette on the flight line while the "honey truck" empties the plane's commode.

"Airman! what the hell do you think you're doing? You're going to be in so much trouble when I'm through with you!"

Hearing this, the crew chief fell to the ground laughing

"What's so funny?" demanded the FE.

The airman replied, "I live on a glacier where it's winter 12 months out of the year, I make less than minimum wage, and I'm unloading shit from an airplane. What do you think you can do to me?"

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New Enlistment Oaths

U.S. Air Force Oath of Enlistment

I, Zoomie, swear to sign away 4 years of my useless life to the United States Air Force because I'm too smart for the Army and because the Marines frighten me. I swear to sit behind a desk and take credit for the work done by others more dedicated than me who take their job seriously. I also swear not to do any form of real exercise, but promise to defend the stationary bike as a valid test of fitness.

I promise to walk around calling everyone by their first name because I know I'm not really in the military and I find it amusing to annoy the other services. I will have a better quality of life than all those around me and will at all times be sure to make them aware of that fact.

After completion of my "Basic Training," I will be a lean, mean, donut-eating, lazy-boy sitting, civilian-wearing-blue-clothes, chairborne Ranger. I will believe I am superior to all others and will make an effort to clean the knife before stabbing the next person in the back with it. I will do no work (unless someone is watching me and it makes me look good), will annoy those around me, and will go home early every day.

I consent to never getting promoted (EVER) and understand that all those whom I made fun of yesterday will probably outrank me tomorrow.

Signature, Date

U.S. Army Oath of Enlistment

I, Rambo, swear to sign away 4 years of my mediocre life to the United States Army because I couldn't score high enough on the ASVAB to get into the Air Force, because I'm not tough enough for the Marines, and the Navy won't take me because I can't swim.

I will wear camouflage every day and tuck my trousers in my boots because I can't figure out how to use blousing straps. I promise to wear my uniform 24 hours a day even when I have a date. I will continue to tell myself that I am a fierce killing machine because my Drill Sergeant told me I am, despite the fact that the only action I will ever see is a court-martial for sexual harassment.

I acknowledge the fact that I will make E-8 in my first year of service, and vow to maintain that it is because I scored perfect on my PT test. After completion of my mean Boot Camp, I will attend a different Army school once every other month and return knowing less than I did when I left. On my first trip home after Boot Camp, I will walk around like I am cool and propose to my 9th grade sweetheart.I will make my wife stay home because if I let her out she might leave me for a smarter Air Force guy or a better looking Marine. Should she leave me twelve times, I will continue to take her back. While at work, I will maintain a look of knowledge while getting absolutely nothing accomplished. I will arrive at work every day at 1000 hrs because of morning PT and leave every day at 1300 to report back to the "company."

I understand that I will undergo no training whatsoever that will help me get a job upon separation, and will end up working in construction with my friends from high school. I will brag to everyone about the Army giving me $30,000 for college, but will be unable to use it because I can't pass a placement exam.

Signature, Date

U.S. Navy Oath of Enlistment

I, Top Gun, in lieu of going to prison, swear to sign away 4 years of my life to the United States Navy because I want to hang out with Marines without actually having to BE one of them, because I thought the Air Force was too "corporate," and because I thought, "hey, I like to swim...why not?" I promise to wear clothing that went out of style in 1976 and to have my name stenciled on the butt of every pair of pants I own. I understand that I will be mistaken for the Good Humor man during the summer, and for Waffen SS during the winter.

I will strive to use a different language than the rest of the English-speaking world, using worlds like "deck, bulkhead, cover, and head" instead of "floor, wall, hat, and toilet." I will take great pride in the fact that all Navy acronyms, rank and insignia, and everything else for that matter, are completely different from the other services and make absolutely no sense whatsoever. I will muster (whatever that is) at 0700 hrs every morning unless I am buddy-buddy with the Chief, in which case I will show up around 0930 hours.

I vow to hone my coffee cup handling skills to the point that I can stand up in a kayak being tossed around in a typhoon, and still not spill a drop. I consent to being promoted and subsequently busted at least twice per fiscal year. I realize that, once selected for Chief, I am required to submit myself to the sick, and quite possibly illegal, whims of my new-found "colleagues."

Signature, Date

U.S. Marine Corps Oath of Enlistment

I, state your name, swear... uuhhhh... high-and-tight...cammies... uhh... ugh... Air Force women... OORAH!

So help me Corps.

Thumb Print, Date (Y/N)

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Because the husband had just gotten home from a six-month deployment in Saudi Arabia, the husband and wife were furiously making love when, all of a sudden, the wind slammed a door shut somewhere else in the house.

The husband says, "Oh no! That must be your husband coming home."

And the wife replies, "No. He's off in Saudi for six months."

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Pentagon Translations

What Pentagon officials say - And what they really mean:

Essentially Complete
It's half done

Risk is high but within acceptable ranges of risk:
100:1 odds, or with 10 times over budget using 10 times the people we said we'd employ.

Potential show stopper:
The team has updated their resumes.

Serious but not insurmountable problems:
It'll take a miracle...

Basic agreement has been reached:
The @##$%%'s won't even talk to us.

Results are being quantified:
We're massaging the numbers so that they will agree with our conclusions.

Task force to review:
7 people who are incompetent at their regular jobs have been loaned to the project

Not well defined at this time:
Nobody's even thought about it; nobody has a clue.

Still analyzing the requirements:
See previous answer: "Not well defined at this time...:

Not well understood:
Now that we've thought about it, we don't want to think about it anymore

Requires further analysis and management attention:
Totally out of control!

Results are promising:
Turned power on and no smoke detected - this time...

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By William C. Dykes

A long, long time ago, back in the days of iron men and wooden rotor blades, a ritual began. It takes place when a helicopter pilot approaches a mechanic to report some difficulty with his aircraft. All mechanics seem to be aware of it, which leads to the conclusion that it's included somewhere in their training, and most are diligent in practicing it.

New pilots are largely ignorant of the ritual because it's neither included in their training, nor handed down to them by older drivers. Older drivers feel that the pain of learning everything the hard way was so exquisite, that they shouldn't deny anyone the pleasure.

There are pilots who refuse to recognize it as a serious professional amenity, no matter how many times they perform it, and are driven to distraction by it. Some take it personally. They get red in the face, fume and boil, and do foolish dances. Some try to take it as a joke, but it's always dead serious. Most pilots find they can't change it, and so accept it and try to practice it with some grace.

The ritual is accomplished before any work is actually done on the aircraft. It has four parts, and goes something like this:
1. The pilot reports the problem. The mechanic says, There's nothing wrong with it."
2. The pilot repeats the complaint. The mechanic replies, "It's the gauge."
3. The pilot persists, plaintively. The mechanic Maintains, "They're all like that."
4.The pilot, heatedly now, explains the problem carefully, enunciating carefully. The mechanic states, "I can't fix it."

After the ritual has been played through in it's entirety, serious discussion begins, and the problem is usually solved forthwith.

Like most rituals, this one has it's roots in antiquity and a basis in experience and common sense. It started back when mechanics first learned to operate pilots, and still serves a number of purposes. It's most important function is that it is a good basic diagnostic technique. Causing the pilot to explain the symptoms of the problem several times in increasing detail not only saves troubleshooting time, but gives the mechanic insight into the pilot's knowledge of how the machine works, and his state of mind.

Every mechanic knows that if the if the last flight was performed at night or in bad weather, some of the problems reported are imagined, some exaggerated, and some are real. Likewise, a personal problem, especially romantic or financial, but including simple fatigue, affects a pilot's perception of every little rattle and thump. There are also chronic whiners complainers to be weeded out and dealt with. While performing the ritual, an unscrupulous mechanic can find out if the pilot can be easily intimidated. If the driver has an obvious personality disorder like prejudices, pet peeves, tender spots, or other manias, they will stick out like handles, with which he can be steered around.

There is a proper way to operate a mechanic as well. Don't confuse "operating" a mechanic with "putting one in his place." The worst and most often repeated mistake is to try to establish an "I'm the pilot and you're just the mechanic" hierarchy. Although a lot of mechanics can and do fly recreationally, they give a damn about doing it for a living. Their satisfaction comes from working on complex and expensive machinery. As a pilot, you are neither feared nor envied, but merely tolerated, for until they actually train monkeys to fly those things, he needs a pilot to put the parts in motion so he can tell if everything is working properly. The driver who tries to put a mech in his "place" is headed for a fall. Sooner or later, he'll try to crank with the blade tied down. After he has snatched the tailboom around to the cabin door and completely burnt out the engine, he'll see the mech there sporting a funny little smirk. Helicopter mechanics are indifferent to attempts at discipline or regimentation other than the discipline of their craft. It's accepted that a good mechanic's personality should contain unpredictable mixtures of irascibility and nonchalance, and should exhibit at least some bizarre behavior.

The basic operation of a mechanic involves four steps:
1. Clean an aircraft. Get out a hose or bucket, a broom, and some rags, and at some strange time of day, like early morning, or when you would normally take your afternoon nap) start cleaning that bird from top to bottom, inside and out. This is guaranteed to knock even the sourest old wrench off balance. He'll be suspicious, but he'll be attracted to this strange behavior like a passing motorist to a roadside accident. He may even join in to make sure you don't break anything. Before you know it , you'll be talking to each other about the aircraft while you're getting a more intimate knowledge of it. Maybe while you're mucking out the pilot's station, you'll see how rude it is to leave coffee cups, candy wrappers, cigarette butts, and other trash behind to be cleaned up.
2. Do a thorough pre-flight. Most mechanics are willing to admit to themselves that they might make a mistake, and since a lot of his work must be done at night or in a hurry, a good one likes to have his work checked. Of course he'd rather have another mech do the checking, but a driver is better than nothing. Although they cultivate a deadpan, don't-give-a-damn attitude, mechanics have nightmares about forgetting to torque a nut or leaving tools in inlets and drive shaft tunnels. A mech will let little gigs slide on a machine that is never pre-flighted, not because they won't be noticed, but because he figures the driver will overlook something big someday, and the whole thing will end up in a smoking pile of rubble anyway.
3. Don't abuse the machinery. Mechanics see drivers come and go, so you won't impress one in a thousand with what you can make the aircraft do. They all know she'll lift more than max gross, and will do a hammerhead with half roll. While the driver is confident that the blades and engine and massive frame members will take it, the mech knows that it's the seals and bearings and rivets deep in the guts of the machine that fail from abuse. In a driver mechanics aren't looking for fancy expensive clothes, flashy girlfriends, tricky maneuvers, and lots of juicy stories about Viet Nam. They're looking for one who'll fly the thing so that all the components make their full service life. They also know that high maintenance costs are a good excuse to keep salaries low.
4. Do a post-flight inspection. Nothing feels more deliciously dashing than to end the day by stepping down from the bird and walking off into the sunset while the blade slowly turns down. It's the stuff that beer commercials are made of. The trouble is, it leaves the pilot ignorant of how the aircraft has fared after a hard days work, and leaves the wrench doing a slow burn. The mechanic is an engineer, not a groom, and needs some fresh, first hand information on the aircraft's performance if he is to have it ready to go the next day. A little end-of-the-day conference also gives you one more chance to get him in the short ribs. Tell him the thing flew good. It's been known to make them faint dead away.

As you can see, operating a helicopter mechanic is simple, but it is not easy. What it boils down to is that if a pilot performs his pilot rituals religiously in no time at all he will find the mechanic operating smoothly. ( I have not attempted to explain how to make friends with a mechanic, for that is not known.) Helicopter pilots and mechanics have a strange relationship. It's a symbiotic partnership because one's job depends on the other, but it's an adversary situation too, since one's job is to provide the helicopter with loving care, and the other's is to provide wear and tear. Pilots will probably always regard mechanics as lazy, lecherous, intemperate swine who couldn't make it through flight school, and mechanics will always be convinced that pilots are petulant children with pathological ego problems, a big watch, and a little whatchamacallit. Both points of view are viciously slanderous, of course, and only partly true.

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The General's Physical

The General goes to the flight surgeon for his physical exam. The surgeon says, "General, what kind of problems are you having?". The General says "None whatsoever".

Surgeon says "What about your sex life, when was the last time you had sex?"

The General says "1959".

The Surgeon says "Wow, that's a long time ago".

The General says "But it's only 0830."

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Most of you are probably familiar with John Gillespie Magee Jr's famous poem. You may be less familiar with its FAA Supplement, or its counterpart for low-level flying...

High Flight

Federal Aviation Administration Supplement 1:

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
Flight crews must insure that all surly bonds have been slipped entirely before aircraft taxi or flight is attempted.
And danced the skies on laughter silvered wings;
During periods of severe sky dancing, the FASTEN SEATBELT sign must remain constantly illuminated.
Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth
Sunward climbs must not exceed the maximum permitted aircraft ceiling.
Passenger aircraft are prohibited from joining the tumbling mirth.
Of sun-split clouds and done a hundred things
Pilots flying through sun-split clouds must comply with all applicable visual and instrument flight rules.
You have not dreamed of --
Do not perform these hundred things in front of Federal Aviation Administration inspectors.
Wheeled and soared and swung
Wheeling, soaring, and swinging will not be accomplished simultaneously except by pilots in the flight simulator or in their own aircraft on their own time.
High in the sunlit silence.
Be advised that sunlit silence will occur only when a major engine malfunction has occurred.
Hov'ring there
"Hov'ring there" will constitute a highly reliable signal that a flight emergency is imminent.
I've chased the shouting wind along and flung
Forecasts of shouting winds are available from the local FSS. Encounters with unexpected shouting winds should be reported by pilots.
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Be forewarned that pilot craft-flinging is a leading cause of passenger airsickness.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue
Should any crewmember or passenger experience delirium while in the burning blue, submit an irregularity report upon flight termination.
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
Windswept heights will be topped by a minimum of 1,000 feet to provide separation from commercial jet routes.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew;
Aircraft engine ingestion of, or imact with, larks or eagles should be reported to the FAA and the appropriate aircraft maintenance activity.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Air Traffic Control (ATC) must issue all special clearances for treading the high untresspassed sanctity of space.
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
FAA regulations state that no one may sacrifice aircraft cabin pressure to open aircraft windows or doors while in flight, even to touch a diety.

Low Flight

Oh! I've slipped through the swirling clouds of dust,
a few feet from the dirt,
I've flown my aircraft low enough,
to make my bottom hurt.
I've TFO'd the deserts, hills, valleys
and mountains too,
Frolicked in the trees,
where only flying squirrels flew.
Chased the frightened cows along,
disturbed the ram and ewe,
And done a hundred other things,
that you'd not care to do.
I've smacked the tiny sparrow,
bluebird, robin, all the rest,
I've ingested baby eaglets,
simply sucked them from their nest!
I've streaked through total darkness,
just the other guy and me,
And spent the night in terror of
things I could not see.
I've turned my eyes to heaven,
as I sweated through the flight,
Put out my hand and touched,
the master caution light.

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The New Colonel

Having just moved into his new office, a pompous new colonel was sitting at his desk when an airman knocked on the door. Conscious of his new position, the colonel quickly picked up the phone, told the airman to enter, then said into the phone, "Yes, General, I'll be seeing him this afternoon and I'll pass along your message. In the meantime, thank you for your good wishes, sir." Feeling as though he had sufficiently impressed the young enlisted man, he asked, "What do you want?"

"Nothing important, sir," the airman replied, "just here to hook up your telephone."

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The Barber

An airman finds a barber shop near the base and goes inside for a haircut. After getting a nice, short flat-top, the airman asks how much he should pay.

"No charge, son" replies the barber, "Your dedication and sacrifice in the service of our nation is payment enough."

The next day, as he opens shop, the barber finds a squadron T-shirt and a thank-you note left by his customer. Later that day, a staff sergeant comes in, asking the barber to take a little bit off the sides. When the haircut was complete and the NCO reaches for his wallet, the barber again says:

"No charge, sergeant. Your dedication and sacrifice in the service of our nation is payment enough."

The next day, as he opens shop, he is pleased to find an Air Force hat and a squadron coin by the door, with a thank-you note. Later that day, a colonel comes in, asking if the barber can do something to cover his bald spot. The barber obliges, and when it comes time to pay, he again says:

"No charge, sir. Your dedication and sacrifice in the service of our nation is payment enough."

The barber comes to work the next day and finds on his doorstep ... three more Air Force colonels.

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Message from Starfleet

The loadmaster on a USAF C-130 was invited to take the engineer's seat for awhile. He started jabbering away, not realizing that he was trans- mitting on Uniform instead of over the ICS: LM: "Hey, this is great! I see why you engineers like this seat so much -- you can see everything from here! This is just like the starship Enterprise! All ahead, Mr. Sulu, warp factor ten!"

Followed shortly afterward by: "You wanna get back on intercom, Captain Kirk? You're transmitting on my frequency!"

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Last Update: Sep 2001