Tuesday, September 21, 2010

But, But, I Might Get in Trouble!!!

This is no shit (and all times are approximate):

I was on shore duty for a spell; I was stationed in the DC area. For some reason, the Powers That Be where I worked sent me and a bunch of civilian engineers to a four-hour presentation/lunch at the Little Creek Naval Base in Virginia Beach, VA. We had to all be at work at 0530 to ride a large passenger van down (the conference started at 1000) and the van would take us back to our offices at the end of the presentation.

Most of us snoozed on the way down.

I wish I could tell you what the presentation was all about, not because it was classified, but because I just don't remember. For some reason, we had to ride out in the harbor in a LARC-LX to watch some ship do something worth seeing. It was a nice day, the water was calm, a LARC-LX is one big mother on huge wheels (like a really big DUKW) and we got to eat a buffet lunch after the boat ride. But none of that is important to this tale.

It was an hour or so after we started back to DC that it became clear to me (and others) that the driver of the van was seriously tired. He was having trouble staying in the lane on I-64. I called out to him (I was two rows back) and asked that he make a pit stop as soon as possible, with the excuse that I really had to pee, "and I mean right now."

He pulled into a truck stop and everybody got out. I made a quick run to the head and got back to the van before the driver. I climbed into the driver's seat, buckled up and waited. When the driver came back, he didn't even put up an argument. He got into the right front seat and he was out like a light just after we got back on the highway. He slept until we pulled off the highway towards the facility where we worked.

The van had three lights to monitor mileage, the idea being that you were supposed to drive in such a way as to keep the green light on. I had the yellow or red lights on the whole way back. When we got to the facility, around 1900 or so, the gate guard did a double-take when he saw that I was driving, but he saluted and I drove in to the office building, where we all got out and the driver took the van back to the motor pool.

The next day, one of the engineers buttonholed me and said: "I was really happy that you took over from that driver. I could see that he was falling asleep at the wheel. We could have all been killed."

"If you knew that, then why didn't you volunteer to drive," I asked.

"But I don't have a government driver's license," he protested. He actually seemed scandalized at the idea that he might drive a government vehicle without one.

I looked at him and smiled. "I don't have one, either. But I'm not about to let the lack of a piece of paper get me killed."

The driver, though, must have told what had happened to his boss. For three days later, without my saying a word to anyone, I received a government driver's license through the interoffice mail. The effective date on the license was back-dated to a week before the trip.

The file had been papered.


Jimh. said...

interesting! I've noticed that sometimes happens with the gov. You strike me as someone not to mess with. I suspect, if I knew you personally, I'd respect the hell out of you. Thanks again EBM!

Anonymous said...

HAHAHAH! It's easier to get forgiveness than permission.