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Limey.
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9mm story
Oct 2nd, 2014 at 6:45pm
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A 9mm story      
This was told to me in the NAAFI bar, like your PX, the evening after it happened, by my doleful friend Carrot.
Carrot and the gun
A 9mm pistol can have a devastating effect on a man. You don’t even have to fire the damned thing.

Carrot and I were of similar vintage, and both in our second tour in Norn Aaarnd (the local pronunciation of ‘Northern Ireland’). You may call it something else, depending on your political proclivities. ‘Ulster’ is fairly non inflammatory. ‘The Loyal North’ has connotations. ‘The Six Counties’ even more so. ‘The bloody British occupied zone’ kinda gives things away a bit.
We were there as part of the Army’s interminable (so we thought then) involvement with the locals. They had a tendency to shoot, knife, explode, kidnap and torture each other. The Army tried to keep this to a minimum by judicious application of pick axe handles, tear gas, size eleven boots and baton rounds. It was fun all the way, especially in the rain.
Carrot and I were attached to force HQ in a covert role. We spent our days in plain clothes, driving around the province in unmarked cars. Sounds exciting.  Actually it was dead boring, we were document and kit couriers in the main. We were armed, of course, for self defence, with the venerable but highly effective L9A1 Browning hi-power 9mm, pistol, enemies for the shooting of. These were annoying as our holsters were belt mount not shoulder, so they tended to dig in uncomfortably when driving.
Having said that, striding around base with a cheeky pistol grip protruding from the trouser  did make the girls think more of you, compared to the green clad hordes of normal duties dudes. Unfortunately the girls were mostly serving soldiers themselves, many of them hooked up with dangerous loons in the Paras . The single ones tended to look like gargoyles, up to and including the eighth pint. After that they looked like that bird out of that band.
You know the one, big tits, hair. Charlene was it? Nigella? Something like that.
Where was I?

Ah yes. A typical day would be reveille around 5.30, huge Irish fried breakfast, then in to the unit office to be briefed. We took packages all over, calling ourselves the Romeo Two team. Mostly we were in our early twenties, and enjoyed growing our hair out a bit. At the briefing we were encouraged to slump and slouch, military bearing being frowned upon as a potential give away to the watching eyes of the ‘dickers’, IRA intelligence teams, when out and about. I know these guys existed, but frankly the general standard of IRA eptitude , looking back, makes me think we worried too much. Mind, a few years before we had lost two JNCOs on identical duty who were beaten, stabbed and shot to death by a crowd of IRA supporters when they were spotted as soldiers.
I was good at looking non-military. I could manage it in uniform, according to the Sergeant Major of our Squadron. Carrot was even more accomplished. You could dress him up as a Life Guard and put him outside Buckingham Palace and he’d look unmilitary. It was his face. He always looked like he was trying not to laugh at the ridiculous situation he was in.
We’d be told what items were needed at which ‘det’ (detachment) and then work out routes. We never took the same car to the same det more than a couple of times in a month, and never with the same registration plate or driver. This gave us a lot of variety day to day.
If one of the ‘bandit country’ (South Armargh) hilltop dets needed a visit, we’d book an Army helicopter from the nearest secure base. If an Army helicopter wasn’t available, with a sinking heart, we’d book CrabAir, AKA the Royal Air Force. No love was lost. Personally, I’d have sooner walked and taken my chances.


Carrot was on a South run, to a hilltop site. He went down in a Ford, to the Helicopter base at Bessbrook, then got a chopper out to his ultimate destination. He was carrying some super duper secret stuff, plus a bag of chocolate, jam, cup-a-soup and porn as ordered on the sly by the lads.

Mission accomplished, he was back at his car by about two PM, booking his route card in, doing a radio check, loading his pistol at the sandpit and calmly driving off. Alone, which was unusual, but Int was of the opinion that threat was low, and we were short of people as many of the team were back in uniform on patrol duty.
Usually, the guys on guard at Bessbrook were of a morose demeanour, or ‘right mardy f*****g wankers’.
No surprise; they were the intellectually subnormal gibbons who were too dumb to even make it in to the Infantry and had wound up as Pioneers. My Great-Grandad was a Pioneer, Dad says he was out-thought by his own boots even when sober.
Carrot tells me that he was pleasantly surprised by the Pioneer (AKA ‘Chunky’) on gate that day, who waved cheerfully as Carrot motored off up the lane – he saw this in the mirror of the car. Nice, he thought, to be so friendly.
The drive back to Belfast was easy and under 90 minutes. Carrot got there in good time, planning to check in his kit, bash the car in to the spannerers in Motor Transport, do a quick report and hit the bar.
However, he was slightly perturbed to see, standing outside his office near the in-gate, our Squadron Sergeant Major, looking even more like a nasty bastard who hates everyone than he usually did. The SSM was standing, arms folded, feet akimbo, staring in to the middle distance with a bit of a look on his face. He seemed to note Carrot’s appearance in the Ford,
« Last Edit: Oct 2nd, 2014 at 7:37pm by Limey. »  

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Limey.
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Re: 9mm story
Reply #1 - Oct 2nd, 2014 at 6:46pm
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He seemed to note Carrot’s appearance in the Ford, which parked next to the sandpit so that Carrot could hop out to do his unload drill prior to putting the 9mm back in the Armoury.

‘Afternoon, Cpl Carrot’ said the SSM in his honeyed voice. If honey had glass powder in it. Or if bees are Fascists.

‘Afternoon Sir’ said Carrot, walking to the pit and reaching in to his belt for the Browning.

Shit. No Browning.
Carrot was something of a quick thinker and didn’t want to look like a thingy for having left the gat in the car. He nonchalantly turned half-away from the SSM, and pretended to be unloading a Browning L9A1 in a cool, focussed and highly proficient manner. ‘I’ll just stroll back to the car, it’ll be under the bloody seat, can’t let the SSM see me being a tool like this’ he thought.
‘Make sure you don’t ND that weapon Corporal’ said the SSM, turning to walk away. ‘Oh and see me in my office in thirty minutes’.

‘No Sir, and yes Sir.’ – whew, relief. Back to the car. Drive car to MT. Search, increasingly desperately, for gun. Oh deary deary me. No gun. Not even a little one.

OK, first things first, Armourer has no expectation of a time in for it, these trips can take days, so this won’t be a big deal, the lads can help me dismantle the f*****g car tonight, it must have slipped in to a crevice under a seat or something. Let’s go and see what the bastard SSM wants.

Deep breathing to calm down, Carrot strode off to the SSM appointment. Still in jeans and jacket, doing that odd half-smart walk, half-slouch we all did on base in civvies.
He knocked on the SSMs door, and was curtly told ‘In’.

‘In’, he duly ambled, smartly.

The SSM was sat behind his desk in the Spartan office. He had his arms folded again. He was staring. He looked grim. Grim, Carrot told me, was exactly the right word.

On the desk was a very nicely gift wrapped box, about the size of a shoe box for a pair of child’s shoes. It was shiny with gold paper, and even had a ribbon around it.

‘Cpl Carrot, is there anything you need to tell me about your trip to Fermanagh today?’ asked the SSM.

Carrot had a very nasty feeling, but took a snap decision not to act on it.

‘No Sir, nowt unusual, not really’
‘Was the Chunky unusually amicable towards you Cpl Carrot?’
This was spooky.
‘Well, funny you should say that Sir, yes he was’.
‘Maybe he knew it was your birthday today Cpl Carrot’.
Carrot felt things were taking a turn for the surreal.

‘It ain’t my birthday Sir’.
‘Oh? Well, I got you a present anyway. Here. Open it. I want to see your happy face’.
I think we can all see this coming, as indeed could Carrot. However, it was too late not to play along, so he took the box and carefully, as slowly as possible, opened it. The SSM never moved nor did his face twitch.
Inside the box, nestled in newspaper, was a Browning.
‘Oh Sir! You shouldn’t have! It’s my favourite sort of small firearm!’
‘I’m just going to stare at you for a minute or two now Corporal. Or should I say Private. Don’t say anything.’

The SSM proceeded to stare. Carrot, just in case the information might be handy, checked if the Browning was loaded. No, it wasn’t.
‘Right, I have now finished staring at you’. To Carrot, this was good, as he had been feeling a little bothered by the situation and was keen to move things along to a conclusion.

‘Oh, er, oh, Sir’.
‘Indeed. Do you know what you did today at Bessbrook?’
‘Ermmmm did I drop my gun Sir?’
‘Yes you did. You f*****g idiot. You put it on the roof of the Ford as you were fannying about with your radio, you f*****g idiot, and then you drove off. The f*****g chunky noticed. He shouted and waved. You waved back, you f*****g idiot, and carried on driving, you f*****g idiot. They had to send a patrol out to find your f*****g pistol, you f*****g idiot, which was lying in the road round the corner. You f*****g idiot. It was put in a heli what was coming here, you f*****g idiot. I was there to meet it, you f*****g idiot. I went down the NAAFI and got some shiny paper and a f*****g ribbon, you f*****g idiot, all in good time to set up this little humiliation, you f*****g idiot, for you. You are on a charge, you f*****g idiot.
What are you?’
‘Erm, there’s a lot of true answers to that Sir, I suspect the one you’d like is, I am a f*****g idiot on a charge?’
‘Correct. You will be in front of the Colonel at 0800 tomorrow, get a haircut, find some uniform, loosen the threads on your stripes, you are going to get bust and be a laughing stock, you f*****g idiot. I suggest now would be a good time to hit the bar, you f*****g idiot, before your pay cut and while you can still go in the Corporals’ Mess. You f*****g idiot.’

Twenty minutes later he was wrapping himself around his third Irish Handful and telling me all about it.

I would like to tell you that I was sympathetic, supportive and sensitive, but in fact I laughed like a horse and couldn’t stop.

Like I said, a 9mm can devastate a man, you don’t even need to fire it. You can just drop it off a car roof.

Carrot was a good friend of mine, no, not me, not this time, you can’t prove a thing,
« Last Edit: Oct 2nd, 2014 at 7:41pm by Limey. »  

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Re: 9mm story
Reply #2 - Oct 5th, 2014 at 1:04am
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Grin Grin Cool Cool
  
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Limey.
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Re: 9mm story
Reply #3 - Oct 9th, 2014 at 7:24pm
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Would anyone like more tales of Carrot? I've 3 or 4....
  

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EF
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Re: 9mm story
Reply #4 - Oct 13th, 2014 at 12:42pm
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Limey. wrote on Oct 9th, 2014 at 7:24pm:
Would anyone like more tales of Carrot? I've 3 or 4....


I would. 

I think your squadron sgt. major was a bit of a hard case.  And on this side of the pond, we don't call enlisted men "sir" no matter how many stripes they have.  In fact, on the rare occasion it happens when a new guy calls an NCO sir, the new guy usually gets yelled at in this manner "DON'T CALL ME SIR, DICKHEAD!  I WORK FOR A LIVING!"
  

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Limey.
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Re: 9mm story
Reply #5 - Oct 13th, 2014 at 5:57pm
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EF wrote on Oct 13th, 2014 at 12:42pm:
I would. 

I think your squadron sgt. major was a bit of a hard case.  And on this side of the pond, we don't call enlisted men "sir" no matter how many stripes they have.  In fact, on the rare occasion it happens when a new guy calls an NCO sir, the new guy usually gets yelled at in this manner "DON'T CALL ME SIR, DICKHEAD!  I WORK FOR A LIVING!"


Same here below Warrant Officer 2nd Class (WO2).

On t'other hand you miss out on the classic from interactions between officer trainees & Sgt. Majors:

WO2: You call me "Sir", Sir, and I call you "Sir", Sir.

The difference is, Sir, you fukcing mean it Sir!
  

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Re: 9mm story
Reply #6 - Oct 14th, 2014 at 9:49am
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Limey. wrote on Oct 9th, 2014 at 7:24pm:
Would anyone like more tales of Carrot? I've 3 or 4....

Yeah, give us some more.  Funny stuff.
  

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