MAKE THAT TWO CARTONS By Chris Meehan, Ex-Grunt
When I changed from Corps to Engineers, we had a guy in our troop who said to us, as new guys, “Don’t talk to me until you have been in as long as me.”
Once a month, one of the troops would have to clean weapons in armoury. Unbeknown to anyone, I was an ex-grunt, so as you finished cleaning a weapon, they would send you back to clean another and so on until all were done. Well, suddenly I was given an M60, but as I was new, the guy who’d mouthed off at us new guys said, “Wait a second, Reo, I’ll show you how to strip it.” Well, he came over and showed me how to strip it and then said, “Clean it and I’ll come back to assemble it.”
He came back 10 mins later and somehow the feed plate, feed cover, hand guard, pistol group and bolt were stripped. He asked what had happened and I replied that I didn’t know as I was new.
A few days later we started IMT – infantry minor tactics – lessons on patrolling, ambushing etc. I found it hard to stay awake but I did. In those two weeks we were taught how to strip weapons and put them together again. When we got to the M60, the guy with the mouth challenged anyone to a race to strip and assemble it, saying, “I’ll put a carton on it.” Two of the new guys tried but he beat them.
I then said, “I’ll have a go but I’ll play you for the two cartons you won off the new guys.”
“No problem,” was his answer. I was having quite a chuckle to myself. If only he knew! Everyone gathered round and the troop sergeant started us off. Needless to say, when I finished, he looked at me and said, “You’re a quick learner and I’ll give you your cartons when we knock off work.”
As I started to walk away, I asked him, “How long you been in for?”
“Three years,” he replied.
“When you’ve done six, talk to me, okay?” I remarked.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
So I told him I’d been a grunt for six yrs before joining the Engineers.
He wasn’t happy.