Monday, April 22, 2024

Eclectic Skill-sets (Cumberland Saga)

“I got some bad news” Samson Davis told his heavily pregnant wife, Heddy.

She was cleaning up a puddle of vomit left by their Jack Russel puppy. In retrospect, getting a puppy while Heddy was still caring for their two-year-old and had another on the way had not been their best move.

Heddy put down what she was doing, with a sigh. She turned to face him and asked “Tell me what is going on.”

“A mob of "protesters" broke into the Armory” Samson told her. She didn’t need to ask if he meant “his” room in the basement or at the National Guard.

“When did it happen?” Heddy asked.

“Last night. The guards were directed to stand-down and just let the mob take everything they could carry” Samson told her, bitterly. “It was not reported to the press. The police have their hands full and flat-out told us that there would be no effort to retrieve the weapons.”

Samson was one of the Armorers for the North Carolina National Guard*.

Samson left the military after his second deployment. He had planned to make the military his career but "politics" tripped him up.

When deployed forward, he was required to get permission from “upper” every time he pulled his trigger in his role as a designated marksman if the target deviated the slightest bit from the Rule-of-Engagement profiles. During one firefight, Samson dumped every “skinny” who was lugging anything that looked even remotely like it might be supporting the drones overhead. That put the first letter into his file.

Samson was glad that “upper” had never found out about the 2.4GHz radio-activated Claymore mines he and his spotter had used to salt the promontory that was most favored by the drone jockeys. The buzzards ate well that week. Prior preparation and all that.

The second letter occurred when he was back in the Green-Zone and was told to report for the 8-hour, mandatory, weekly, sensitivity-training.

Samson pushed back. He had just received five, beaten up, belt-fed heavy machine-guns that needed rebuild. The only things that kept the Forward Operating Bases from being overrun were area denial fire from M-2s and aggressive sniping by teams that had infiltrated into areas where local troublemakers were known to congregate.
Arty was under-resourced and over-subscribed and slow in coming. The Airedales were even slower. The FOBs were reduced to dancing with the ones-they-brung.

The M-2s were rode hard and put away wet. Without spares, his FOBs would be left without interlocking fields of fire if they lost another M-2s. The bad-guys would figure that out soon enough.

While Samson’s commander fully agreed with him, the person walking past the open door did not and she reported it to HR.

BAM! A second letter in the file.

Samson did not re-up.

Dumped into civilian life at 27, he grabbed the first high-paying job that wanted him. It was in construction.

The unit he was in hit a month-long lull in jobs and he was going to get laid off. The site-manager knew Samson would have some time off and also knew, via the grapevine, that Samson could not afford the air-bubble in income due to family responsibilities.

Over coffee, the manager voluntold Samson that there was a place for him in the local National Guard in an Engineering Unit that he, the site-manager, just happened to be responsible for. He needed somebody who could rebuild equipment without just throwing money at it. Oh, yeah, and by-the-way, his skills would be appreciated on the shooting team. Maybe this year they could beat South Carolina. 
It was well within the Commander's authority to expedite Samson's application and to coordinate his "stints" with the National Guard and the lay-offs from construction.

Samson was in heaven. The unit’s efficiency rating was in the toilet because they were over-budget and under-equipt. The Pentagon clearly had a bone-up-its-azz with regard to North Carolina and sent them shot-up, end-of-useful-life, obsolete equipment. Spare parts, if they were available, were salvaged from the bone-yard and were only slightly more usable than the ones that were removed.

The officer who recruited him got him into 3-D printing and pointed out several custom foundries who could turn a plastic model into the cast-steel equivalent via investment casting. To a man, the owners of the foundries were patriots who had served their country in the military. They charged the NCNG time-and-materials and billed it as Miscellaneous Training.

Of course, the business owners were not stupid. They pressured their congressmen to have the replacement parts approved as “secondary sources” for the parts. A single trunnion-knuckle for a bogey-wheel on a Electro-Magnetic-warfare carrier could generate $5k in profit and every EM-warfare carrier had 14 bogey-wheels.

The tempo of deployment was hard on the equipment and worn trunnions resulted in thrown tracks. Not only was the EM-warfare package incredibly expensive, but the technology was proprietary and supreme effort was invested in recovering them...or they were demo-ed in-place to prevent the technology from being stolen by the skinnies and traded to Iran, Russian or China.

So when the diligent, intensely focused young man called from the front gate of the foundry, he was given first-class treatment and NCNG projects got high priority.
Samson's unit went from RED to BLACK for Readiness, the Maintenance budget went BLACK and the Training budget was fully-utilized.
Everybody was happy.


“I am not sure why you think that is bad news” Heddy replied.

Samson looked around the house they were leasing. A typical doctor or lawyer would have considered it a “dump” but it was the nicest house Samson and Heddy had ever lived in.

“Mostly because you won’t be delivering in a hospital” Samson said. He had grown up in rural, western Virginia and knew of some home deliveries that had not ended well.

“The second one is easy and the ones after that fall out like a string of sausages” Heddy laughed. “At least that is what Mom always said.”

What Samson could not know was that Alice had been referring to puppies.

Samson left a voice mail with his firm and informed them that he would be taking an indefinite leave-of-absence, No-Reason-Given.

The NCNG didn’t have voice mail. It had a push-button-one-for-menu-in-English system.

Then Samson called his commander on his personal phone and explained that he was resigning from the NCNG in protest of “upper” not committing the resources needed to secure the Arms Locker.

His commander understood.

There was nothing left to do but to pack and to leave.
Hat-tip to Old-NFO and Will C. for suggesting some possibilities. All errors are mine.
*My apologies to the North Carolina National Guards for any technical or organizational mistakes I made. It is not my intention to impugn the reputation of the NCNG. I have no doubt that the NCNG upholds the finest traditions of the US Military and is a bastion of world-class fighting men and women struggling to excel in an increasingly hostile world.
North Carolina had the misfortune of being well located relative to the fictitious community of Copperhead Cove.

Thank-you to all National Guardsmen, regardless of state.


  1. Wow, have we jumped from street violence and burning human flesh to outright rebellion? Oy Vay. how could even protected Evans NOT see that things were THAT BAD at "home" and video games?

    Street use in hobby drones is becoming a standard threat in the cartels vs Mexican Gov.

    Coming soon to a AO near you.

    Got a turkey gun?

    1. I talk to people who identify as "moderates".

      They get nearly all of their news from MSNBC. They know they are moderates because the talking heads at MSNBC say they are moderates.

      It never occurs to them that the main shareholder(s) of Microsoft might cut-and-edit the news to present a version of events that gives them advantage. Leave out a few details or a few seconds of video footage and perceptions can spin 180 degrees.

      Even if Evan paid any attention to the news, the parents of his buddies probably watched MSNBC or something similar. The news of the Armory being looted does not exist outside of the National Guard chain-of-command.

      And the bureaucrats in D.C. figure that there are already 15 million AR platform rifles in the US. What is a couple of hundred more?

    2. Drone attacks so common that the Military has devoted Anti-Drone Vehicles for them and M2 50 caliber machine guns interlocking fields of fire SEEMS a Bit HARD to HIDE from Joe 6 pack watching MSNBC.

      The LOSS of TRUCKING into their cities might be a CLUE?

      Or the lack of trucking through cities that prevents even the peaceful (ahem) cities and towns from getting goods might be a clue.

      I drove trucks for a year when burned out at EMS so I know how hard it is to drive and avoid major cities in cross country runs.

      No trucker has forgotten Reginald Denny and the LA Riots, even if they couldn't tell his name.

    3. From the way it's written, it seems like the drone attacks are happening where the military is deployed, likely in some nebulous "sandbox," not in the US. After the first ten years, most people did't keep up with the news in Iraq and Afghanistan, so it's unsurprising that they wouldn't notice this development.

  2. It was late 70's when the Compton Ca armory was broken into. 200+ M16 never recovered. Had to store ours at the Tustin Marine Base.

  3. As a suggestion, when refering to cities or towns, try and use the "ghost towns"! I watched a cool YouTube of a town on the Tenn-NC border actually called 'Lost Cove, NC', and man! That place is all but impossible to get to except by foot!


  4. **There is also a 'Lost Cove" Tenn too!

  5. My elderly parent who is computer illiterate only gets news from network television. They are of the Walter Cronkite generation and trusts what the talking heads say. It's no wonder the skewed opinions they have with only that input. They think I'm crazy.

  6. Anon, even your elderly parents would ask what's wrong if the grocery trucks and fuel trucks stopped running. Network TV or not.

  7. Not really msm would just blame Ragnar Danneskjöld

  8. Like ERJ, I speak and hold friendships with any number of "moderate" people, or even individuals that are not of my political beliefs. In general, they accept the news as given. But at the same time, they also seem genuinely surprised that things are not what they seem to be (e.g., much worse than what is reported), although they cannot understand why.

    That said, at least they realize there is a disconnect. Even if they cannot give the reason for it.

    1. I too have noticed a strong disconnect between my "moderate" vote blue folks and reality.

      The Normalcy Bias? Or effective Propaganda that everything not good is from the Evil Ones AKA Trumps fault?

      Seems Orville's 1984 was correct about created enemies of the people like Emanual Goldstein and the two minutes of hate.

      1984 was written as a warning but seems a operating manual for the powers that be.

    2. They will be given the result, if not the reason in due time; aka "too late".
      Boat Guy

  9. You did an excellent job with our offering!

  10. You are doing a fine job sir. I'm enjoying this.


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