Las Pulgas Area, 1980something
(a couple of months after the last time...)
It's another fine day in the Corps, every day a holiday, every meal a feast.
Except that they forget to tell me that every other month means I've got the Duty. And invariably, on a weekend.
So, naturally, owing to my superior job performance last time, Battery Gunny drops another tactical exercise on me before we secure for the weekend.
"Water that lawn."
"Lawn" is a charitable description. What it is, is a pair of scraggly 6 foot wide by 100 yard long strips between the building and the parking lot on each side, with random patches of grass, and a couple of dozen ankle-twisting gopher holes. Included among their random casualties on more than one occasion has been yours truly.
"But Gunny, it's full of gopher holes."
"Yeah. Do what you can about that, too."
And after Fredo's got the pole in his hand, and he's looking the other way, see that he doesn't make it back to the dock.
"Aye aye, Gunny."
"Problem: Given a patch of lunar landscape, a tactical unit, comprised of one NCO, and equipped with 100' of rubber hose, a shovel, and a pressurized water supply, will clear enemy bunkers, and hold and improve the position IAW commander's intent until relieved."
And hey, I'd seen Caddyshack. Unfortunately, no C-4 and blasting machines.
So instead, I deployed the hose. Found a nice big hole, snaked 3-4' of hose into it, and let rip with the pressure. Then went to the Duty office to catch up on letter-writing.
When I came out to survey my domain an hour later, water has percolated up out of three other holes, and is now starting to drain onto the parking area. As I'm picking out a new complex, I catch sight of my elusive prey: the Varmint Cong!
I finish my next deployment of hose and fire it up, then retrieve a shovel from the supply locker.
Victor Charles is stretched out prone, looking rather waterlogged. And, I swear to Buddha, doing the cartoon-approved "Kaff! Kaff!" of every near-drowning victim in every cartoon from Chip and Dale to Bugs Bunny ever made. Like a wet little house pet with a hairball. So, apparently, gophers don't have gills. Pity, that. I cock back with the shovel to make gopher pate, and just as my swing is at the apex, a voice from behind me says,
"What are you doing?"
It's Sgt. Fiveminutestoolate, famous platoon guide who's always brilliant, just a bit tardy with his pearls of wisdom. In this case, in his liberty attire, heading out for the weekend.
"Oh, just taking care of the First Sergeant's gopher problem, Sgt." I reply non-chalantly.
"Well, don't get caught. The base game wardens from Provost Marshall's Office will cite the unit and skin you alive they find out you're dispatching wildlife on post. Everything's protected except mosquitoes."
"You're $#!^^ing me."
"Nope. Gospel truth. They take that tree-hugging noise pretty serious at Base HQ."
Son of a...! After the Mouse Massacre, I don't need any more heart-to-heart chats with First Sergeant. And yet, they told me to get rid of the gopher problem. So clearly, it's time to deploy Initiative, Judgement, and Integrity to solve this little poser.
Meanwhile, Mister Charles is drying off a bit, and getting a bit friskier as he coughs up most of that delicious base tap water I was putting out for him to drink, Officer, I swear. So I decide that, like the Forest Service on the Wonderful World of Disney, if I can't dispatch the unruly bears, I'll transplant them. In this instance, just across the road.
Our side, the west side, of the road, is nothing but barracks, warehouses, parade field, chow hall, armory, and all the other stuff we need to kill people and break things when so ordered. But the east side of the road, just across the street, is boundless square miles of gopher paradise.
So instead of rendering Victor Charles into crow bait, I gently scoop him up with the business end of the long shovel, walk him across the road, and deposit him daintily on a nice piece of real estate, safe and sound, and freshly laundered.
PMO's duly appointed Game Wardens can now officially eat me.
An hour later, 5 more holes are bubbling over like Jed Clampett's pool of crude. And two more relatives of Mister Charles are doing the land crawl. Once again, I scoop up the furry little bastards and drop them off on their new homeland to the east. I note that Mr. Charles has already made a hasty escape, and is not where I left him.
By dark, all the holes have percolated with a satisfying fullness. And I've made half a dozen trips across the road with about a dozen gophers, killing not a blessed one, ye minions of stupidity, note it well!
Lacking a body count, and suitably warned off in my prior encounter with the First Sergeant, no entry was made in the duty logs outside the normally expected prose.
But when 1600 Saturday rolled around, all the gopher holes had been filled in, and the grass median was as flat as a billiard table. Seeding it can be some other schmuck's problem, but at least I'll never twist another ankle coming and going to morning PT in the dark.
Mission accomplished, Gunny.
In fact, the little freeloaders got a bath and free drinks, courtesy of me and Uncle Sam.
So I guess I could report that the gopher's quarters were given a proper Field Day.
And no godless communist bastard gophers were harmed in the making of this post.