38 Simulated Combat Drops?? Yeah, We’re Dead!

| September 12, 2018

I love the first two movies in this bunch. “Alien” was a spook show, with more McGuffins than Hitchcock ever dreamed of. If you had a date with you, I’m sure that afterwards, you had some kind of reward for your effort.

The second one, simply titled ‘Aliens’ put poor old Ripley right back into her worst nightmare in the company of Colonial Marines led by a greenhorn 2nd Lieutenant who had a record of 38 simulated combat drops (whoopee!), and a crusty, grumpy, sarcastic, cigar-chomping Sergeant Apone who would start his day with a cigar before breakfast. He was  played by Al Matthews, who had 13 years of Marine Corps AD life, a good portion of it in Vietnam. Now, he’s a musician and composer.


I’m just going to leave this here and let you Marines tell me if you think the assessment of the movie’s Colonial Marines is close to the mark.

Do the Marines always get the junk the Army doesn’t want or like?

Is there only one whiny private in a unit?

Is every 2nd Lieutenant an idiot with a poker up his backside until he’s been shot at a bunch of times?

Are all boot Hershey Bar Lieutenants so dumb they’d get lost in a shoebox, even with a map, a compass, and a flashlight?

Are the pranks as harmless as the one in the movie?

Do the Marines get the MREs that nobody else wants? That mealtime scene, where Drake asks ‘What is this?” referring to the yellow block on his tray, and Hicks, “It’s supposed to be cornbread. It’s good for you. Eat it.” I figure a full carton of MREs with fish that no one will eat would be an Army reject.

Anything you want to add to that is fine by me.  There’s other stuff, too, but those are a start.

If you haven’t seen those two movies, I have to ask “What planet are you from?”


Category: "The Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves", "Truth or fiction?"

Comments (76)

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  1. chooee lee says:

    I dont know anything about MRE’s but I do remember one time on the Midway we ran out of fresh milk and had to drink powdered.

    We ran out of ice cream at the same time.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      You poor thing, you! It’s milk. It’s good for you, sailor. Drink it!

    • E4 Mafia For Life. says:

      I recall while in Desert ‘Nam reading sailors were whining about not having canned soda and had fountain drinks. Because of foreign object disposal onboard carriers, etc.
      I would have gladly traded my 100 degree canned soda for a cold fountain drink.

      • timactual says:

        When I was in the Green Place we were occasionally issued ice, cube, 1 ea., to go with our 100 degree soda/beer. I actually grew to sorta kinda like warm beer.

    • NHSparky says:

      You poor SOB. We ran out of cow about a week in, less if we turned the reefer into another freezer for longer ops.

      Ditto fresh fruits and vegetables.

      Eggs we stored in the bilges where they were kept cooler. But even after about 6 weeks we were doing powdered.

      After my first op (Jorge may be able to back me up on this) we were doing a stores load. Down comes a box of lettuce. One of the sonar techs grabs a head out of the box and eats it like an oversized apple as he’s passing boxes down. Yeah. It’s kinda like that.

  2. Cptsmith says:

    Game over,man!

  3. JacktheJarhead says:

    Loved Aliens and still do. It is the closet thing to a rifle platoon you will get without going through Parris Island, ITR and into the fleet.

  4. Sapper3307 says:

    I jumped into NTC with an O-3 observer controller with almost 100 jumps under his belt about 95 of them were from helicopters as admin jumps. That was his first night time, mass tac, combat jump. when we gave the “TWO MINUTES” warning he looked like death warmed over.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Oooh! He hadn’t jumped at night? I’d bet he was pale!

      I think that they did that in Normandy during WWII, didn’t they? Yeah, here it is, briefly:

      Around 13,100 American paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions made night parachute drops early on D-Day, June 6, followed by 3,937 glider troops flown in by day. As the opening maneuver of Operation Neptune (the assault operation for Overlord) the two American airborne divisions were delivered to the continent in two parachute and six glider missions.

      Thank you!

    • Tony180A says:

      “Two minutes” warning ??

      • Martinjmpr says:

        May be Sapper was watching a football game when he wrote that. 😉

        It’s been more than 15 years since I was a jumpmaster but I seem to recall the time warnings as 20 minutes, 10 minutes, 6 minutes, 1 minute and 30 seconds. On some short flights the 20 and 10 minute warnings were moot.

        • Tony180A says:

          You are correct on the time warnings. I can remember giving 10 min warning immediately on takeoff from CAAF followed by 6 minutes about 30 seconds later. My last static line jump I ended up on a chalk with two jumpers wearing red helmets, I made sure I was the last man on that chalk.

  5. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    “If you haven’t seen those two movies, I have to ask ‘“What planet are you from?”’


  6. thebesig says:

    I was infantry, but some of what I read there is applicable across the branches, and across all or most MOSs.

    1. Finding aliens (bad guy) and killing them.

    We train to fight “OPFOR” during our field training exercises. Deployed, we roll out prepared to fight, but hoping for the best. It’s a mixed bag, and you’ll get different reactions from different folk regarding this.

    I remember one time, our company commander was in one of the Battalion patrol bases in Iraq. We were in our company patrol base further south along highway 1.

    His “motivator” to get our platoon to go out to his location to pick him up? “I’ve heard gunfire here and there.” Definitely a motivator. :mrgreen:

    2. They know how to pull pranks.

    Definitely, and not just in the infantry. The most common prank is sending someone to look for grid squares, fifty feet of chow line, or true bearing grease.

    I’ve seen other pranks pulled as well, like a private taped to a chair outside the hooches, or someone locked inside his hooch.

    The hours leading to the crossing of the line ceremony tends to be filled with pranking. :mrgreen:

    3. Whiny private.

    Yes, more than one. We even have whiny specialists. Dito with whiny seamen.

    4. Experts at talking crap to each other.

    Yes, and we even use cusswords as terms of endearment for each other.

    5. Gear don’t work very well.

    I’ve found that if you maintain your gear, function check it, do regular maintenace, etc., it pays dividends.

    No, we don’t give our “junk” to the Marines. Instead, the active components of each branch gets the best equipment. They’re outfitted first before the reserve components get outfitted. There are some exceptions to this.

    If you see a picture of Soldiers with the new uniforms, but wearing the old uniform pattern field gear, you might be looking at reservists.

    6. Crusty old timer who doesn’t take crap.

    Not just the platoon sergeant, but the older folk. I’m one of those “crusty old timers” that don’t take crap. Been accused of “creating a hostile work environment” as a result. This is with the application of old school leadership style.

    7. Pissed off all the time.

    Don’t let combat arm’s demeanor fool you. We’re not pissed all the time, but we tend to be more “abrasive” compared to non combat arms. Of course, those of us from the old military will come across as “pissed off” to most of the new service members today. This isn’t just restricted to combat arms.

    See point’s 4 and 6.

    8. The boot LT has no clue about what he’s doing…

    In many cases, across all branches, this is the appearance they give. This isn’t absolute though, we have mustangs, and some real good non prior service. I mark it up to a lack of experience.

    We understand that, and work with it.

    But, there are times when we get the boot officer who hasn’t shaken off the mindset that he had while going through the academy, or ROTC, where they were at their cadet upper level management and they “were the pinnacle” in their AO.

    Heck, I remember when a buck ensign tried to saddle me with a mentally slow Sailor. We were doing operations within a couple of miles from Mogadishu, and the fathometer readings were showing that the sea floor was getting closer to the bottom of the ship.

    We were doing night operations with the other ships. I refused to take his sailor under my wing. This resulted into an exchange between said boot officer and me. The watch officer, my division officer, was present, and intervened. After hearing both sides of the issue, he sided with me.

    After the watch officer went elsewhere, the boot ensign, an Academy grad, told me some nonsense that had I been more sophisticated I would understand his position. I told him he’d understand mine once he gets real Navy experience under his belt. :mrgreen:

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      I figured that since Al Matthews was a Marine, he “advised” the producers how real Marines should act to get it right.

      Thank you! I found the best officers at any rank were mustangs and Warrants, and the Academy ensigns were stuck on their social level until they got taken down a peg or two.

    • My, My, My says:

      Item 2: I finished Basic, AIT, ABN, etc at Ft. Benning. Off to Ft. Lewis to my unit as a newbie private E-2.
      The Prank: Squad leader sent me for a box of Grid squares. I went to Supply got a Tenino Map, scissors, black magic marker, and masking tape. Went to chow hall, got a small box of cereal. Cut the 1:500000 map into grid squares, dumped cereal out and replaced with the squares. Covered box with masking tap, and added the title of “Acme Grid Squares” to the box. Reported back to squad leader. I think I got smoked for about 2 hours all with a smile on my face :).

      Also, prank wise, don’t forget about the Atomic Sit-up.

      • RGR 4-78 says:

        Riser grease and canopy lights.

      • 11B-Mailclerk says:

        I too procured a “box of grid squares”. (Grin)

      • Twist says:

        I fell for the M203 blank adaptor when I was a cherry private.

        • Jon The Mechanic says:

          I was working in the Arms room at my first unit after having received my sham shield and we had a private just open the door, walk in, and pull his assigned weapon out of the rack.

          The armorer and I just about lost our minds, and sent said young pvt to C Co 1/87 to get a box of blank adapters for the 203. About 45 minutes later, he returned with the Brigade S-4 NCOIC, the Bn S-4 NCOIC, and the 10th Mtn div CSM.

          Apparently, someone sent him to division HQ, and he was trying to gain access to the SCIF.

          We had a long week…

      • Deplorable B Woodman says:

        When I was in (commo, radio repair), it was, “frequency grease”, “squelch grease”, “muffler bearings”, and my favorite, “private, we got a top secret message and recorded it on TTY paper tape. Now, the tape is secured in that safe over there. But I want you to sort this pile of chad, and separate the secure chad from the unsecure chad.”

      • NHSparky says:

        First boat, preparing to get underway, I told a kid he needed to get a 10-lb water hammer. He seemed suspicious at first, but he bought it.

        I got on the JA and told the next people to keep it going.

        5 minutes before underway, Chief of the Boat (COB) sees him walking down the pier towards 38N (nuclear repair) shop. Hilarity ensues.

    • Sapper3307 says:

      CS powder placed in the heater ducts of non running trucks is fun on a cold day. Just wait for the trucks to start.

    • AW1Ed says:

      Pad eye wrench, 100 feet of flight line, but the best was the Sea Bat.

    • timactual says:

      My introduction to a mech. inf. unit was to be sent to the Motor Sgt. for a tire pressure gauge for our M-113. His reply was very specific and very rude.

    • SaraSnipe says:

      The “boom” check on artillery pieces. I once saw an older NCO with a lot of badges and high speed patches holding his hands over the openings of the muzzle brake on a M119A2 shouting “boom” into the bore. He was re-classing 13B at the MOS-T schoolhouse in Oklahoma City. When I saw this, I just looked at the grinning E4 mafiosos, and said,”you motherfuckers”. That was when the NCO realized he got pranked. He thought it was hilarious.
      In the USN, I used to get passengers coming down to the pot looking for a “steam blanket”. We used to get pretty creative with that too.

    • A Terminal Lance Coolie says:

      Done grid squares, chow line, Humvee keys and blinker fluid, too.

      We’d tell our boots we needed a radio, and to go ask an NCO for a Prick E-(insert grade here). Since we referred to our PRC-119s and -150s as Prick-119, etc, they’d inevitably go do it. Best results were always obtained by sending them to Gunny, especially if said boot was a shitbag.

      Well, except for the one boot with brains. There was always one.

      • Garold says:

        PRC-119s, now we’re speaking the same language.

      • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

        When I was a wet-behind-the-ears E3 fresh out of AIT someone tried to send me to get some blinker fluid and knowing he was full of shit, I just snuck off behind a Motor Pool shed and sat on my ass for a good 25-30 minutes!

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      Sending someone after a bottle of Cable Stretching Oil was my favorite. In my Unit in Korea one of the Line Platoons had a green Joe looking for chem light batteries for two days straight! Ever send someone looking for squelch oil for a radio? BTDT!

    • Deplorable B Woodman says:

      And my all time favorite…. a squad was moving CONEXs around in a lot. The sergeant told the private to go get a sky hook to help move the CONEXs. So…….. the private went to the nearby airfield, and told the OOD what the sergeant wanted.
      Next thing you knew, there was a helo landing at the CONEX, and the pilot asking “what the fuck?”
      I believe (or so I was told) the NCO got a letter of reprimand and had to pay for the helo fuel and the pilot’s time.

  7. Fjardeson says:

    OK, I’ve thought about it. Let’s take off and nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Mine the valley floor with nuclear mines.

      Groom the landing site.

      Take off and wait for the Very Bad Guys to land and start setting up camp.

      Push the button.

      • Ex-PH2 says:

        Dammit! I pushed the button and broke a nail doing it! This is an absolute tragedy!! Look at this!!

        Are you going to live?

        I guess I’ll have to, sir.

        • Mason says:

          In accordance with the Kerry Protocol, a broken nail in a war zone qualifies for a purple heart. And maybe a bronze star.

          • Garold says:

            With the right self-written words snuck into a pile of papers to be signed and a can of spray paint one can turn that bronze into silver rather easily.

  8. SgtBob says:

    Over the years I have grown tired of reading about Marine pussies complaining about getting used gear. No Marine I knew ever said that.


    Is that M2 w/glass in the pic Carlos Hathcock’s rig?

  10. STSC(SW/SS) says:

    Hudson: He’s coming in, I feel safer already.
    Vasquez: Pendejo Jerkoff

  11. AW1Ed says:

    Too bad she’s a gun-grabbing libtard.

  12. 5th/77thFA says:

    Ripley buffed up in her tank top and bikini britches! just saying

  13. jonp says:

    We lost Bill Paxton way too soon.

    Ripley: ” I say we nuke the whole thing from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure”
    Paxton: ” Fuckin ‘A”!

    Great movie showing how people react under pressure.

  14. Garold says:

    Two of the 38 drops were real; counting the latest.

  15. Garold says:

    “Do the Marines get the MREs that nobody else wants?”

    The initial box of 12 introduced in maybe 1980 had only three I would eat, all of them chicken substance of some sort; but only with my own jar of Tabasco sauce I took with me. The few packs that had them never had enough.

    I’d have the wife send me care packages of breakfast cereal and M&Ms to live on the rest of the time. She sent me home-made tortillas once but they were green by the time they got to me.

    Years later they began to introduce many other options that were more edible.

    • Claw says:

      “had only three I would eat, all of them chicken substance”

      Are you telling us that you preferred Ham & Chicken Loaf, Chicken Ala King and Chicken Loaf over Ham Slices or Beef Stew? I would even take Baby Dicks and Beaners over those chickeny kinds of things any day.

      Man, that’s almost Un-American./smile

      • Garold says:

        Dude, the beef stew wasn’t edible. As to the ham slice, I’d use that as bartering material; as it was popular.

        On the chicken, I recall the ala king and chicken and rice but can’t remember what the third one was.

        • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

          As for the early 90’s MRE’s the Corned Beef Hash was my favorite and the Omelet with Ham was like eating drywall patch!

  16. Garold says:

    “I figure a full carton of MREs with fish that no one will eat would be an Army reject.”

    Having been embedded with the Army often, they had those nasty T-paks that were inedible. I think I got my protein by eating dirt back then.

    What I would have given for a box of MREs.

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      Ever have to eat a Vegetarian MRE? I always thought feeding that to Enemy POW’s could be considered torture and inhumane treatment by the Geneva Convention!

  17. Thunderstixx says:

    Ft Wainwright Alaska, Window binders to keep the Hawk out, Snowshoe web grease, Prick 77’s sucked, weighed 70 lbs and you had to keep the battery inside your Arctic Parka, the one left over from Korea because the US Army had been in Vietnam for the last 20 years and jungle boots work for shit at forty below…..
    My arctic sleeping bag had 4 holes in it, about 7.62mm on both sides of it right at the foot, fortunately, no blood stains…

  18. MSG Eric says:

    The biggest plot hole with Aliens is they gave ONE Platoon of Marines that huge ship.

    As if the government would ever trust a platoon of Infantry Marines or Soldiers with something that expensive and zero supervision.

  19. Dustoff says:

    Do the Marines always get the junk the Army doesn’t want or like?

    The Gamma Goat begs to differ.