Pass the Barf Bag, Please!

11 02 2012

C-130 Seating

Sometimes, while flying search and rescue for several hours aboard a C-130 out of Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth

City, North Carolina, a guy could get hungry. For that reason we carried freeze-dried meals in a water-proof bag to which you could add hot water and have a meal, such as chicken and rice or beef stew. They really were surprisingly tasty.

A friend of mine, John, was one of two crew members in the back of the aircraft. I’m not sure who the other crewman was so we’ll just call him Mike. Both, being part of the crew, were on headsets and able to communicate with each other and the cockpit crew. They left Elizabeth City one blustery morning and flew up to New London, Connecticut to pick up the Coast Guard band so they could transport them to Indianapolis where they would be performing in a parade, or some other bandy function. When the plane lifted off in Connecticut, Coast Guard band members lined both sides of the aircraft and the down the center, sitting shoulder-to-shoulder like paratroopers with horns.

The air was rough and the plane bounced like a golf ball on the cart path. Apparently, the band members weren’t used to flying in rough air, as some were becoming a little green around the gills.

John climbed the ladder onto the flight deck and grabbed one of the freeze-dried meals, filling the bag with hot water. He then poured it into a barf bag and rolled the top down to seal it. With the barf bag full and feeling warm to the touch, he handed it to the band guy sitting nearest the forward end of the plane’s cargo section and told him to pass it down. The warm bag, bloated and smelling a bit like a wet cow, worked its way down the long line of horn blowers until it got to Mike at the end of the seats. Mike, who was in on John’s prank, opened the top of the bag and turned it up pouring chicken and rice into his mouth. With that, several of the band dudes had a chance to enjoy their breakfast again. Oh man, I miss those days!

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