Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pratt Stories - Privy Trivia V

Here is an extract from a Privy Trivia response from my nephew Maj. John Woodruff:
Speaking as one of those "Air Force types", I can once again gratefully say for the 698th time "The more I hear about the Army, Navy and Marines (and hear about military life years ago), the better I like the Air Force."
I've never had the pleasure of using a privy, or a head....although I've used some pretty nasty outhouses when I was with the Army and Marines in the middle of nowhere in Egypt. They were nasty places filled with the particularly nasty smell of burning shit (set on fire with kerosine) * and surrounded by swarms of the most aggressive sand-flies that you have ever seen (nasty little buggers).
I admit, almost every single time that I have flown from CONUS (Continental United States) to OCONUS (Other than Continental United States) I've had the luxury of being transported on a commercial airline plane without a privy (but all have very nice restrooms). Only twice have I been transported on military aircraft (once on a C-130 and once on a C-141 Starlifter), and on neither did the "can" smell too badly.**
It's probably a testament to how "civilianized" the Air Force is, but we don't even have a special word for restroom like the Army and Marines (latrine) or the Navy (head)...we simply call it the "restroom" ***
* A Viet Nam veteran who worked with me before I retired told me that the smell of latrine  barrels being burned out with diesel fuel hung over the countryside almost all the time. For a humorous but accurate description of the process, Google "Latrine barrels burning" and click on "SBD."
** During World War II I was flown overseas on a "secret mission" (another story to be told) in a C-54 transport plane (the military equivalent of the Douglas DC-7 airliner). It had no seats and no heat and only a funnel in which to pee and a bucket if you had to do anything else.
*** That reminds me of the cartoon showing this rather undignified broad saying: "Restroom? Hell, ! ain't tired. Where's the can?"

Emailed Sept. 12

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