About 3 weeks after the storm hit, life was pretty good and routine. I still didn't have my SUV back so was totally reliant on the electric golf Kart that the CO had given me upon my return from NAS Meridian 4 days after the storm hit. Now this kart was a little unique as it had a front seat, back seat, and a 3 foot flat deck behind the back seat, as well as a Bimini (canvas roof). I had adorned it with a 3 foot by 4 foot Coast Guard flag on the back left hand corner (my best impression of Pappy Boyington's exploits in WWII).
It was my only transportation and was used for everything - from smuggling beer into NOLA, to making my nightly runs, to just moving my sleek and trim ass (I say this cause I can't say it anymore) wherever I needed to go. I also went nowhere without my igloo cup. It was one of those huge plastic cups with a huge handle with a lid that kept drinks cold. It was also pink. Why PINK? I mean I had a green, blue and red one at home as well! I figured no one would ever "appropriate" it, it really screwed with younger folks' heads (back then) when the old man was carrying a pink cup, and it actually did keep whatever I was drinking as cold as possible.
One day I went to the completed trailer park for some reason. As was my norm I sat my cup down somewhere as I walked around. When my business was done, I went back to where I sat the cup down and it wasn't there! When I asked if anyone saw my cup, instead of a bunch of people pointing, agog, at the pink cup, no one had seen it. So we started an expanding square search.
Someone finally spotted it sitting on the ground, right where I parked my kart - which wasn't there. I bellowed WHERE'S MY KART????? To say I was pissed was a massive understatement. Every spare person I could find I tasked with looking all over the Coast Guard Air Station for it figuring someone was screwing with me for kicks. It wasn't on the air station.
I contacted my buddies at base security and asked them to look for it. Coupla hours late.... crickets. It disappeared. By now I was fucking pissed beyond belief! I was stranded. No way to get to my meetings and appointments or get around to anywhere! I went the next night to the town hall meeting (a meeting of all the senior enlisted from all branches of the service and different units stationed at JRB New Orleans) and let them know what happened and, to say this nicely, let them know how pissed I was. I think the wallpaper came off the wall from all my F bombs and yelling and cussing and what I was going to do the perpetrator when I found him.
Crickets. No one had seen it.
The next day, after walking everywhere for 3 days, base security rolled into the air station and asked for me. It was a friend who sheepishly asked for me and told me the kart was found and offered me a ride to it. He drove me to the Air Force Air Guard Base across the base. I was met by a couple air force dudes with smirks on their faces which went completely unnoticed. I was led into a hangar where I was met by an older guy sitting on a stool surrounded by 20-30 people. He was wearing a flight suit without a name tag so I had no idea what his rank was. And behind him was MY kart, sans the Coast Guard flag.
I started by bellowing, "WTF are you doing with my kart?" The gentleman on the stool said quietly, It's not your kart. I argued But it is!! Nope was his rely. I asked to explain. It was about then I noticed my Coast Guard flag hanging amongst the unit's "Love me wall" (where all the units' citations and awards they've been awarded over the years hang). It was about 20 feet off the deck and pretty close to dead center.
Gentleman on the stool states, the kart belongs to our commanding general, and we decided to give it back to him. I hear snickers from the junior folks standing around this faux boxing arena. I argued back that my CO gave it to me to use, as I flash back to I had never seen the kart before the hurricane. Shit Shit Shit Shit Shit, After a few minutes of mumbling, I was excused by the generic gentleman on the stool and told to have a nice day. Outright laughter ensued.
Embarrassed and at a total loss, I walked back halfway across the base to the CG air station. I looked for the CO. When I found him I asked, Skipper where did you get the kart? My worst fears were realized when he said that at the first meeting of the senior leadership on base, the air force CO lent it to him. Shit shit shit shit shit. And they still had my Coast Guard flag!
I went back to the air force hangar and asked to talk to the person in charge holding my flag hostage. While eating shit the whole time, I related what I found out and noticed my flag was no longer on the wall. Again, the laughter all around me. He handed me back my flag without a word.
AFTERMATH: Two days later the kart showed up back parked in my parking spot. My CO found me and said that when the AF commanding general was presented back his kart, he apparently asked why I wasn't in possession? Whomever thought they were doing the general a favor found out different. I will never know. But he ordered I be given it back.
The Coast Guard flag was quickly reattached back onto the kart.
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