The Torpedo

The Torpedo

This one takes a lot of explaining.

One time, several years ago, I was the plans officer in a U.S. Army combat engineer battalion that was tasked to, potentially, be sent to the Western United States to fight wildfires, a mission called Wild Land Fire Fighting.  My job was to write the plan for issuing firefighting equipment to 800 guys, running them through necessary training, loading them onto aircraft &c. — but it was all “on order,” and we weren’t do do anything until the firefighting command post decided that we were needed and sent a liaison officer to inform us.  For some strange reason, this man was referred to, in official documentation, as “The Torpedo,” which spawned a series of running jokes amongst the staff officers: we planned to have someone come in dressed in a suit, claiming to be The Torpedo; we circulated the mnemonic rhyme “no torpedo inbound — all is safe and sound;” and so on.

Taking things too far, I added an “Annex R: BOLO* List” to the operations order, containing this illustration and a bunch of identifying features: “Hair: Gray; Eyes: Ray-Ban; Smells of Smoke and Broken Dreams.”  I didn’t get in trouble because everyone was laughing too hard to breathe.

*meaning “Be On Look Out.”


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