Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Deuce and a Half

Every soldier who has been in the Army since the Korean War has ridden in the back of an M35 2-1/2 ton truck known as the "Deuce and a Half." This three-axle, all-terrain, multi-fuel vehicle seats 20 soldiers in the open air or under a canvas tarp and is the main mode of transportation for troops moving anywhere in training and in war. My first ride in a deuce and a half was in tank training in 1975 at Fort Knox. We were riding to a firing range, sitting sideways on wooden benches, bouncing along in the dark oblivion of green-clad men under a canvas cover. We sat still a lot an drove slowly. The conversation occured in bursts. No one said anything, then we would slow and someone would fart and for five minutes afterward came jokes about the whether something had died inside the guy who had just fouled the air, the state of his undergarments, and what sort of moral failing promotes this activity.
When I rode in Deuce and a Halfs in Colorado then Germany then Pennsylvania over the nine years after that first ride, new groups recycled the same jokes. This morning, in a Deuce and a Half full of guys not born when I had my first ride in one, made the same jokes I remembered from three decades before--almost verbatim!

Who Fights Our Wars: Marine Veteran on a Local Train

--> Recently I rode to Philadelphia from Lancaster. After 50 miles, I knew I was going to be late, so I rode to a statio...