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This is Buzzy's Country Store blog designed to keep you apprised of what's going on at the Store. Buzzy's is a general store located in St. Mary's County, Southern Maryland near Pt. Lookout State Park. Buzzy and Jean Ridgell purchased the Store from Jean's father Harry Raley in 1953. Buzzy operated it until his passing in 2009. His son J. Scott Ridgell is the current owner.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Helo Pilot? Hell No!

The other day I mentioned taking 4 years of Latin at Ryken High School.  It brought back a memory of something I often think about whenever I hear folks talk about helicopter pilots.  This is a long story, so get another cup of coffee and be patient as I wring it out for you.

Our Senior class schedule at Ryken included Physics, which was something I wanted no parts of for various reasons.  I had barely passed Chemistry in my Junior year and figured that Physics was just going to be more of the same only worse. 

So when Brother Gary suggested that I take a fourth year of Latin in lieu of Physics, I jumped at the chance to do so.  Thus, he taught me and 3 other Physics-avoiders a class focused mostly on Roman mythology.  Looking back now, I am very thankful that Brother Gary was nice enough to do this for us.

However, there was a brief period in my life where I regretted my decision to skip that Physics class.  (Key word here is brief.)

When I was set to go into the Army, Buzzy dropped me off at the Army recruiter's office in Lexington Park in 1970.  The recruiter was taking me and a couple other nudniks to Fort Holabird in Baltimore to be inducted.  As we did our goodbyes, one of the last things Buzzy said to me was "Get all the training you can." 

Those very words were resonating in my head when a few weeks later at Fort Dix, New Jersey doing Basic Training, I sat in on a pitch from someone extolling the virtues of being trained to become a helo pilot.  The presenter told us how we were most likely going to end up 11B Infantrymen and that the Aviation field would be a far better Military Occupation Specialty for us to have.  He noted that we would receive training to become a Warrant Officer, make more money and ultimately have a more marketable resume once we left the Army.  The only catch was, we had to sign up for an additional two years service on top of the two that we were already locked into.

With Buzzy's advice in my head, I raised my hand to enroll in the program and soon found myself in a classroom taking a test to see if I qualified. 

But guess what?  Most of the questions on that test were Physics-related.  I had no clue what was being asked, much less what the correct answers were to the questions. 

I struggled mightily and as a result, did not pass the entry test.  When told that I couldn't enter the aviation program because I flunked the entry test, I kicked myself for not having taken Physics.  I remember thinking as I made my way back to join my fellow enlistees "Well, this is a new low in my life - not passing an Army entry level test."  Too, I thought "Here I was f'ing around with Romulus and Remus (below) when I should have been learning about something more useful like linear and rotational motion."  (I still don't know what any of that is.)
Well, in a things-happen-for-a-reason-kind-of-way, flunking that test was one of my better unintended moves.  Not only did I end up hating being in the Army the entire time I was in, but also I later learned that I didn't particularly care for riding around in helicopters.  They shook way too much for me to ever become comfortable in them.  Obviously then,  St. Joseph or somebody was doing me a favor by making that Helo Pilot entry test too tough for me to pass it. 

Great Little Feat tune here that says it all:

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