Lockers For Everything
(March 25, 2010)
March 8, 2010 -- “Dad, have you seen my baseball glove?” And the Navy Master
Chief's replied, “Look in the glove locker filed under G.”
“Mom, I can't find
my history book.
”Your father put it in the book locker filed under B."
can I use the car tonight?"
Van E. Harl
“Yes, but if you put a scratch on it, you will find your butt in the
hurt locker filed under H." |
I knew what a hurt locker was way back in grade school. It was a small place
I was going to be confined to if I really screwed up, and it was going to be
very painful. (The Navy has lockers for everything.)
Now in my father's
defense, I was never really sent to a hurt locker, but I understood that
they were out there and could be used at anytime, should I step too far over
I remember hearing a story about a sailor going missing onboard an aircraft
carrier. It was presumed he was murdered, stuffed in an old upright locker
and shoved over the side with a number of large items that were disposed of
at sea. I asked my dad if something like that could happen. He advised me
that yes, stuff like that happens at sea, and the alleged incident was a
good example of a permanent hurt locker, in this case literally.
In my Navy family household we did not go up the stairs. We ascended or
descended the ladder. When I was caught putting my dirty hands or feet on
the walls, I was accused of messing up the bulkhead. I did not walk down the
hallway to my bedroom. I went through the passageway. We did not have
bathrooms in our Navy home. We had “heads.” I did not have a closet in my
bedroom. I had a locker. Of course I did not really have a bedroom, I had a
berthing area. Mom cooked breakfast in the galley, and when it was my turn
to do the dishes, I had mess duty.
Because of my young life as a Navy dependent, I spoke Navy better than most
of the new recruit graduates from the Navy's boot camp at Great Lakes Naval
Base, my dad's last assignment. To this day in my home, if you really have
to go to the bathroom it is referred to as “hitting the head.” Even though
we are now an Air Force family and the Air Force does not have “heads,” they
"Hurt Locker" the movie just won the Academy Award for best picture and best
director. It is about an Army EOD (explosive ordinance disposal) unit in
Iraq. Their mission is to deactivate explosives that are found, in most
cases put in place by the bad guys who want to kill Americans. The majority
of American troops are killed or injured by explosive devices set up to be
command detonated as our military members travel pass the hidden death.
In the case of the movie, the hurt locker is the immediate area around the
explosive device that the EOD troop has to work in. It is up close and
personal and it will truly hurt (really bad); if you get it wrong and the
munitions explode. Like the alleged dead sailor on the aircraft carrier, the
EOD tech becomes entombed in a permanent hurt-locker death.
If you saw the Academy Awards, you saw the "Hurt Locker" director Kathryn
Bigelow win two awards. Most people were not watching Barbara Streisand, who
was standing next to Kathryn Bigelow, but I was. Streisand's face was most
telling when Bigelow, not only once, but twice, thanked the American men and
women in uniform who serve to protect this country. I would suggest
Barbara's liberal feelings were telling on her face, but that may have just
been the old veteran coming out in me.
I do remember when I was attending Army Infantry School; we had a number of
young fresh out of the Army Military Academy lieutenants in my class who had
concentration issues. Four years of being locked up at West Point had some
members of my class acting like they just got out of jail. One day an
enlisted Ranger instructor had enough and started chewing out some
students. I still remember his words, “You alpha hotels (cleaned it up a
little) are going to wind up in a plastic hurt locker permanently if you
don't learn this stuff right.” Body bags are made of plastic, and nobody
gets out of them alive.
Van E. Harl
Major Van E. Harl, USAF Ret., was a career police officer in the U.S. Air
Force. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the
Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. Major Harl is a graduate of
the U.S. Army Infantry School, the Air Force Squadron Officer School and the Air
Command and Staff College. After retiring from the Air Force he was a state
police officer in Nevada.
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