17 January 2007

Story Time! Wake Island

Although you might not know it from the last few posts, I don't drink a whole lot. That hasn't always been the case, though.

I washed up on Wake Island once, on the way back from a trip that had involved the Republic of Kiribati and drinking on a C-130 with the remains of WWII Marines. Our mission complete, we needed to fly from Hawaii to Okinawa. You cannot do that directly in a C-130, you need to stop.

And when you need to stop in middle of the Pacific, you stop on Wake Island. We landed in the evening and were to take off the next day.

Wake is a strange place. There are very few people there. There are no natives. I recall a handful of civilians running the airstrip and plenty of ghosts.

Being a small group of Marines (me, the C-130 crew, four honor guard guys and their SNCOIC) with an evening to kill, we commenced to drinking.

Canned beer. And I recall it being phenomenally cheap. Actually, I recall the folks who were stationed at Wake buying most of our beer. I actually ran the pool table in their bar - the only time I've ever done that.

After we consumed a significant quantity of beer, someone pointed out that there was a beautiful lagoon and a BRIDGE outside.

You can see where this is going, can't you?

This is the bridge.

It was dark and warm and the logical thing to do seemed to be to take an armload of beer out, then take off our clothes and jump, one by one, into the water, where we treaded water and drank beers the helpful locals passed down to us.

You know, treading water in a lagoon at night while swigging beer from a can ain't a bad way to kill an evening.

Of course, now whenever I hear someone say "If everybody you knew was jumping off a bridge..." I have to laugh.

I think that picture must have been taken at low tide, since I remember it only being a short distance that a beer had to be dropped. And a side note - there is some degree of fitness involved in treading water while drinking, especially if you keep it up for a while.