I think everyone can say that Fridays are the sweetest days of the week- it’s the longest period in time before we all have to go back to work. Much is the same everywhere, including my time in Germany. The problem is many did not have a European driver’s license (the battalion Command Sgt. Major gave me one for some unknown reason while I was still in ‘processing’ before I got to my unit). Anyway, to give all the troops a means to go back to Spangdahlem, a sergeant would grab the shuttle (this top heavy Mercedes Benz ‘bus’ that you see everywhere in Europe), load it up with about 40 people, and make haste to the base (where we’d load up at the Class-6 – the booze store), or the PX for audio equipment.
Most of the times, this is pretty uneventful, except for when Sgt. Pillot would drive. I wish I could remember his first name, but man, the bus ride would normally take about 30-40mins- he’d get us there in about 25 mins. Mind you, this may not sound like much- much of the route is pretty twisty on two lane roads. Anyway, when we’d ask if anyone wanted to go to ‘Spang’, we’d say “Hey, Sgt. Pillot’s taking the sports bus into Spang- wanna go?”. Quite a few would say ‘no’ because they’d knew how he was. And after this one time, pretty much no one would ride with him…
Anyway, there’s about 10 mins of autobahn where we’d make up most of the time. Since we never had to pay for gas, the Sports Bus was almost always floored. So, Sgt. Pillot got on the autobahn, and we were all grab-assing each other, and he’d started a dialog with us:
Sgt. Pillot: “Hey!” (no one heard)
Sgt. Pillot: “HEY!”
Us: “What’s up Sgt. Pillot?”
Sgt. Pillot: “Want to see something really crazy?”
Not knowing what to expect, we all watched.. very closely. Then he started positioning himself like he wanted to stand- hands were on the wheel, and foot on the gas and we were probably going 80mph. Then everything happened in slow motion. He made is final stand, let go of the steering wheel, and turned around and ran to the BACK of the bus (about 20-25 feet). In that first instance I realized that: 1) We were going 80 mph down the autobahn, and NO ONE was in the driver’s seat, and 2) HOLY SHIT- I HOPE he doesn’t trip on something. So, he touches the back of the bus (full hand plant- not a single finger touch), and turns around and RUNS back, hops in the seat, and resumes driving.
Um. What the FUCK did he just do?!? Being in that unit, I’ve seen some craaaaaazy things, but EVERYONE on that bus was absolutely silenced like we just saw something that no person should have ever seen. Finally, the anger overcame everyone, and he got a reaming that I think kept him from doing anything like that again. Even as I tell this now, I remember it like it just happened, and I will be on my deathbed, and remember that steering wheel shaking rhythmically as they normally do all by itself as we careened down the autobahn with no one in the driver’s seat.