Your humble host normally tries to set aside an hour or so on Sunday’s for some writing, or at least thinking about writing, and real content for the blog.
Today, alas, the stuff of life intervened, and there was no serious contemplation or writing to be had. Between a trip to multiple grocery stores, the hardware store, the liquor store and McDonalds, the morning was shot. Then, while doing laundry, the urge to strip, wash, wax and buff my car struck, and what I had intended to be an hour of enjoying the sun turned into a four hour marathon trying to get my poor old Beemer looking half assed decent again. Turns out, CLR isn’t great for its finish, but it is the only way to get the years and years of hard water spots off the old girl. Some CLR, instantly followed by rubbing compound, followed by a good wax job, and she looks a lot better. Which brings us to a story from over 20 years ago.
It came to pass that then Specialist XBrad (actually, then XM113TC) was sent up to brigade headquarters to be the driver for the Brigade XO. As the XO’s driver, my primary vehicle was an M1009 CUCV- basically, the Army version of a ‘78 K5 Blazer. Now, it may have been an off the shelf design, but it was a tactical vehicle, and as such, had a tactical paint job. And one of the things you may not have known is that Army tactical vehicles used a very special camouflage paint. In order to prevent equipment from absorbing nerve agents or other chemical weapon agents in the event of World War III, Army vehicles were coated with a special, expensive paint called “CARC” or Chemical Agent Resistant Coating. Given CARCs affinity for absorbing petroleum products, I’m not sure just how well it would work against VX or mustard gas, but nobody asked me. But CARC had to be maintained carefully. And one thing the technical manuals all stressed was that no vehicle coated with CARC could ever be waxed. No waxes, coatings, finishes, polishes or anything like that were permitted.
Being an eager beaver, and new to my job as a Colonel’s driver, just about the very first thing I did was take my truck to the wash rack and give her a good scrubbing. I wanted her spic and span, shipshape and Bristol fashion. And by the time I finished spending all morning and a fair part of the afternoon scrubbing and whatnot, that truck was neat as a pin. I may have been a dirty mess, but my chest was puffed out with pride for how clean and spiffy my truck was. I parked out front of Brigade headquarters with a sense of smug satisfaction that my truck was fully up to the Army standard.
The Brigade Command Sergeant Major stepped out just as I was finishing parking. He called me over. Expecting to start my new duties with a nice attaboy, I was a touch butthurt when his very first words to me were:
”The XO’s truck needs a heck of a lot more wax than that, Specialist X. We can’t have our officers out in crappy looking trucks!”
Not my vehicle, but mine was in virtually the same configuration. But shinier.
Arguing with the CSM that TM9-whatever-10 forbade was didn’t seem like the prudent course of action. I hopped into the truck, hit the PX, and about $75 dollars later, had a goodly supply of Armor-All,* TurtleWax, and an buffer.
*Also completely forbidden by the manuals, and also absolutely mandatory in practice.