Rocky Raccoon

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Leon and his friends were drinking beer in rural Carbon County when Rocky the
Raccoon had the misfortune to wander by.

Leon and his friends took dead aim at the raccoon. Despite firing 35 shots at Rocky, he managed to escape unscathed into a three-foot-diameter drainage pipe about

100 feet out in front of the firing range aka: sun deck. Determined to terminate the animal,
Leon retrieved a can of gasoline and poured some down the pipe, intending to smoke Rocky out.

After several unsuccessful attempts to ignite the fuel, Leon emptied the entire five-gallon fuel can down the pipe and dropped in another match, to no avail. Not one to admit defeat at the hands of a raccoon, Leon proceeded to slide feet-first about fifteen feet down the sloping pipe to toss the match. This time it worked.

The expanding fireball propelled Leon back up the pipe and directly over his home onto his front lawn. He traveled over two hundred feet through the air. "There was a Doppler effect to his scream as he flew over us," a witness reported, "followed by a loud thud." Rocky went his separate way and Leon suffered a few broken bones and singed eye-brows.

Last week we talked about the pesky gopher and this week we regale the story of Rocky Raccoon. Last week we focused on personal responsibility program and maintenance and this week we are focusing on back to school. Next week we'll talk about our security forces and the week of the inspection we'll focus on "Team." So what can we learn from Leon and Rocky Raccoon ... oh, so much. First, we should be pleased to know that our security forces are better aims than Leon and his friends.

Second, we should learn that picking on raccoons and gophers is generally a no-win proposition. Third, we should learn that confined spaces, fumes, and matches are not a good combination. Fourth, we should learn that while alcohol may make you feel like a superhero (able to leap over tall buildings, employ a cloaking device, and generally be witty and engaging in social situations), it is often the precursor to ultimately realizing that we are merely only human. And finally, let's compare the outcomes ... the raccoon, who is not alcohol impaired, scampers away and the human, who is alcohol impaired, is taken to the hospital. You do the math.

We are coming into the home stretch in our preparations for our September inspection ... we are coming into the home stretch in our 101 Critical Days of Summer safety campaign ... we have a new host wing commander and deputy commander ... and our children are getting ready to go back to school. You decide; who would you rather be ... Rocky or Leon. For me the choice is simple ... be the raccoon and live to: win the inspection, win the safety campaign, impress our new host nation teammates, and see our children off to school ... all while ensuring freedom's future!