From the Commander Staff Picks War Stories

Best First Impression Ever!

Written by AJ Powell

15AUG20XX
Best First Impression Ever!

By the time I realized I had to go pee so very bad, we were already over 20,000 feet in the air, well on our way towards the third world, old eastern bloc nation that was to be our home for the next four or five months of joint operations.

A few days earlier, our team had flown to and mobilized at an isolated section of Ramstein AFB, in Germany. The first set of crews already left with our forward deployed aircraft, making the multi-day journey from Western Europe to the East, but we had to wait for an Air Force C-130 to pick us up and fly the second set of crews out to meet our arriving crews at the final destination. Upon arrival at the staging area, we would separate into two detachments and begin operations from independent sites. Simple enough right?

Already awake for days by this time, we had only received word a week prior of our intended departure for a contingency operation. Hastily, I packed my bags, double checked my gear, loaded up, and headed out to join the guys. After arrival to Ramstein, we entered a quiet section of the airfield away from prying eyes with a few small hangars and waited for our ride to show up, and while lots of people got some sleep, I ended up frantically doing some last-minute laundry because the massive bottle of laundry detergent I stuffed into one of my bags broke open and emptied out all over everything inside. I was dead tired by the time the aircraft taxied in, but had no chance to rest as we packed some pallets full with our bags, gear and equipment, promptly boarded, and took off.

I was the first to step foot onto the aircraft, which placed me in the first seat. I walked up to the far right side of the cargo bay, all the way to the front, and sat down in the very first seat, closest to the wall. The remaining seats after me filled in quickly, and the space between them was not to far apart, so everyone’s legs formed a zipper pattern as the person across from you had to place one knee in-between yours… it was a tight fit. It was “buckle up, thanks for boarding, load the pallets, and takeoff”. I did not even think about it until my bladder started screaming at me an hour later, but I had to go.

At first, conversations were being carried on by everyone, despite the loud noise of the aircraft. You needed earplugs just to avoid hearing damage, so people were practically yelling to talk to each other. Yet soon enough, lots of people were catching up on some much-needed sleep. I, on the other hand, felt the pain swelling inside. I figured I could make it the rest of the flight – having been on C-130’s before, I knew exactly what going to the bathroom on one entailed. However, this was going to be a long flight, and after mere moments, I decided I simply could not hold on any longer. Getting up out of my seat moved the legs of my buddy across from me, and if that was not bad enough, I had to step between the legs of every single person down the row just to get out and make my way to the back of the plane, so I could get to “The Tube”. I woke up every sleeping body along the way.

Finally making it out of the row, I walked past the pallets full of our bags and gear, and towards the left side of the cargo bay, where the piss tube was situated in the back. The Tube, was nothing more than a plastic funnel taped onto a small metal tube that ran down the side wall of the inside of the bay, down into the floor, and out of the aircraft. Next to it, was a very slender privacy screen on a set of hinges, which swung out from the wall. It did not hide much of anything except your private parts – because it did not stick out that far – and that was even after you bent forward at the waist to try to get behind the thing.

Yet, to my amazement, even after all the pain I felt of needing to pee, practically walking over everyone just to get back there, and unzipping and standing there, I pushed and pushed, but could not go. It was not “stage fright”, I just could not for the life of me get anything to come out! It was the altitude! As I stood there, for a very long time, face beat red from physically pushing to go pee, and suddenly realized something out of the corner of my eye. Looking over my right shoulder, I grew beyond embarrassed as I saw that everyone, and I mean everyone, was watching me! Some even made motions of cheering me on! I had become the flights half-time show! A few whistles even came from the crowed! Now I really couldn’t go! I zipped up, knowing that nothing would come out at this point, and shamefully walked back over all the people in the row, and sat down in my seat, embarrassed, and much to the jests of a few of the guys. The pain was still there, and I thought I was going to explode.

Hours later, the aircraft landed on a third world airstrip. It came to a stop, the doors were opened, and the rear hatch was lowered. The local national military police and customs guys showed up to check people, their passports, and get documentation from the higher-ups. But I was not concerned with this, I was sweating bullets and falling apart! I saw a small air terminal out the back of the ramp, shouted to my senior that I would be right back – to which he understood, and gave a quick nod – and made a mad mans dash out the plane, across 300 meters of flight line, into the building, through the metal detectors (sending them into a fit of lights and sirens in the processes because of all the metal I had on me), past security personnel, and into the nearest men’s room I could find! The military police, local police, airport police, and airport security were hot on my heels the entire time, all thinking I was some kind of criminal! Not seconds after unzipping and starting a strongest stream of piss of my life into the urinal, the bathroom door slammed open, and everybody poured into the bathroom all at once – screaming and shouting with guns in hand all pointed right at my face – grabbing me and slamming me up against the wall. I didn’t even care, I finally felt relieved. I was forcefully turned around and my glorious fountain of urine streamed across one of their boots. There was a moment of hard silence… Every one left the room after that with a pissed off and embarrassed look upon their faces. I was left to finish in blissful solitude.

Sure, I was yelled at by both my senior and my fellow teammates, but they laughed the whole time. It was all for show and they knew exactly what the circumstances where, but did it because as it turned out, it seems it was threatened to send me straight to this third world nations military prison! Amusingly enough, that would not be the last time we would get yelled at by the locals, or almost arrested either! The very next day, in fact, five of us – including myself – would almost be sent to prison for supposed “spying”!

Yet, despite the threats, it was the best first impression I think I have ever made in my life. From that day on, rumors spread around the entire area about an American soldier who hauled ass out of the back of a cargo plane and across the flight line, holding his crotch and trailed by every cop in sight, all to take a piss. Lucky enough, only my team mates, and those who were there at the time, knew my face. Of which, those locals always said hello whenever they saw me after that day. Guess they thought it was funny too.

About the author

AJ Powell

AJ is a retired U.S. Army NCO who served in both the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army. He is a combat veteran, and has participated in contingency operations around the world. AJ is the CEO of Veteran Leadership Solutions, the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Warfighter Journal, and the Director of Strategic Communications at Mountain Up Hat Company. He is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a focus on Sociology and a degree in Organizational Leadership, and is published in the field of sociology. AJ is an inductive analyst, writer of military and leadership articles, aviator, a certified advanced operational diver, professional mentor and adviser, snowboarder, motorcycle rider, world traveler, and enjoys long distance endurance events.