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November 12, 2006

Hey! I'm "that guy!"

I remember as a kid going to parades, displays, shows, etc, and seeing some guy or group of guys with Really Cool Stuff - whether it was a classic car, military vehicle, airplane, cannon...

Yesterday, I realized I am now "that guy" to some kids. And a few envious adult males, too... heheheheheheheh.

As the Rotary Technical made its way to our slot in the Leavenworth Veteran's Day parade, we passed a float full of kids, and one of 'em sang out with "Swwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!" while looking at the Vickers (shown here all kitted out for the several ad-hoc classes conducted while waiting for our turn to start down the route).

Gotta love Leavenworth - driving from the Castle to the Riverfront Community Center and thence to the line-up spot, we passed cops in cars, cops on foot. And they all waved, no one reached for his pistol or grabbed his radio... I should add that the Leavenworth Rotary Club sponsored a pancake breakfast that morning as a fund-raiser - but disabled veterans (on their word, no other proof required, though for at least 3, wheelchairs spoke loudly) got breakfast for free. Not surprisingly, probably about a quarter of the club membership would qualify on those grounds... this *is* Leavenworth, after all.

Fans of Veterans

The Veteran's Day parade here is huge for a town our size (I think). 35K in population (and since males outnumber females, I'm guessing the prison population is in that count). We had over 170 entries in the parade. And an entry might be one vehicle or 15. It takes 2.5 hours to run the whole thing through.

The weather was excellent, the turn-out was great. We started with a fly-over by two F-16s from the Iowa Air Guard, one being piloted by a Leavenworth High School graduate, and then the parade started. We had mounted units, bands, youth drill teams, lots of classic cars carrying vets.

The local Patriot Riders showed up, with an interesting take on POW/MIAs.

The 35th Infantry Division showed up, with some recent OIF returnees.

We had artillery! And firetrucks!

Halfway through the parade, at 11AM, everything came to a stop, and they played Taps.

After that, my crew did their "dash 10" PMCS checks (especially on the trailer), and we loaded up the ammo into the Vickers.

Vickers Ammo

Then off we went. The Order of Rotary, Militant, went over well with this crowd. Many were the murmurs and exclamations of awe, interest, and envy. Only one disapproving pinch-faced Blue Stater (in spirit, anyway). Much was the disinformation given by men to their women and children. I learned that I owned a Gatling Gun, a water-cooled .50 cal machine gun, a Maxim (which is true, I do own one, but this isn't it... though it *is* a derivative), to a Browning M1919, and perhaps the best was the one who confidently told all around that it was a Mark 19 belt-fed grenade launcher...

A couple of people stayed with me for a city block, taking pictures. They didn't *look* like ATFE agents...

Oh, and there was one kid who said - "So that's what Santa does on his time off!"

I have no idea what prompted that.

No, Virginia, that is *not* Santa Claus!

A good time was had by all, and I've been told I'll do it again next year. Mebbe instead of the Vickers, I'll mount the M18 57mm Recoilless Rifle... and I apologize to my Aussie visitors - I know the block on the slouch hat is execrable.

Comments on Hey! I'm "that guy!"
emdfl briefed on November 12, 2006 11:04 AM

The only thing I've seen to top that was at the Creek one year -an F-250 with the twin .50's mounted in the bed complete with an amored mount.

Cricket briefed on November 12, 2006 01:32 PM

Santa hasta get out of the North Pole sometimes and see what all the Militant Boyz and Girlz want fer Christmas, as well as checking The List.

Too funny.

Adjutant briefed on November 12, 2006 04:25 PM

Looks like you had a bee-yootiful day for it, too - what fun :-)

beth briefed on November 12, 2006 07:30 PM

I'm still puzzlin' over what got that kid thining about Santa??? lol

Sounds like a WONDERFUL day!

Neffi briefed on November 12, 2006 08:10 PM

Nice Grand Old Lady! And, um... please- no coal this year, OK Santa???

ledger briefed on November 12, 2006 11:13 PM

I got to ask. What in the heck did you load into that Vickers?

And, is that step stool you are sitting on? If not it is the smallest lawn chair I have seen.

John of Argghhh! briefed on November 13, 2006 06:14 AM

In reverse order... mebbe I'm just the biggest guy you've ever seen? No, it's a step stool. Perfect size for being the right height for the gun, and we used it to help people get on the trailer being pulled by the second trailer.

The ammo? Lifesaver rolls for the kiddles along the parade route.

Damian briefed on November 13, 2006 09:07 AM

JD, you need to get the elves to mount that puppy on the sleigh this year...

AFSister briefed on November 13, 2006 02:51 PM

Mebbe I'm just being stoopid, Mr. Carey, but did you really shoot Lifesavers out of the Vickers?

btw... do you know why they call them Lifesavers? Because the inventor's child nearly choked on a piece of hard candy, and he thought "Yaknow.. if that piece of candy had a hole in the middle, it would have allowed air to pass through". Thus... the Lifesaver. Kewl, eh?

AFSister briefed on November 13, 2006 02:51 PM

Mebbe I'm just being stoopid, Mr. Carey, but did you really shoot Lifesavers out of the Vickers?

btw... do you know why they call them Lifesavers? Because the inventor's child nearly choked to death on a piece of hard candy, and he thought "Yaknow.. if that piece of candy had a hole in the middle, it would have allowed air to pass through". Thus... the Lifesaver. Kewl, eh?

AFSister briefed on November 13, 2006 02:54 PM

dang it.

John of Argghhh! briefed on November 13, 2006 03:07 PM

No, Weerkitee, Eye jus' pased 'em owt alawng da rout. It wuz jus a funee pickcher.

AFSister briefed on November 13, 2006 03:28 PM

I figgered... and yes, it's a funee pickcher.
(but wouldn't it be kewl if you really could fire candy at the kids? Like a potato gun. Just gotta figger out the mechanics of that, John, so that you don't poke somebody's eye out)

Boquisucio briefed on November 13, 2006 04:06 PM

I always knew Santa had a soft spot for the Aussies. Though we'll never know the LS (Life Savers) Rate of Fire out that tailgate.