Hello All, The sleg troep is back with a few more memories. I lay here in the dark a victim of insomnia. I awoke from a dream of a book called About Ursula. Ursula and Tanya were good friends and I was enamoured of Ursula during my teens.
Some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent and the not so guilty. These tales are told with a lot of years having passed and from my own persperctive. I was told once that witnesses at a crash scene would tell as many different versions of the accident as there were witnesses. So others may remember these tales and happenings totally differently, and some of these tales are hearsay as in I heard others talking about them but was not present at the scene of the crime.
Now let me set the scene, My teenage years were the early days of history when MTV played music and you could only get it on video. We were subjected to Madonna, the various Kims, Micheal Jackson and only the best in that era of pop and rock. I am talking the glory years as the seventies had come to a close and the eighties had just got started,
Just before the eighties music scene took a turn for the worst, I was called up for military service, Having grown up largely unaware of the world around me, a typical teenage trait I have noticed in the youth of today, We were not so different after all, I went and did basics in Kimberley. I fetched leaves, did push ups, situps, route marches, the 2,4 carried logs and all the other torture the military brass had decided were essential to make men of boys.
Basics came to an end and we were to be deployed, Some went on to become Candidate Officers, Some went to become lance corporals but the majority of us were quite happy to go and sit in a store somewhere. I remember a parade wher everyone that would like to serve on the borders was asked to step forward. I didn't quite step back but remained quitely exactly where I was dreaming of a posting to Wits Command or anywhere that I could quitely sit out my conscription without running into a terr.
To my surprise I was not sent to Joburg, Durban or anywhere in the Transvaal, I was posted to 32 Bn. At this point it meant nothing to me, Then the stories got told, I was told how lucky I was because I was going to be in an elite unit. The people I would meet would either be bossies or could kick the grensvegters behind six ways till Sunday. As a 4ft something young man this was a terrifying prospect.
I told this part of the story before so will not continue along this train of thought. Tonight I want to tell you more about Love, Lust and Terror. I arrived at Omauni expecting to meet some very dangerous people, The roof (scab) known as Private McLaren was welcomed to Omauni by a very clean cut, obviously military man wearing shorts and a T shirt with no rank. Looking around I saw a few blokes slouching arond in PT shorts and very little else.
The atmosphere was relaxed and most of the stuff I had learned in basics was going to be of very little use here, No one was saluted, strekked or otherwise shown any real deference. I could have been on a construction site in Johannesburg except for the arms everyone carried.
I was introduced to the man that would be my boss, Staff Sargeant Pappa November, Who in turn introduced me to Sargeant Alpha November who will always be remembered fondly by me. Alpha November was a British Merceneray that had seen Action throughout Africa, He was the base armorer and I was to work very closely with him in the next 19 months. Tales we will get to later.
The stories in these memoirs are not told in any specific order, but as tales that stir the memory. Some are my tales, some are other people's tales that I was on the periphery of. The last time I started talking about my military non career I stirred up a little hornets nest, so I am going to lay down my credentials up front. If you were there then you may or may not recognise the people I will talk about, but I am the sleg troep known as Lollipop from Omauni, Whiskey Romeo, Pappa November and I are still in contact via Social Media. If you want to know If I am a wannabee or the real deal just ask them and don't have a cadenza, heart attack or stroke because of me please.
There are many tales from my lifetime that are worth telling, many that are destined to never be heard but today I want to talk about terror first. As some already know I was a little boy when I entered the service of my country to fight the dangers of communism. The facts are that I was 4 ft 8 inches in my boots and weighed 48 kgs the day I first stood on parade. My browns were way too big, They didn't have a childrens aisle in the stores.
I remember standing guard at the petrol depot in Kimberley thinking that I had no business being there, I should be studying or something. Fear was to be my right hand for the next few months, Everything and every body was bigger than me, tasks as mundane as lifting a log, or fetching the leaf were a huge task at times, especially when I was carrying more than half my bodyweight on my back.
The 2,4 with full pack was a mammoth task and somehow I survived. Arriving at 32 Bn was another time fear dogged my path. I had grown a few inches but was still a little chap.
My nickname dogged me for a few years. I am not a bragging kind of bloke but will tell you that my nickname was bestowed on me by a man named Fick. He spotted me in the shower and I was immediately dubbed Lollipop. I was always a little embarrassed by the moniker and refused to divulge it to those not in the unit or who had no prior knowledge of it.
Fick got his comeuppance however when we were watching some German porn and the young lady loudly proclaime fick me, fick me. I don't think Fick name was ever said without a muttered me at the end of it by the National Service Men.
I told you I was going to talk about Love and Lust. As I said Ursula was the big love of my life at the time. I remember doing many a pushup for letters received liberally dosed with smelly stuff during basics. My favourite memory of Ursula pertains to my time in the military. Her and Tanya rcorded themselves singing Why. You know the ditty, Why do the stars keep on shinig.. I hear that song and I am magically in my Bungalow at Omauni listening to that scratchy recording of Lerta and Tanya. Friends that was a time that I felt loved.
Lust was a problem at Omauni, a very personal and private problem. There was the occassional porn movie smuggled in, in the TV hall, but seriously watching naked humping in the company of other brutes and soldiers was not a whole lot of fun. Many a mattress had a glory hole torn into it. If any of those soldiers tell you they never turned to Mrs palm to pass the time or alleviate the pressure, I proclaim them to be untruthfull.
The only women within striking distance of us were Whiskey Romeo's Missus, and the local population. We thought we had a problem when the bushmen women started looking pretty, but when they started smelling good we knew we had an issue.
Before I get called racist for this statement let me tell you about living downwind from the bushman encampment. These gentle folks are hunter gatherers. Nothing got discarded. Hunks of rotting meat would adorn the top of their homes attracting flies and the stench could become overwhelming. Personal Hygiene was a foreign concept to the San people.
I will always remember my time with the tribe at Ohikik with fondness. I spent many months teaching the children the basics of hygiene, reading and writing. Many fun times were had by all, I was allowed the privelege of hunting for Bush Pig with them. The tracking skills, camoflage and the hunt was decidedly impressive. I have not the words to describe the joy that I felt at that time. Today I still regret not becoming a teacher in a community like that.
For those of you that hate unfinished stories, Tanya became a Jeweller in a town to the North of Johannesburg, and My beloved Lerta passed away due to complications in Pregnancy, She was survived by her parents, brother and sisters and her husband who I never met.
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.