BEE Shop Files: The Green Airman

August 26th, 2003  
Mark Conley

Topic: BEE Shop Files: The Green Airman

When you are in the Military Safety and Health Arena, you get to see it all…

One morning, we got a call from an aircraft fuels section supervisor asking us to come down to their office on the flight line. They said they had a problem, but didn’t consider it an emergency. So the 1st lieutenant and me got in the truck and like a herd of turtles, proceeded to the workplace.

When we got there, the supervisor of the shop asked us to come into his office. Sitting in the office was a nearly naked fuel worker. Alive. Fully conscious, alert and talking his head off. In fact, the guy was physically and mentally perfect in every way…except his skin color was green. Bright, vivid green. The kind of green in a great lawn, or a good billiards table felt. From his head to his feet, except for a patch of skin on his stomach, the man was jolly green giant green.

Well, the 1st lieutenant kind of freaked: I admit, I freaked too. The boss related that before the man had entered the planes fuel tank, he was pink: when he came out, he was green. No one had noticed it at first, because it was at night, and well all cats are gray in the dark, right? The man said it wouldn’t come off: three showers and some of the most vicious soap in the world hadn’t made a dent in it.

They actually sent this man down to Texas to determine why he had turned green in the tank. They never did come to a diagnosis, and after a couple of weeks the color did go away. Later on, we found out that little patch of normal colored skin on his stomach gave us the clue to what happened.

All aircraft contain survival gear, with certain over the water aircraft given life rafts and other such items. One such item is dye marker, used to enhance your chances of being seen in the ocean from your raft. It comes in a lot of observable colors: It is a most concentrated marking material, and a little goes a long way. One of the most horrible practical jokes was to take a chunk of dye marker material and put it in your roommate’s showerhead.

What had happened in this case was that a small amount of the marker had somehow been introduced into the fuel tank compartment air horn and had been aerosolized to the point where it just stuck naturally to all the wet spots in the tank, including the hot sweaty body of the guy. Well, all skin portions were dyed green except for the area of his body where he had laid on a little foam pad to protect his stomach from the inside ribs of the aircraft fuel tank. Since his cotton uniform was almost the same color green, it had not been noticed when the pulled him out of the tank.

They never caught the culprit (well, it never got to the article 15 stage anyway). The man never turned green again. But I have to admit: seeing that green guy that day really put me off getting around the fuel people for quite a long time afterwards.
August 26th, 2003  
Love your stories!

Thanks a lot for them..
August 27th, 2003  
Same here, thanks for another good one.
August 27th, 2003  
Where do you find this stuff?
February 13th, 2004  
Wow... That was a great story. i have read numerous stories on this site and i am glad that i joined. this site is great
January 8th, 2007  
Good one!
January 8th, 2007  
July 27th, 2007  
Team Infidel
that is a great story.. thanks for sharing...