Course Tales: Why you lock the Water Buffalo .....

Mark Conley

Active member
There are certain things in the land of training that one should never come clean about...

The course was basically a wilderness type training area. All items to support the camp were brought in by our faithful logistics crew...including the food and the water.

Water was often the most consumed item at the camp. We had at least 4 or 5 500 gallon wheeled water tanks, called "water buffalo’s" that served a thirsty cadre staff and students in the hot Texas environment. These tanks had one large hatched manhole on top to access the inside for cleaning and inspection purposes. Although they had provisions for locking, they were often left un-secured to allow the logistics crew unbridled access to fill the tanks on a twice-daily basis.

Now at this same course the students had the opportunity to take a field shower twice during the time they were in the field. If you missed your opportunity...well, you could get a shower when you came out of the field. But when you slept in the 12-man tent and didn’t bother to take a shower... your tent mates could come up with ingenious ways to make your life miserable.

About 4:30 AM early one morning...while I was pulling field of the logistics personnel came to me at the staff office and asked me to come with him. He had a potential problem with a student, and only the training staff was allowed to handle those type problems. Curious as to how a student could be a problem at 4:30 in the morning, I followed the "Log doggy". He took me to the students area, and pointed to the buffalo that served the students as their drinking water source.

From where we were at, we could hear singing and the sounds of water splashing inside the tank. Noticing the hatch was open, with a field flashlight pointing into the tank to provide light, I climbed up on the side and looked in. From my vantage point, the sight that greeted my eyes was unusual to say the least. Inside the tank was a naked yet very happy doctor. He was immersed up to his neck, with a loofa sponge and soap, scrubbing away to beat the band.

Well, it wasn’t the first time id ever seen someone take a bath, but it was the first time Id ever seen a water buffalo used for that purpose. When I grunted politely to get his attention, he sheepishly looked up, and seeing it was a training cadre, stopped what he was doing and rose up out of the tank. Getting his towel, he asked me if he was in trouble. I informed him that it was going to take a lot of effort by the logistic crew to clean and replace that buffalo, but as far as a disciplinary action against him, it would be left up to his student TAC officer to do it. Hearing this, he said thank you and left to go back to his tent.

Later, when I privately talked to the student’s TAC officer, he started laughing to beat the band and related this story. The student just could not bring himself to shower in the field facility, and had been kind of ripe up to that point. The night before, the tent had voted to a man, and told this particular officer that if he didn’t get the sweat off that body they were going to lather him up and wash him the old Marine Corp bucket and brush way. When the officer had asked how he could get clean, the TAC officer told him to go to the buffalo, and get some water in his helmet to bathe with. He had no idea the man was going to get in the buffalo and take a bath.

Well the logistics crew cleaned up, sanitized and returned the buffalo to use in a couple of hours. I was supposed to put the incident in the log book, but decided against it as the doctor was being royally razzed by his squad and TAC for the last few days at the course, and I didn’t want to add to his misery. But I did write a memorandum to the Head Log get some combination locks for the crews to secure the hatches from that point on.

Now...I know you are probably asking yourself why this one event has stuck in my mind all these years. It’s simple. Five years later, I had to go to the Base urology clinic to get an infertility work-up. And just make a guess who was checking my testes out during that little clinical exercise? was Mr. Buffalo Bather.

Small world indeed.... :D
That;s the difference right there between the infantry and the medical prefession; you take a oath to help others, we take one to F them up, and if one of us would of been caught in a water buffalo with all things a luffa... well........ I can't even imagine the evil things they would do.