Daily Archives: May 25, 2020

Addendum to that last post about my improbable life

I kinda glossed over it but I was involved in a conflict before I enlisted.

Back in 1971 the country I was living in had an attempted coup and the rebels attacked the base I was living on, NCS Sidi Yahia, named after the closest town. The base was turned over to the Moroccan government after technology made it redundant but they still have it active for whatever reason.

Anywho, that summer one part of the country decided their king was too friendly with the infidels and tried to kick us out like they did back in the 50s when they kicked the French out, sorta. The base was already there and already doing what it was doing when we lived there, same people, different war. It was doing SigInt on the conflicts in Vietnam, because that was a pretty good place to eavesdrop on the radio chatter there because of the physics of the communications systems they used at the time, bouncing off the ionosphere. The same thing was going on during the 50s because while the Moroccans were kicking the French out of their country the Vietnamese were doing the same for their country, and because Cold War and everything we had bases in Morocco to cover different parts of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Sidi was just one of three bases we had active in the 60s and 70s that I was aware of. And it had been active during the 50s too. None of us were alive when the first thing happened back in the 50s but the procedures had been kept on file in case we had to do it again, and parts we did. The Boy Scouts were told to make ourselves ready to work as message runners to some of the more distant parts of the base, I think just to keep us busy because we never actually did, and otherwise we were all supposed to stay inside and away from windows, and we had to take in people who had been living off base, or “on the economy” just in case the rebels tried to kidnap them and use them as hostages like they did with the base commander, who had been doing some kind of diplomatic thing with the mayor of Sidi Yahia when the rebels captured the whole city government and a good chunk of the base command structure.

Anywho they grabbed a bunch of their people and our people, took their pants and shoes away, and put them in a kind of local corral that used hedges of thorn bushes to keep sheep or camels or something like that. Now being that I was like 12 YO and technically a civilian I was only told about the things I needed to know, which was that this had happened before and there was a grass airstrip outside the base where they had landed the military versions of the DC3 back in the 50s, and where they would land C-130s in 1971 if they needed to evacuate us this time. I had been there a couple of times during Boy Scout hikes around the base so I was familiar with that part of the plan already.

A part of the plan was we had scheduled a Little League baseball picnic before the coup, so to show how unconcerned we were with their little hissy fit we held our picnic and game of the kids against the parents, but there was a machine gun nest outside the centerfield wall with Marines manning it. They were manning it with all the ammunition safely locked in the ammo bunkers on the other side of the base, but there was a machine gun nest with sandbags and M-60s with empty ammo cans outside center field.

Again, this was just one small incident in my life, that when you look at it objectively sounds like it would never happen in real life, but did happen in my life. And this is why when I tried do calculate the odds against my life actually happening I got greater than google to one against before I even graduated from High School. Because nobody in a real life has this much stuff happen to them.