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The spectators you meet at events...


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Welcome home from Vietnam and thanks for a job well done.

 

I was on the way in December 83 after Grenada and was sitting in various airport bars and I couldn't buy a drink because people were appreciative. Once in awhile some ahole would say "It's about time we won one!" (talking about Vietnam) I about hauled off and decked them. I told them rather harshly that we won most of our battle and would have finished the job if not for the politicians and hippies. I told them to get out of my face before something bad happened to them. Most people were nice.

 

I appreciated what people said on the way home but my reward was having the students and faculty of the Grande Anse campus giving us a standing ovation and thanking us for their rescue. I personally didn't save any one of them and felt guilty because the Rangers that *did* actually rescue them, and were sitting on the ground about 20 yards away didn't get recognized.

 

Reagan recongnized them and there was a big party when they got home. I had another month and a half of pounding the jungle. We got a little welcome back. I was just glad to get home.

 

Rock

 

On the way home from the Gulf War, my flight from Tampa to Dulles stopped in Charlotte for a flight/plane change. The delay was about 3 hrs so, still wearing my desert BDUs and carrying the Kuwaiti rucksack (it was my carry-on luggage), I stopped in an airport bar for a sandwich and a beer. I sat in the back in a section by myself and when it was time to pay, the waiter said it was taken care of. I looked to where the waiter was pointing and it was a table of 4 30-something businessmen.

 

When they saw me looking at them they just waved and I said thank you. They said no, thank you, and that was it They didn't come over and start a conversation, intrude on my thoughts, or anything. It was the purist and truest form of kindness I've ever encountered. They expected nothing in return; they just paid for my sandwich and beer, waved briefly, and left without another word.

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I was peeling tatties (potatos) at an event when this woman who had observed me for about two minutes pipes up "Did they do that back then?"

 

I love the "is that yours".... "Where did ye get that"... And this is not at an event, but a message from an old mate from school I recently got back in touch with through facebook:

 

Hey ole bud, we used to do this stuff when we were 10.

I can understand demonstrating the old highland history to knowledgeable tourists who want to learn about our history, but playing soldier when you have never served, not even with your own country but with the nation who joined the last great conflict (I could say war) at the eleventh hour and as usual took all the glory........frankly, my old friend I am a wee bit surprised

 

(cough)... Yeahhhh... :crying: :blink:

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Dirteater101

My favorite....

 

You mainly see this with the under 25 crowd.... THE VIDEO GAME WEAPONS EXPERT.

 

I have set up my extensive weapons display at events across the tri state area, and I keep finding these kids. They know some facts that are correct, but are quite animate about the incorrect things... "OH the thompson is my favorite, it is so light weigh and that 50 round mag..." They seem very surprised when you hand them an M1928 with a 20 rd box mag and they almost drop it due to the weight...

 

These are usually the same people that pick them up like they own them (usually with finger on the trigger) And start posing "gangsta" style with them.. This is always followed by a condescending "Young man, you do not point a weapon at some one unless you are prepared to use it, and it is polite courtesy to ask the nice armed man who owns them if you may pick them up!". My Wife tells me I am really good at this, guess it is the whole cop thing... Or the fact that I have to oil everything that these little urchins grab....

 

My favorite (in a good way) are the local cops/rangers.. Will Bs for hours with these fine (usually) officers.... And the more liberal ones see a gun they stay away, usually....

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agate hunter
Lee is right; I've met many of the same folks at the very same Fort Lewis events over the years. One of those characters was so bizarre that we simply named the he/she/it (wasn't sure what it was) the "Creature." Of course that was when the SCA did their thing at the event. As a result of all the "grabby hands" at Lewis, my group has since erected a 550-cord "perimeter" with wooden stakes around our gear layout. We position this perimeter about two feet beyond our display and all around. Sufficed to say, this has effectively ended our issues with the OCD-types. Of course, we did get a set of twins this year who leaned awfully close over the "wire" and who would have probably fallen over have I not cautioned them to lean back.

 

John

 

Well some people are just really curious and are collectors that like to see as many real things as they can and don't like when people restrict that opportunity. i have seen the same thing happen at other events and shows and what not, even museums. i guess it's just because people (especially fellow collectors, not just average joe's) have keen interests in historical items, and like i said before, just don't like the whole "fenced off" idea. and people also try to come to living history shows to see and touch and interact with the "real thing". if they just wanted to see a restricted piece, then why not just go to a museum. just my thoughts :)

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Dirteater101
Well some people are just really curious and are collectors that like to see as many real things as they can and don't like when people restrict that opportunity. i have seen the same thing happen at other events and shows and what not, even museums. i guess it's just because people (especially fellow collectors, not just average joe's) have keen interests in historical items, and like i said before, just don't like the whole "fenced off" idea. and people also try to come to living history shows to see and touch and interact with the "real thing". if they just wanted to see a restricted piece, then why not just go to a museum. just my thoughts :)

 

If they would ask it would be different...

 

Most of them do not. They just pick it up like they own it. I spend a lot of time oiling away the greasy fingerprints out of my thompson after many of these events... Steam out some new dents in the stocks from them being "tossed down"... Most of this is from the kids that were apparently never informed of gun safety or respect for others expensive items..

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fortworthgal
My favorite....

 

You mainly see this with the under 25 crowd.... THE VIDEO GAME WEAPONS EXPERT.

 

I have set up my extensive weapons display at events across the tri state area, and I keep finding these kids. They know some facts that are correct, but are quite animate about the incorrect things... "OH the thompson is my favorite, it is so light weigh and that 50 round mag..." They seem very surprised when you hand them an M1928 with a 20 rd box mag and they almost drop it due to the weight...

 

Oh heavens, yes! Between all the "Call of Duty" experts and the flight sim people, everyone is an expert nowadays.

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If they would ask it would be different...

 

Most of them do not. They just pick it up like they own it. I spend a lot of time oiling away the greasy fingerprints out of my thompson after many of these events... Steam out some new dents in the stocks from them being "tossed down"... Most of this is from the kids that were apparently never informed of gun safety or respect for others expensive items..

 

Thats why I seldom do displays anymore.Everyone seems to think its a free touch and feel event.They seldom care or realize that the items have considerable value or that the owner has spent a small fortune obtaining these items.I see it much to often at gunshows too. For example,people (not just kids)just come up grab a revolver(with their greasy burrito stained booger pickers) whip the cylinder open and go all John Wayne or Dirty Harry and spin the cylinder and then snap their wrist and slam the cylinder shut. :thumbdown: Good way to screw up the timing on a nice revolver.

 

Or how bout the old vet that opens up your mint sealed K-ration as he is telling you"I know there iz cigarettes in there"

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shrapneldude
Or how bout the old vet that opens up your mint sealed K-ration as he is telling you"I know there iz cigarettes in there"

 

Hahaha! Sad to say this, but vets are most often the worst when it comes to "roughing stuff up" in terms of old gear. Always kicking and knocking and whacking things...letting the bolt fling closed on a rifle, pounding a helmet against the table, etc. In their defense, the stuff was just gov't issue stuff to beat up when they were issued it 50 years prior, and they don't have much concept of the stuff being of any real value now. It still makes me cringe just a bit when an old timer has to come up and start "testing" my gear. If anyone's earned a right to though, it's the veterans.

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what about the Dad who very loudly points out to his son the sign that says "PLEASE DON'T TOUCH" and then he goes and touches the item himself!?!?
Had exactly that happen over the weekend when I set up my war correspondent tent display. The guy’s kid just laid their hand on the keys of one of my typewriters and as I was opening my mouth to politely ask not to touch the display, the father leaps over and screams at the kid not to touch, like the kid was reaching into a fire or something. The kid reacted of course (as did a few people walking by and stuck their noses in to see why the guy was screaming like that). No less than two seconds later, he sees a “captured” German rifle (in with some “war souvenirs” showing the stuff correspondents often wound up with) and snatches if off the table, waving it around and making sounds like he’s shooting it, pointing it toward the people standing at the entrance of the tent. I grabbed the muzzle, thrust it straight down (the guy still holding on like I’m trying to steal his property), and noted the guy still had no clue why I was doing this. I snatched the rifle out of his grip and sort of lost it. I yelled, “What is the MATTER with you? You just yell at your kid for touching the typewriter and then you grab this gun and start POINTING it at people? He’s the child, not you! Set an example and show how an adult is supposed to act!” The kid, I swear, starting laughing uncontrollably. The father of course had a look of death in his eye once it registered what I had just said to him. He grabbed the son and walked out without a word. I stood there coming down off the adrenalin of the moment and the people who’d been outside started trickling in. I apologized to them for having overheard me losing my cool. One older guy said, “Son, if that’d been me, I’d have butt-stroked the guy with that gun.” The others all agreed my reaction was understandable and many made comments about the father being a, “do as I say – not as I do,” type. I still felt embarrassed for having lost my cool but I just couldn’t believe what I’d just seen.
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Dirteater101

I usually have the muzzles pointing toward the crowd, It helps alleviate the "Oh I can pick this up" factor, sort of... Of course makeing a lot of eye contact and having My 1911a1 locked and cocked in a rather visible M-3 holster... Still only 70% effective....

 

And If I have to hear my Colt 1917 referred to as a "44 magnum" one more time..... Someone dies.... And the offending party usually leaves half way through the explanation!

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Jamecharles

Congratulations guys this is a really fun topic, I would write 2 most enjoyable experience ever happened to me in a few years of reenacting :

 

1st - we were (me and my reenactors group) returning from an reenacting event near a forest and near the parking of this forest a family stopped us with an exclamation '' Gentlemen, You are hunters? '' I was literally baffled and I 've replyied sarcastically:''Oh yeah sure and be very careful when entering the pine forest without an helmet and machinegun, is full of wild beasts araound there ...'' (we were dressed as 2nd bn rangers after the dday ...)

 

2nd- I was participating in a column of vintage military vehicles in northern Italy and all the people who crossed the column were happy to see us, but I noticed an elderly lady was waving us to inappropriate .... she was insulting:''All of you gonna die''

Unfortunately in Italy are often not well considering the historical re-enactments

 

Enjoy

 

GS

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Corpl. Cleaver

Last event I was incharge of the unit MG pit.

I had my 1903 leaning against the wall, so when peopl look down, they have a muzzle right in their face. Just to my right is a operational live fireing .30 MG and on my lap is a Class III Thompson..... I didn't have any real problems....

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God, what a GREAT thread.

 

I did Civil War reenacting for nearly 10 years, first as an Infantryman with the "Stonewall Brigade", and later as the Regimental Assistant Surgeon.

 

Some of my "favorite" stories...

 

My wife was feeding our 2 month old son and was asked (Yes, no sheet) If the 'baby' was real?

 

When she said it was, the harridan asking the question then stated she was 'doing it wrong'.

 

Said harridan was then not so politely told some non period things by my wife LOL.

 

That's when my wife (Former Marine, Part Apache Indian) took to wearing a nice "Captured" belt with a hank of (real) blonde hair with movie blood on it. We knew it wasn't correct, but by god, it sure kept the idiots far away from her LOL.

 

Lets see...what else..

 

The 'lookers' who insist on opening up the tent flaps and actually wandering into your TENT, even though they are closed and tied...then asking (for the 100th time) "Did you really sleep here last night?"

 

"Is that fire real?" Then after being told 'Yes', spits into same, where cooking is being done. Encourages children to spit into fire as well.

 

Our Black Drummer boy (we were a Confederate outfit) was asked why he was hanging out with 'racist klansmen' so many times he took to telling people he was an 'undercover brother'. (It was hilarious I assure you).

 

 

As a Surgeon, having to explain amputation procedure was always fun. I considered the day a success when I got mothers to turn paler and kids to be going "Awwww, cooool". Funny, I never had folks wanting to handle my knives and saws LOL. When I got into bodily functions, death by fire, and copious vomiting, as well as the millions of flies, maggots, and other critters that could be found around most camps, most of the time, my audience decided to have pressing business elsewhere LOL. The troops I would work with would often ask me to come over and start talking about stuff like that just to get rid of certain people. Just mention "Laudable Pus" to a crowd and explain it, (Esp focus on those eating chili dogs when talking about liver bile!) and you are sure to clear the area.

 

I had a ball, but it was draining most of the time. I always enjoyed doing my 'surgical bit' (and I never used stage blood or anything else...to me, that's an insult to the real wounded) and got several very nice compliments from REAL doctors who asked me where I'd been to Medical school LOL. My favorite line to them was always, "I'm not a real doctor, I just play one in the 19th Century~!"

 

Again...this is a GREAT thread!

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I participated in the Troop Aid, Middletown Ohio event on the 14th, 15th and 16th of May. I set up my display and spent Friday and Saturday fielding questions for the most part. When I'm displaying like this, I usually don't kit up... preferring the items to be on the table so to speak, so I usually wear the temperature appropriate uniform, which in this case was my 42 jumps, with the wool service cap. As I had been in the Army for 28 years, I had thrown the cap on in the modern way but tipping it way forward, well down on my brow, giving no immediate thought to the attitude and cockiness of paratroopers, but achieving the look anyway. One of the problems for the event that weekend was a little league tournament the city scheduled behind the event's back, which really killed the event with all the people who were forced to be let in for free... and it was one of those little leaguers that really just about made me lose my bearing. The kid walks up with his father and is looking at the display and I have to give the kid and his father props... they didn't touch a thing. I told them if they had any questions feel free to ask. As they go through, this kid is telling his father all about the weapons on the table... all video game info I might add... then proceeded to inform me what was wrong with my display in a totally "I know more than you do" condescending tone you expect to hear from a rich kid. Dad just stood there and didn't say a word. Finally he says to me, You're wearing your hat wrong. It should be worn back on the head... and it should have corners on it, not rounded like yours.

 

I took a deep breath and looked at his father, who was oblivious to the axe that was about to fall on his kid. I told him, "Look kid, you've obviously never been in the army, so I wouldn't expect you to know the first thing about it. You've obviously gotten all of your information from a videogame. Have you ever even cracked a book and tried to learn about WWII, the war? Let alone the soldiers who served in it, what uniforms they wore, weapons they used, or any one of a million little facts about what really went on? Do you know what it's like to see your friends blown to bits or killed? Do you know what it's like to have real bullets zipping by your head while you are trying to take cover behind something that 20 other guys are trying to hide behind? You want to learn about history? Get off the game console and pick up a book and study not only the history, but the men who fought it. Don't even pretend to tell someone who's spent twenty eight years serving his country that he doesn't know what he's talking about. Tell you what. You go and you look up pictures of paratroopers, or any soldier from WWII and I can guarantee you that of the ones you see in photos with their dress uniform on, about 90% of them arent wearing their headgear according to regulations. It goes with the times... and the fact that when you've survived combat, some of them many times, how you wear your hat is the least of your worries, and to be honest, they've earned the right to be cocky and wear it however they wanted. In a picture of a formation of soldiers like a unit photo, yeah... the headgear was probably worn according to regulation, but outside of a commander's control, like on leave or pass, the soldiers wore their hats however they wanted to... and they still do."

 

The kid paled, and started rationalizing... "But, in Call to Duty..." he started... and I cut him off. "Kid, that's a video game made by people who have no idea what real war is all about except what they see on Saving private ryan or Band of Brothers. When you turn 18, join the army and go to war... you'll find out its not the same as a video game. When you've done that, come back and see me and we can argue whats right and wrong." I said. The kid just walked off... and his father never said a word. I just stood there, not knowing what I didn't believe more... that a kid had presumed to tell me I was wrong based on a video game, or that I'd verbally spanked the kid in front of his father, who'd done nothing about it. Keep in mind, I never raised my voice over a normal tone of voice. Lord knows my insides were screaming... but I maintained a level head and spoke my mind without raising my voice. Can I have my medal for courageous restraint now?

 

Wayne

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Wayne,

I think many of us have “been there.” I have a Nintendo Wii and people who know me and know I have it can’t believe I’ve never even played these games once. One of these video games has a 50-round magazine for a Tommy Gun. I know this only because I’ve heard that SO many times and I too have had these kids tell me the actual magazine I have lying in front of them is wrong. I even went so far as to once grab a box of dummy rounds, pour out 50 and hand the kid the magazine, saying, “Son, if you can stuff all 50 of these into this WW2 magazine, I’ll give you my (parts kit M1928A1 with solid upper) Tommy Gun.” He stood there with a baffled look, knowing I wouldn’t give him the challenge if I wasn’t darned sure. A lot of these kids think soldiers carried a BAR and a Carbine, AND a bazooka, AND several other small arms because the video game lets them swap back and forth between them. I once loaded up a 12-year-old with a M1A1 bazooka, a carbine and took a M1919A4 off the tripod and said, “Now, carry that for about 20 miles, and oh, don’t forget your 40+ pound pack and ammo belts…” He got the point quickly. Once you blow holes into those aspects of their games, the rest of their arguments fall like dominoes. THEN, you can make an impact over how “accurate” these game are.

Still, I am not sure that telling him to join the modern military is going to make you point with relating to anything in a WW2 context. When I have these discussions, I don’t even bring up my real-life modern Army service. I go more with, “Go pick up a book and talk to a vet who was there, and lay off the Xbox and DVD player for a while.”

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Wayne,

I think many of us have “been there.” I have a Nintendo Wii and people who know me and know I have it can’t believe I’ve never even played these games once. One of these video games has a 50-round magazine for a Tommy Gun. I know this only because I’ve heard that SO many times and I too have had these kids tell me the actual magazine I have lying in front of them is wrong. I even went so far as to once grab a box of dummy rounds, pour out 50 and hand the kid the magazine, saying, “Son, if you can stuff all 50 of these into this WW2 magazine, I’ll give you my (parts kit M1928A1 with solid upper) Tommy Gun.” He stood there with a baffled look, knowing I wouldn’t give him the challenge if I wasn’t darned sure. A lot of these kids think soldiers carried a BAR and a Carbine, AND a bazooka, AND several other small arms because the video game lets them swap back and forth between them. I once loaded up a 12-year-old with a M1A1 bazooka, a carbine and took a M1919A4 off the tripod and said, “Now, carry that for about 20 miles, and oh, don’t forget your 40+ pound pack and ammo belts…” He got the point quickly. Once you blow holes into those aspects of their games, the rest of their arguments fall like dominoes. THEN, you can make an impact over how “accurate” these game are.

Still, I am not sure that telling him to join the modern military is going to make you point with relating to anything in a WW2 context. When I have these discussions, I don’t even bring up my real-life modern Army service. I go more with, “Go pick up a book and talk to a vet who was there, and lay off the Xbox and DVD player for a while.”

 

Amen Brother... I watched my son playing army once... Bloodthirsty kinda play... so I called him in the house and put on Saving private Ryan, and made him watch that and gettysburg... he turned pale... I told him in a soft voice that THAT was what war is about. People die, and they die horribly, not some game where you count to ten are alive again. Needless to say he laid off playing army for awhile... I had him hooked on reenacting for one event... then he found a girlfriend... sighs... so much I wanted to teach him...

 

Sometimes it takes dumping all that on them to get it through their thick skulls that games are just that... games... Real life tends to be somewhat more problematic...

 

Wayne

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Dirteater101

I think we have ran into the same kids...

 

It will be our lot to re- educate these "video game historians"......

 

 

going to be a long journey.....

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A couple of years ago, we were doing the annual living history event at Ft. Concho, Texas. (Christmas at old Fort Concho... San Angelo, Texas.) Our small units impression is Co. B, 8th Infantry, circa 1860. In front of our fly we had a sign stating our unit and also "Department of Texas". Most units did this sort of thing to lable their camp areas and tell the spectators who you were representing.

Along comes a couple of young ladies in their 20's or so. One of them keeps looking at our sign and finally asks if we were some sort of prison! After we explained what the sign ment, the girls left and we all had a good chuckle because evidently they were somehow familuar with the Texas Department of Corrections! I don't know if they ever caught on that under old Army organization of the 19th century, various geographical areas were called "departments".

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Wayne,

I think many of us have “been there.” I have a Nintendo Wii and people who know me and know I have it can’t believe I’ve never even played these games once. One of these video games has a 50-round magazine for a Tommy Gun. I know this only because I’ve heard that SO many times and I too have had these kids tell me the actual magazine I have lying in front of them is wrong. I even went so far as to once grab a box of dummy rounds, pour out 50 and hand the kid the magazine, saying, “Son, if you can stuff all 50 of these into this WW2 magazine, I’ll give you my (parts kit M1928A1 with solid upper) Tommy Gun.” He stood there with a baffled look, knowing I wouldn’t give him the challenge if I wasn’t darned sure. A lot of these kids think soldiers carried a BAR and a Carbine, AND a bazooka, AND several other small arms because the video game lets them swap back and forth between them. I once loaded up a 12-year-old with a M1A1 bazooka, a carbine and took a M1919A4 off the tripod and said, “Now, carry that for about 20 miles, and oh, don’t forget your 40+ pound pack and ammo belts…” He got the point quickly. Once you blow holes into those aspects of their games, the rest of their arguments fall like dominoes. THEN, you can make an impact over how “accurate” these game are.

Still, I am not sure that telling him to join the modern military is going to make you point with relating to anything in a WW2 context. When I have these discussions, I don’t even bring up my real-life modern Army service. I go more with, “Go pick up a book and talk to a vet who was there, and lay off the Xbox and DVD player for a while.”

 

 

I am 17 now, but when I was about 11- 14 I played Call of Duty and Medal of Honor. In Medal of Honor, I swear, I was carrying a bazooka, a Thompson, Colt M1911, B.A.R., captured Japanese gun, M-1 Garand, and 24 grenades. I see why these kids think they know so much now, because the video games teach them. Now at 11, I just knew that carrying that many weapons was just wrong.

 

I think I am one of the luckier kids who had books along with the video games. I used to watch the video games for historical innacuriacies, and boy there were tons of em!

 

Sam

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Corpl. Cleaver

On one of the MOH games the background sounds were taped at a reenactment. So in the middle of the game you can hear "Take your hit!, take your hit!" LOL

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On one of the MOH games the background sounds were taped at a reenactment. So in the middle of the game you can hear "Take your hit!, take your hit!" LOL

 

That is acutally the voice of a certain Fallschirmjager reenactor unit leader from Texas. I won't say anything bad, but because of certain things they do (and say) they are not the most popular group of Germans around. Plus, they are kind of farbalicious.

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At my displays I try to be clear that MOST Infnatrymen were/are RIFLEmen, hence do NOT use SMGs, or carbines, or BARs, and that adding a pistol was not the norm.

 

The VG Generation often is displeased with the notion that they get ONE dumb old 8-round, semi-auto, heavy Garand. "More bullets is better, everyone knows that!"

 

But then, they often have no concept that a GI's weapon would be what somebody TOLD him to use, with no (or little) individual option exercised at the arms room.

 

Same for the concept that ammo loads are finite; shoot it up and it's gone, and resupply may not be easy. And a GI doesn't hump around an unlimited supply of frags.

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With the FT MAC show coming up in a couple of week ...stand by ...I will have my camera handy and will picture some nice customers of the show .

This will be done for pure humor and no nastyness shall be intended.

owen

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