24 September 2006

I Flew Those!

If I had a nickel for every time it has happened, I'd have a heavy piggy-bank.
I land at some hospital and get my crew on their way, then cool and shut down the engines. Most hospital helipads are conveniently located somewhere near the Emergency Room, so we generally have an audience for our landing.
Every couple months, some middle-aged dude will stand up, hitch up his britches, approach me as I walk from the helicopter toward the ER and strike up a conversation with, "I flew those in Viet Nam."
This is kind of a strange statement, because the BK117 I fly as a helicopter ambulance was not manufactured until the 1980's. But I give the guy a pass, knowing he's talking about some helicopter in general.
"Oh really? Where were you?"
At this point the guy will refocus......... sort of take a half-step back and take another look at me, and notice my hair is grayer than he first thought, and there are a few more wrinkles than he may have initially noticed.
Then it's fun to watch their face........
First I can see the question as he thinks, "Is it possible this guy is a Viet Nam Veteran?"
Then the panic......."How do I get myself outta this situation without looking like a fool?"

Then comes the answer I have heard several times-
"Oh, I was all over!"
My next question, "What unit were you with?", almost always gets the same answer: "The 101st."
These fibbers have done enough study to know the 101st Airborne WAS all over the country, and by claiming they were a member of the 101st, they avoid having to go into detail about any particular area when questioned about Viet Nam.

Invariably, the next step is to extricate themselves as quickly as possible by saying, "Well, I gotta go...... see ya."

What is it about people that causes them to lie about such a thing?
Oddly, I take pride that someone thinks they can make themselves look more important by claiming something I can truthfully say:
"I flew these things in Viet Nam."



As you know, it isn't just with helicopters, but with "service" in general. I must say it's most generous on your part to let them off the hook.

You're a good man, Mr. Greybeard!!

OlePrairiedog said...

You are a good man, GB. That "Vet" probably has a Silver Star and a Distinquished Flying Cross that he uses to tell of his "adventures" in the corner bar. He then will complain about the poor service he gets from the VA who is supposed to take care of him for the rest of his life.

Aviatrix said...

That is bizarre! I'm pretty sure there aren't many helicopter evacs to and from mental wards, but it sounds like you keep meeting delusional individuals there.

I get a kick out of any time someone claims to do something I have really done.