Home Opinion Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: Military Memories

Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: Military Memories


FORGIVE ME. A large part of today ‘s column is a repeat of a column from 2017. Recently I went to Little Rock for Arkansas’s “Welcome Home” event for Vietnam veterans. It was a really nice event held on the campus of UALR. The governor and a bunch of bigwigs were there. And lots of veterans, too. It’s amazing how old and fat some of them have gotten!

So, I’ve been thinking about my days in uniform.

And this week, I take off on a five-day trip which includes a reunion with some of my helicopter aircrewmen buddies from US Navy Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron 4. It’s been more than a half-century since I’ve seen them (except for one skinny Talco, Texas, boy). We were trained to hunt for submarines. Instead we got sent to the South China Sea. The electronic gear was taken out of our choppers, and machine guns were installed. We flew search and rescue missions up and down the coast, out at sea, and just little ways overland. There are about a dozen of us who are in touch daily by email, and it looks like 10 may be present for muster at the reunion.

So, I’ve been thinking about my days in uniform.

This column doesn’t start out about my days in uniform, but it gets there.


MY ADVICE freely given to the board of directors at Howard Memorial Hospital is to seriously think about establishing a nose and ear hair clinic.

We got all kinds of clinics — and I am proud of all of ‘em — but, for instance, I really do not need a gynecology clinic. HMH has got urology, pediatric, dermatology, sleep, heart and other clinics, including one for geriatric behavioral health which I won’t try to explain right now.

What I need the most is a good, reliable nose and ear hair clinic.

It is one of the true mysteries of life why men’s noggin hair falls out at about the same time ear and nose hairs sprout so copiously.

Some people, myself included, have a hard time breathing because of the silver nose bristles that clog the nostrils. And I don’t need a hearing aid, I just need an open passageway in my ears.

This hair thing apparently has something to do with testosterone, but I won’t bother trying to explain it to you right now.

I just know that the clinician at the geriatric behavioral health clinic said — with some disgust — “You’ve got enough nose hair to weave a Navajo Indian blanket.”


Reminds me of my Navy boot camp company commander (a tough little 1st Class Petty Officer  who was one scary dude).

On the night before our first official personal inspection, he warned us to shave closely. “I don’t want to see no peach fuzz,” he growled. Man, he was really scary.

But one smart guy from Erie, Pa., decided that he really didn’t need to shave. “All I got is a little peach fuzz,” he told us fellow ‘boots’ after the company commander had left.

Next morning we lined up at attention for inspection. Our company commander walked down the line closely examining (1) fingernails; (2) how clean the neckline of our t-shirt was; (3) and the presence of facial hair.

He stopped in front of that know-it-all from Pennsylvania.

“I thought I told you no peach fuzz,” he said with glare that would have stunned a small animal or transgender sailor.

The company commander whipped out his trusty Zippo lighter; flicked it alive; and passed the flame over the boot’s chinny-chin-chin. If you were standing close you could smell the burnt hairs.

The rest of our bootcamp company took to heart the lesson from that unofficial US Navy teaching opportunity.

That night the company commander growled that we needed to wash our privates real good because next day the navy nurse was going to give us all an intimate inspection.

As he said this, he casually flipped the top of that Zippo open and closed. Open and closed. Open and closed. Click and clack.

Another teaching opportunity was avoided


FAIR WEATHER. Both of you will remember that I have described myself as the Number One Fair Weather Fan of the Arkansas Razorbacks.

I drove to Little Rock, Saturday, with the idea of attending the Spring Red-White Scrimmage.

I was going with my daughter, Julie, and Miss Carsyn Elizabeth Murphy, age 14, but when we went out the door of their house we were hit in the face with sleet.

Yep. Sleet.

It was too doggone cold to sit on the War Memorial Stadium concrete bleachers so we went out for tamales instead.


THINGS I LEARNED from opening email: You know that tingly little feeling you get when you love someone? That’s common sense leaving your body.


WORD GAMES. The twins: Cruel and Unusual. Their last name is Punishment.


HE SAID: “Fortunate people often have very favorable beginnings and very tragic endings. What matters isn’t being applauded when you arrive – for that is common – but being missed when you leave.” Baltasar Gracian, theologian


SHE SAID: “We lost the American colonies because we lacked the statesmanship to know the right time and the manner of yielding what is impossible to keep.” Elizabeth II, monarch



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