Peso Bill the Pig Farmer from Kentucky
By: Jerry Collins
Ok Hole Snipes, story time. And this is a genuine No Shitter from the start. Some of the following was told to me by our young hero himself, some of it was directly observed by yours truly. Hell…the whole thing has become Legend for those that knew him.
Young Billy Swafford grew up on a pig farm in rural Kentucky. His childhood was comprised of feeding pigs, mucking out the hog pens and spreading manure on a subsistence sized family hog farm. As Bill approached the age of seventeen, I believe, he began searching for a way out of a life filled with hog shit, swill and the stench that permeated his soul. Something that one has to experience firsthand to understand.
So… Billy chose the Navy as a means of escape. His recruiter promised him adventures in faraway lands and training as an ENGINEER! There would be no more pigs, just nice, clean machines to work on. This was right up Bill’s alley…although he was about as mechanically inclined as his former charges on the farm. What he lacked in intelligence he more than made up for in enthusiasm, zest, and determination to NEVER return to that foul smelling place called home.
Billy Swafford was ordered into USS Cape Cod, a Destroyer Tender, in 1982 or possibly 1983. He was astounded by his luck in getting orders to a fine Naval vessel with …WOMEN! Unfortunately for Billy, his family heritage leans towards the banjo playing type of breeding featured in the movie Deliverance and is often found in families that operate hog farms in rural Kentucky, Tennessee and other southern states as well as a few northern ones.
Billy was barely five feet two inches tall. His countenance would be called roundish. He resembled a snowman made with balls of snow, that is to say…he was kinda lumpy. A body and a large over-sized head that sported a white hat, sized at least, 8¾. Actually, he kind of resembled those hogs he hated so much. The poor bastard. Billy was in a ship with hot running cooch and he had as much chance of getting laid as an ice cube did in hell.
Billy did not despair, all was not lost. Cape Cod was beginning its maiden WestPac cruise and the first port of call was Hawaii! Of course, Bill struck out with every woman in Hawaii as well. Billy really enjoyed a quasi-division party, in a Waikiki hotel suite, where everyone got shitfaced and watched the Cheng hold the Dental Officer, who had little pretty man hands, over a balcony screaming, “If you can fuck you can fly.” But that’s a story for another time.
After the Hawaii visit Cape Cod headed West South West and crossed the line with the appropriate ceremony established by centuries of seafarers. All were duly initiated into the mysteries of the deep. Bill really didn’t understand and was confused at all the ass whoopin’ but felt strangely at home with the garbage and smells. Billy enjoyed and appreciated many a titty revealed through the wet t-shirts of the female sailors, as did we all.
Our next port was, you guessed it, Subic bay and glorious Olongapo City. We had all been gathering paychecks and hearing the stories about San Miguel, bar girls, and bar fines from the old salts aboard.
MMFA William Swafford took in the stories and formulated a plan. He had accumulated over six months’ pay and no matter the cost, the trials, the tribulations, the weather, his roly-poly body, or his gourd-sized noggin; William Swafford was getting LAID!
Bill first decided that he needed a suit. We tried to tell him, “Bill…it’s monsoon season, everything is so muddy that you can ruin a pair of pants by just taking them out of your locker. ” He wasn’t listening. “Billy it’s over 100° with 100% humidity.” He didn’t care. “Bill! There’s mud everywhere and you can get laid for practically nothing!” To no effect, Billy was going to have a suit made to order.
The fateful day arrives and as we moor to the pier, Bill is chompin’ at the bit like a stallion downwind of a herd of mares in heat. Shore power was not an option but Bill had planned for this eventuality by getting a request chit for three days leave well in advance of everyone else. He was very possibly the first hole snipe to clear the brow that day.
The next day…
As a group of hole snipes I were strolling along Magsaysay, heading towards the traffic circle and yet another round of San Magoo, I saw one of the damndest and funniest sights I ever hope to see. There he stood, a pasty-faced redneck in a BRIGHT yellow double breasted, three-piece suit. He was wearing a pair of Western boots sporting brass spurs and cowhide with the hair still on them dyed to match the suit. This was topped off with a ten-gallon BRIGHT yellow cowboy hat. Billy got his suit.
He approached MMFN Harmon, BTFN Daloisio and, probably, BT3 Kompara, a few others and me. He was sporting a girl on each arm. I asked…”Billy…where the fuck did you get that damn suit?” He replied “Collins…they make them right here while you wait! And you can get a beer and BJ while you’re waiting!” We all slapped Billy on the back and took a good look at the two Honey-ko’s with him. Yep…true to form…Billy found the two ugliest PI bargirls you had ever seen. Both had crossed eyes and the biggest heads you have ever seen on a Filipina. A pair of real water heads. Really oversized noggins! They actually made Bill’s head appear smaller.
We wrap Billy up and press him to take us to where he had been holing up. So he takes us to the Marmont. Bill had spared no expense. We all raided the fridge for Magoo’s and he tells us his story.
“I wanted the best hotel so I asked the Cheng for advice and he set me up here. I told’em I needed a glass-topped coffee table. I always wanted to see how girl’s things worked but I didn’t want to get any on me or my suit.”
Yeah, Billy had never left the farm. Back in the shit, but with a new suit! Since Billy was flush with cash, the fridge was stocked with food and beer and the girls, homely as they were, treated him like royalty. They treated us fine as well and after we had gotten our morning drunk started, Bill asked if any of us wanted to see the show and pulled out the coffee table. That was enough for us and we beat a hasty retreat to our new favorite watering hole. Old West One probably, I forget.
About seven or ten San Miguels and a couple of pitchers of Mojo later, Bill came swaggering in like a bright yellow, midget John Wayne, sans his herd of homely girlfriends We welcomed him and passed around the Mojo, the Bullfrog, and San Miguel as we all settled down for the early evening’s entertainment of the evening. PESO SHOWS!
We were all three sheets to the wind and the conversation turned to challenges. It usually happens when a group of snipes and a lot of alcohol all come together on liberty. Someone, probably, John Summerer, then again, it may have been another of my warped snipe brothers, challenged Billy to pick up Peso’s like the girls did. Billy wasn’t completely stupid. He just looked at a peso and reasoned that since he didn’t have a twat to stuff it in, he would just swallow it. Now if you have been there, you know the size of a Peso. With amazing control over the gag reflex, down the hatch, it went. We couldn’t believe that he had actually done it and stood there staring in amazement.
That is when he started hurting. Since he was a Machinist Mate, we left Billy in the care of the MM’s and did what any red-blooded BT does under the circumstances, ordered another beer and started shopping for a short time.
His shipmates took Billy to the Base Medical Dispensary. Billy was admitted to the hospital where the doctors performed major abdominal surgery to extract the Peso. There was no way for him to regurgitate it and passing it through onto the glass-topped coffee table was not physically possible.
Cape Cod departed Subic for Hong Kong for a seven-day turnaround and then return to Subic. We went to visit Bill, dropped off some magazines and said comforting words, all the while thinking, “Billy, you dumbass, you should have stayed on the farm with all the fucking pigs.
We left Subic again, this time for the Indian Ocean, where we would make calls at Mombasa, Diego Garcia, Bahrain, Muscat and finally Diego Garcia.
Billy was there waiting for us. He checked aboard and got settled in and we all welcomed him home and refreshed him on his duties as messenger. That is when he showed it to us.
The Doctors had left Bill with a lasting reminder that it’s not cool to get drunk and swallow coins, especially coins as large as a Peso. They had cut him from sternum to belly button to get the damn peso out. May have been overkill, to say the least.
Billy was proud of his scar. He scoffed at the message the doctors had sent by getting a tattoo of a zipper over the scar and the words Peso Bill tattooed under it in fancy scroll work.
I transferred from Cape Cod and headed west to White Plains in late ‘84 and never saw Billy Swafford again. I wish Peso Bill well and would love to get in touch with him to see if he has a glass topped coffee table in his home now.
Jerry is the eldest child of a Chief Quartermaster. He is fifth in a long line Navy men. He landed feet first in the Engineering Department. His first Westpac cruise was classic, one for the record books. Deciding that more Westpac was best, Jerry volunteered for the Orient Express, the forward deployed USS White Plains. He now lives in the Midwest, the father of five who dotes on his nine grandchildren.