By: Robert “Okie Bob” Layton
USS Coral Sea 1981
We had just completed a 135 day at sea period in the Indian Ocean. We were pulling into the PI for a much-anticipated liberty. With us was a 3rd class metalsmith by the name of Medina a fairly decent sailor, & “cherry boy to the PI.” Well, old Medina had duty the first day in port, so no off base liberty for him that day. Early next morning as the Liberty party came back onboard old Medina really got his ears full of the wonders of Subic and was really pumped-up about his upcoming liberty.
Since it was his first time, Joe Creapo and Red Lahe were to take Medina under their wings for his “Liberty in PI” indoc. Well true to their character Joe and Red left instructions for Medina to catch a taxi from the Cubi Carrier pier, go to the main gate, walk across Shit River, turn right on Murphy Street, and Meet us at the Marmont bar. Where all of us VFP-63 Det-2 sailors were hanging out.
Well, sir, Medina was completely green in the ways of the PI. So he gets off the ship about 0900 goes down the after brow gets into the taxi line.
Anyone that has been tied up to the carrier pier in Cubi knows how it uses to work. You stood in line and as the taxis pulled up the guy getting into the taxi usually turned around and addressing the remaining line would say something to the effect “anyone going to the main gate—–top of the hill—–exchange—ETC?” room for 1, 2, 3 more.
It was one of them unspoken rules (people who had been there before) done. Everyone shared space and the cost of the ride too!
When it came time for Medina to grab a taxi he failed to observe the taxi etiquette and just jumped into the front seat followed immediately by three sailors (whom he didn’t know) in the back seat.
Throwing away all time-honored precedence Medina started to question the move by the uninvited riders stating “This here is MY taxi now get out.”
The three sailors dumbfounded by his unusual behavior pleaded their case saying “Hey man you’re going to the Main Gate aren’t ya?”
Medina still oblivious to the workings said: “Yes but this is still MY taxi so—get the fuck get out!”
By this time the taxi had traveled about 200 feet when Medina gave the order to the taxi driver to stop.
When the cab came to a halt, the three sailors got out, opened up Medina’s door, —-got Medina the fuck out, and commenced to kick the living shit out of him to the cheers of the remaining Liberty party/taxi line.
After the older sailors had taken care of this west-Pac transportation neophyte, they started loading back into the taxi.
The newly designated shotgun rider looked back & shouted “room for one more–main gate.” And Medina’s recently vacated seat was instantly replaced by another sailor.
Well, the JOOD (junior officer of the deck) had also seen the goings on down on the pier and dispatched the ships oncoming shore patrol to take care of the ruckus on the shore.
Medina was instantly scooped-up and taken to sick bay. Where he was patched-up, stitches above the right eye, skin knocked off cheeks and forehead; you know the common (I-got-my-ass-kicked) injuries. Of course along with the injury came the insult he was taken out of liberty status and restricted to the ship for the remaining import.
We all felt a little sorry for Medina, not for his ass whoop, but because he had missed liberty in one of the best ports in the world.
Back out at sea we were all comparing notes laughing about the good times and just reliving the incredible liberty everyone had experienced in the PI.
Everyone that is except Medina. Who sat quietly in the corner still banged-up, And now about+140 days from his last tube cleaning.
People were just carrying on something awful showing off stuff they had purchased, you know that hard to find things like T-shirts, pictures of dogs playing cards, fine Magsaysay Street jewelry, and tattoos.
After the “show” came the “tell” San Miguel consumption was the topic with everyone trying to convince his shipmate who had drank the most.
Next was the “Top Gun” bragging rites centered on the most bagged hookers competition.
Followed by the “I was a bad ass” stories. It was at this time Medina joined in on the conversation. Rehashing his five-minute Liberty, Medina tried to convince us how he had the upper hand in the great taxi cab brawl.
But you just can’t bullshit them old salts, about mid-sentence in his description of how he had kicked the intruders out of HIS taxi Joe butts in, “Medina” he says “you’re full of shit admit it, you just overloaded your ass and got it handed back to you.”
Medina replies back “Joe if you and Red had been WITH me maybe the odds would have been even, and we could have handled those guys.”
Joe answers back “Medina, Red or me wouldn’t have kicked those guys out, to begin with.”
I’ll tell you what boot camp, Next liberty we will make sure you have a good time—-your way”.
“I’m going to make you a Liberty Machine.”
At this point everyone’s attention was focused on Joe, he adds “Here is how it is going to work.”
(1) I’ll set the machine up down on the pier.
(2) I’ll make sure there are plenty of boots like you standing in line waiting to use the. machine
(3) I’ll have it all painted up so you can’t mistake it (looks something like a photo booth).
(4) After waiting in line for awhile 2+hours you enter the machine.
(5) You will sit down in front of a blank TV screen.
(6) A recording will come on telling you to deposit one dollar (pretty cheap hey).
(7) After you deposit a dollar, a little door will open, out of which will drop a shot glass full of really cheap gin.
(8) As you reach to grab the gin, a hand comes out and locks on your wrist another arm drops down with a needle and starts to give you a Tattoo it reads (MOM).
(9) At the same time your getting tattooed a little suction tube comes out of the bottom and clamps on your dick however it doesn’t give you a blow job just the clap.
(10) The machine will ask for all your money and you wanting to finish your blow job will start to put money into it then you will realize you can do it yourself and stop with the money.
(11) That’s when the two boxing gloves come out of the sides and start to beat the living crap out of you.
(12) Another hand comes out takes your wallet, and all your money rips up your liberty card and loses your ID.
(13) A phone automatically calls the shore patrol.
(14) A side door opens and ejects you out of the machine.
(15) The shore patrol arrives takes you back on board the ship.
“So ya see Medina you don’t need Red or me for liberty, take a tip from us old salts, and just go down & get in line for the Liberty machine.”
“It will be everything you need, cheap drunk, tattoo, quick sex, a case of the clap, a fight on liberty, shore patrol involvement, and punitive action.”
“Damn boy just about everything a seagoing sailor needs to pull off a successful liberty and the beauty about it is——– you have all the evidence of a long and hard liberty (without any witness) so you can tell it any way you want.”
Everyone cracked up, including Medina.
Postscript: Medina did get liberty the next import.