I was working my shift (The 3rd-10p-8a) and I got a call from a customer that was having some trouble. I am a Technical solutions Consultant III at HPE with the SimpliVity Solution. His name was BlueJay. I said to him “that is an interesting name, how did you come by it?” He replied that is was a long story and it had something to do with learning to fly. It was close to the end of my shift and I handed him over to the day shift, but a unique nickname like that got me to thinking about my nicknames. This is also a “long story”.
My mother told me when I was much younger that when I was born, my parents wanted me to be named Mickey Craven. (my last name changed when my dad adopted me in 1968) She said that when her parents came to see her (and me) in the hospital, that my German-Lutheran grandparents said that my name was much to Irish and they wished she would change her mind. That’s how the name Michael came to be mine. Everyone referred to me as “Mikey”.
Now in the 1970’s Quaker Oats Company came out with a cereal called Life. A boy (John Gilcrist) was called “Mikey” and they had an ad campaign based on “Mikey Likes It”. “Let Mikey try it, he hates everything” became a common statement around my house, so my name pretty much went from Mickey to Mikey and the name Michael was only used when my mother was real angry with me. People that know me are comfortable calling me Mikey but being the old curmudgeon I am most the time now, it is just “Mike”.
I was in the Army and spent 3 years in and around the Korean DMZ. My then wife was Korean and lived in a local village there. I was a forward observer (FO) for the artillery battalion in that area. People usually called me by my rank of Sergeant. (Sargent Seden). A couple of years later at Fort Stewart, I worked for General Schwarzkopf when he was a Major (2 star) General, that would turn into “Sargent Yes” as ‘yes’ was the only reply I wanted to hear when communicating an order.
During my time in the DMZ, there was a firebase called ‘4Papa1’ and it was the only live firebase in the Army anywhere in the world. We always had 6 guns pointed at targets in North Korea, to protect our troops. Part of my duties was to “register” the guns every 3 days or so or when the weather changed. They would take 1 gun and turn it around and I would have to ‘register’ it by getting rounds close to the target. That way they would have very accurate data to set the guns with.
On one of these trips to the register them, I had finished registering the gun, and the fire direction center (FDC) asked me to call a fire mission to expend some old ammo. A “Danger Close” fire mission requires the guns to shoot at that target until the FO says quit, or they run out of ammo. I sent them a grid coordinate for a small stream intersection, at the base of the hill I was on next to the edge of the impact area.
As I got “shot over” over the radio a flock of ducks flew in and started to settle into that spot. The rounds came rapidly and as the first one landed the ducks flew away. The rounds were HE (High Explosive) and WP (white phosphorus) and there was 6 of each. The ammo expended, I ended the fire mission and got ready to leave. The WP had started a small fire at thee edge of the impact area and I didn’t want to leave it, so I took my Private and a shovel and we went down the hill.
We put out the small fires and as I was headed back to the jeep I saw a Green Winged Teal duck (Eurasian) laying on the ice of the stream with a trickle of blood running from it’s bill. I love duck and seeing no physical injury (the concussion killed it) I took the duck home, the housekeeper cleaned it and we had it for supper. It was nothing special until the next day.
I got up and did the normal Army stuff and when I got to the Motor pool, there was a duck with an artillery round chasing it and feathers flying off painted on my vehicle. I became Sargent Duck hunter. I was known as the “The Duck Hunter” for the rest of my tour in Korea. I hunted ducks as a kid and still have a few decoys, duck calls and “duck memorabilia” along with that nickname. The ringtone on my phone is a duck quacking.
To finish up this ‘long story’ I will close by saying that I am the only person you will ever meet, that has hunted with a 105mm howitzer, shot down a duck and took it home and ate it.