MCARA Sea Stories

Kunsan Taxi

Twas the night or maybe two before Christmas in 1979 when two current MCARA members in their former lives as officers and gentlemen in MAG-12 joined by two of their compatriots headed out of good old Iwakuni in a pair of TA-4Fs for a one night cultural exchange visit to Kunsan AB Korea before heading South to the warmer confines of Cubi Pt. Never having been to Kunsan before they sought some American (ugly) tourist advice from the local USAF reps who also informed them that the vill was just a short taxi ride away.

After hailing a cab so to speak the foursome squeezed their way into a maybe 1960 vintage pseudo-Japanese 4 door sedan, with no heater of course but it was to be a short ride. Twenty minutes later, feeling like an hour, their chariot arrived on the outskirts of the vill. As is customary when Americans abroad with limited beer money share a cab no one wants to pay the tab so some kind of game of chance must be used to decide who gets the honor. It had become the Ready Group’s custom in these circumstances to resolve the issue via “valve stem roulette”. Rules were so simple even field grade officers could play! Someone yells out their selection of tire followed by the next two quickest tongues and the tail end Charlie takes the fourth .. no not the fifth, as there ain’t no spare!!

After setting this commotion in motion, the moment the old tin rattletrap came to a halt the four flight-suited contestants jumped out and ran to their respective tires pointing and proclaiming at the top of their lungs that their valve stem was farthest from the “winning” six o’clock position. Alas the cultural exchange got off to a wrong start as the poor Korean taxi driver who understood little English couldn’t be faulted at this point for not volunteering to referee but unfortunately misinterpreting the crazy Americans actions, he leaped out of his cab and ran for his life fearing it was about to blow up!!! Holy Kimchi and this was before the war on terror!!

As told to Col. H.Wayne “Flash” Whitten USMC (ret) Names of participants withheld to protect the guilty but I’m told Will Jackson will tell all for a free San Miguellobe beer.