I was a Jack Ruby fan from the first moment I met him in flight school. Jack was a short elf of a man with a well developed sense of humor. Jack and I were sent to the 187th Assault Helicopter Company in Tay Ninh, May of 1967.
Jack was a funny man. His father had been the chief test pilot at Hiller Helicopter company, and Jack had learned to fly a helicopter from his father at age 14, and could he ever fly a helicopter. Jack made flying look so easy.
After Vietnam Jack visited me in Utah when he was taking a new Hughes 500 out to his home in Colorado. Jack was killed only two weeks after I saw him in his new helicopter.
Warrant Officer Jack Ruby had a smart mouth, and it pretty much kept him in trouble. This is the last story I ever laughed about with Jack Ruby, he was prouder of this story than you could believe.
Every Tuesday of the Vietnam war, a private war was going on between the Commanding Officer Major "Wild Bill" Bauman and any of his pilots who did not want to take the dreaded, toxic waste producing, Malaria pill.
Jack Ruby could not come to terms with that Malaria pill. Jack would sneak around the company area on Tuesday to avoid having to take the Pill. Major Bauman set a trap for Jack, and right there in operations, in front of God and everyone, Jack swallowed a Cloroquine anti-malarial pill, and pulled a great face and choking act. Major Bauman rewarded him with chalk two, flying off Major Bauman, right out of the old mans window, on the upcoming combat assault. Bauman loved to chew ass on helicopter pilots not in correct formation, or not tight enough. I knew he was going to ride Jack for making a big fuss in operations. I was glad to be chalk three.
The Blackhawks cranked up and took off forming up in the air. Blackhawk Six was already on Jack's ass about catching up and getting in position. From chalk three I could see Jack's neck and face glowing red, I knew he was going to find some way to blow off some steam and get even with Major Bauman. "Chalk two close it up."
It was an easy hour to the pickup zone, and after things had settled down, I saw Jack climbing over the console into the back, where he proceeded to take his fatigue pants off, and put on a gunners monkey strap harness and start to climb back into the well kicking the gunner out of his spot. Then Jack sticks his bare butt into the slipstream, right out of Bauman's window. I can't see a thing, but the flight went nuts.
Once Jack got his butt out in the slipstream he nearly fell and only missed going over board buy one hand. It scared him so badly he could not go, so he just hung there waiting. I could hear Bauman on the radio, and see his red face in the window of lead, the more he screamed the longer it took Jack. Finally giving up, Jack crawled in and got dressed, all the time Major Bauman was waving his fist out of the open window of the lead ship.
What was Bauman going to do, send Mr. Ruby to Vietnam? Kick his Warrant Officer butt in front of fifty Warrant Officers.
According to Jack, Major Bauman was out of his seat before lead landed, and he was standing outside the door when Jack landed. Bauman took Jack away from the flight, and there towering over Jack, Bauman said, "that is the funniest thing I have ever seen, but, I can't have circus acts in my formation. I am putting you in charge of the shit burning detail until some one else screws up and gets your job, and I don't care if you ever take another Malaria pill." Jack had won again and he did not care one bit about the new job.
Jack started to put so much JP-4 in the shit barrels that they would splash on you when you used them. He always knew witch hole was booby trapped in the Latrine. Jack loved his new job.
I miss Jack, he used to drive his British Racking Green 912 to Ft. Irwin and we would have great times together. Every time either one of us would move we would up date the other. Jack's family was so devastated I was not invited to his funeral. In fact I did not hear of his death for almost two months, and was overwhelmed when I heard the news.
Jack and I did so many great things together and the one story I write about him, he is shitting in Bauman's face.
©1997 Wayne R. "Crash" Coe
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