Sunday, February 14, 2016

Desert Storm & Cypress Hill

Back in '91,  I joined the Army during a little skirmish called  "Operation Desert Shield".  By the time I completed training, the "shield" transformed to "storm" which quickly blew over.  I was stationed at Fort Jackson - way down South Carolina. I'm fresh from Jersey so this place is like a foreign country to me. A drill Sargent once almost hit me over head because I couldn't figure out how to refuel the truck. Jersey people never pumped our own gas - it's illegal.    After I survived that, I was assigned the duty of  Unit supply Sargent.  My office was at the front of the barracks & everyone that's first assigned to us had to come through me.  I would give the new soldiers a briefing on our daily routine. The Captain was a 26 year old Black woman who didn't take no mess. She used to tell me "I should have no reason to come in here."  There was an in & out box on my desk every morning & as long as I kept that "out" box full, she didn't have any reason to come in there.

 I usually played some music while I worked & as long as nobody complained, the Captain left me alone. One day Lou walks in my office & watches as soldiers bop up & down the hallway listening to Cypress Hill's "How can I just Kill a man".  "They let you play this?",  he asked. Uncle Sam likes happy little soldiers & this one likes Cypress Hill. He chilled with me the rest of that afternoon.  Lou was born in Puerto Rico but raised in The Bronx.  We felt like two long lost relatives who had finally found each other in this southern desolation.  So after duty, we jumped in my car & headed to the mall.  Lou had just completed his training & I thought he needed to hit the club, but first - shopping.   Like I said, it's '91 so Cross Colors were a must.  The louder & baggier the jeans, the better.  With white tees, dog tags, & our combat boots shined up, we had our best Jodeci look going on. 
Lou drove a red Honda Civic & I just happened to whip a black '79 Accord.  We were 18 at the time so of course our whole paychecks went into tricking them out.  Rims, booming system, windows tinted - we were ready.  I asked him which ride we were taking.  He had an idea.  We would take both cars & ride low & slow one behind the other with Luke's "I wanna Rock" - bumping hard from both our speakers, simultaneously.  The plan worked because as we pulled up to the club, speakers thumping, all eyes were on us. There was a nice sized crowd out there & I felt like a rock star getting out of that '79 Accord.  We stepped up in the spot with mousse in our hair & pungent from gallons of Cool Water cologne . The club was jammed packed as well as the dance floor.  I'm ready to mingle with some lovely Southern belles, when I hear yells & shouts coming from the corner.  Of course it's Lou.  I run over to help when i get ambushed, too.  Apparently someones girlfriend was batting her eyes a little too hard over at Lou. Bouncers come flying from everywhere & its me & Lou who get tossed into the parking lot.  After that fiasco, Lou worked with me in the supply room.  The music kept us moving & we kept our soldiers fully prepared with a bop in their steps.  Twenty years have gone by & I lost touch with Lou but I hope he's somewhere still bopping. too. 


  1. This was a very vivid and relative story. The imagery put me right there with everything that was going on.

  2. Hi Terrance I just saw one of your comments on and went to your page and blog. I blog on Google too. Shared you on my Google page.
    I'm from Bayonne. Twice as old as you. I really liked this post and wanted to share one of mine about the Harlem Renaissance with you.
    For My Father Sam Atkins * Jazz Age