Working in first lieutenant was easy but taunting and tedious work at best. Our work space was a broom closet off the second floor of our command. It was breezy as the bottom hall was frequented by maintenance personnel coming and going to the flight line. It was shoddily staffed with five gallon Turco buckets we used as seats and a small space heater for warmth amongst the commands cleaning supplies.
Every morning we mustered with our supervisor and awaited our cleaning orders from the command master chief. We routinely cleaned the heads, stripped and waxed the decks, painted anything that could be painted, stocked the geedunk, and anything else CMC could come up with. After our assignments we set out to accomplish our tasks throughout the rest of the day. We usually took a small break between each one to ensure we kept a busy appearance until we secured for the day.
About mid morning I made my way back to report to my supervisor and let him know my plan. He was not in the closet so I started rifiling through the scribbled notes to see if he left one for us as to his whereabouts as he usually did. I picked up a piece of paper and in CMCs handwriting were the words “Just keep those fucking clowns busy.” My hands started shaking and my body began to quickly fill with rage. We worked our butts off doing tedious little things for the command and him everyday. I knew then what I meant to my command and it actually caused me to have a major shift in attitude.
My supervisor happened to arrive as I was about to clear the closet door and knock on the CMCs. He said, “Korky, where are you going?” nervously as he could see the look in my eye. I thrust the paper toward him and as he read it he started shaking his head and smirking a bit. He sucessfully talked me out of barging in suggesting that my actions would only let him win. I attempted to calm myself and left the closet to go out to the smoke pit.
It knew it was silly to be so offended by the word clown. I had been and would later be called much worse in my life, but that scene and the emotions it aroused that day stayed with me and I immediately lost all respect for CMC. It was hard to look him in the eye after that incident and when he shook my hand or thanked me for doing something I always believed it was insinsier or forced. I knew this man would never consider me a person.
Later as we were securing from a detachment and supplies were limited he stated, “I don’t care what you use, get those fucking pads and tampons out of that bin.” Disgusted I went to the head to wrapped my hands in plastic trash bags as we had no more gloves. Someone had failed to place a liner in the sanitary napkin disposal and me being the female left to secure, I did as he commanded. I had never felt so degraded in all my life.
I asked if I could secure to go cleanse myself in my barracks room and my supervisor obliged. I stood in the scalding arsenic ladden dessert the base in Fallon had and scrubbed myself from head to toe. Thankfully my roommate left that day during the fly off and I had the room alone for the evening. I headed off base with my friend to eat some Chinese food and we somehow found ourselves in a tattoo shop with men from another command.
After their tattoos were finished we headed back to base and waited on the supervisors to go to bed. Once they did I loaded all the beer bottles I had locked in my closet into my room mates comforter and we hauled it loudly down the stairs. We filled one trash can and moved down several rooms to the next to get rid of all of the bottles. I am not certain how many Sierra Nevadas I had on that detachment, but my drinking had increased tremendously between the first and second detachments. I was not yet twenty one and kept them locked away because CMC could not unlock it during inspection unless I was present.
We laughed off the enormous comforter stuffed with bottles along with the shipmates that passed during our excursion but I failed to see the red flags and attempted to deny my failing mental health. My superiors and peers were begining to break me down but I did what I could to keep my head afloat. My self esteem was declining rapidly as well as my sense of worth. I had no idea this was only the beginning of the negative experiences I would face in my life. What happens in Fallon, stays in Fallon may have been the catch phrase for those detchaments, but for me what happened in Fallon never left my body when I was raped, the degrading acts from my superiors only made my sense of self and symptoms worse in the long run.