Woodrow Morrison: The Flat Tire Defense (Part 2) - P.O.W. Report

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Woodrow Morrison: The Flat Tire Defense (Part 2)

Woodrow Morrison posts regularly on the Tlingit and Haida people of Alaska Facebook page and you are encouraged to follow it.

[Part 1]

Here is the rest of the story: I've undoubtedly deviated from the original but here is how I remember it.

When cousin Loren was in the US Air Force, he went AWOL, returned, turned himself in and told one of the best BS stories I ever heard, explaining his Absence.


I reported for Captain's Mast and had to wait my turn... finally, my name was called. I moved smartly up to the front of the podium and stood at attention. I had to crane my neck back to see the Officer standing behind it: he was about 3 feet higher than me. He stared down at me for (seemed like for hours) a couple of minutes then,

“My name is Cutter, Captain Slade Cutter; you are the grass and I am the cutter.” He peered down his nose at me then, “Absent Without Leave from a Duty Station, is a serious offense. What have you to to say for yourself?”

I launched into Airman Sanderson's story, some of it was mine;

“Sir! I went home to Alaska for Christmas, it was the first time in 6 years, and because of bad weather, instead of making it home in one day, I did not arrive until day 3. The weather there was cold and clear, that is, until the day before I was to depart to return here to my Duty Station. A Blizzard. By the 3rd day it was blowing itself out but the snow was too deep for planes to land.

My dad asked one of his nephews to hitch up his dogs and take me to where there was a larger airfield...

We planned on heading for the river about 25 miles south, then we could make better time but when we arrived, the wind had swept most of the snow off of the ice and it was too slick for the dogs to get any traction so we were forced to travel in deep snow. So what should have taken us only a couple of days, took 4 days until we reached the other village.

Because of the deep snow we had to leave the dogs and sled behind and continue on snowshoes. It was slow going, very cold and we had only about 4 or 5 hours of daylight. So we had to set up camp before dark, gather fire-wood, then start out the next day as soon as it was daylight.

Finally, after 4 days we made it to Annette Island where Pan American flew out of – I was 8 days late by the time I arrived in Seattle and had to over-night (there were no Standby Flights available).

I telephoned my cousin Herb and he came to the airport to get me. He told me that my older sister was in the hospital with some kind of virus infection. We dropped my gear off at his house then he took me to the Hospital but I wasn't permitted to see her... “come back tomorrow”. We went to my cousin's house, I was exhausted and fell asleep.

The next morning we called the hospital and I was told I could visit her. I was only permitted an hour. I spoke to the Doctor and he assured me she was going to be just fine. By now it was late afternoon.

So I called a local Naval Air Station and reported myself as being late, told them my Duty Station and my estimated date of arrival. The next day, we left my cousin's house at 4:30am for the airport.

The weather was pretty bad, blowing and heavy rain. We had a flat tire and, by the time we got to the Airport I had missed my flight and had to wait for a later one. As soon as I got here I went to the Chief Master At Arms and turned myself in.” “Sir!”

Those of you who don't know, a Naval Captain, unlike an Army or Marine Captain, man or woman, is a very Powerful individual. Power of life and death... so I believed.
Captain Slade (the Cutter) peered down his nose at me, Seaman Morrison (the Grass) and, with a look of disdain he said, “You young Sailors must think I was born yesterday (Uh Oh, he has me....” I had been praying that the Captain did not know anything about Alaska, specifically, where Hydaburg is located – SOUTHeastern Alaska).

Captain Cutter continued, “That Flat Tire bit is the oldest story in the book. If you had kept to the truth I'd have let you off with a Reprimand. Instead, because you chose to deviate from the truth, you are hereby Restricted to the Base for two-weeks.” Dismissed! I did a very snappy About Face and marched back to my seat.

The hardest part of telling the story was to keep track of how many days it took to get back... the worst part of lying is having to remember exactly what you said. I never tried it again.

By telling our stories, we are teaching SURVIVAL.
Good Night All.

Áaw tláan gyaahlangáay láa g̱íidang.
That is all there is to the story.

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