Some "circuits" were just not meant to be "cut short"

During my 2nd tour in Nam, I was assigned as a "Briefing Officer" to Gen. Hubert Cunningham.  That's when I demonstrated my skills of sending flip charts with key battle information into the spinning blades of an overhead fan.  {See "And Then It Really Hit The Fan"}.   And this was after I made my "own" personnel assignment to a unit other than the one that the "RepoDepot" had in mind for me.  {See "But General, I'm AWOL!"}

Guess I was just a magnet for trouble during this tour.  Being the newest member of the G-2 staff, I got to work the night shift, preparing charts for the General's morning briefing.  This meant having to get my shuteye during the daylight hours.  In Vietnam?  Fat chance.   So, we had an AC unit tied into the Division power line.  This made for somewhat tolerable conditions in order to be alert and focused on intelligence reports being prepared at the "oh-dark-thirty" morning hours.

Until, that is,  Engineer "Capt Gizmo" shows up at my door.  Seems Capt Gizmo was chasing down a power drop in his electrical distribution grid.  Aha!  He finds it!  It's that doggone electricity-sucking AC unit that lets us sleep in the daytime hours.   "It's gotta go" says Capt Gizmo..."it's taking too much power".   

"But, Captain", I protested, "we need that AC unit to get our daytime sleep."

"Sorry, pal...I'm gonna disconnect it"...as he picked up the AC cord to pull it out of the line.

"But, Captain", I continued, "if you disconnect the AC, we're just gonna connect it back again."

This certainly didn't sit well with Capt Gizmo.  "Oh, yeah?  Well, here's what I'm gonna do!"

And Captain Gizmo proceeded to demonstrate his expertise with the entrenching tool whereby he chopped off our AC cord, chopped the line above the AC connection, and chopped the line below the AC connection and tossed the middle piece away.  We couldn't possibly re-connect the line again.

In short order, the G-2 Colonel type comes running up.  "WHO THE HELL CUT THE GENERAL'S POWER LINE?" demanded the G-2.   Well, it didn't take Sherlock Holmes to find the guilty party in this case.

Captain Gizmo had to run a whole new line to replace the one he angrily destroyed.  Ol' Gizmo didn't know (and I sure as hell didn't tell him) that we were running our AC on the Division Commanding General's power line.   Furthermore, we had his permission to do so.

Sometimes a "short circuit" can be more dangerous than we realize.  Especially when the circuit belongs to a two-star.

 Lt Don M. Keith