Placeholder Picture

Apollo Downrange Trip

Andy Paggett

I was flying on Lt. Col. Charles Hyde's plane, when we got to Fiji, the other ARIA and the C-141 with the maintenance team, were not going to catch up with us till the next day. Charlie ask if I would mind staying at the motel with the flight crew since he had to pay for all of the rooms they had reserved there. Otherwise he would have to pay for me a room at the motel the enlisted men usually stayed at. I said "no problem."

The next morning I shaved, packed up my shaving gear in my ditty bag, had breakfast with the crew chief and his assistant and drove to the airport, after we launched Charlie's plane we went back to the motel to brush our teeth, pack up and move to the other motel.

The motel consisted of three buildings, the office building which included the restaurant/bar and an equipment room, and two buildings with the rooms, two stories each. We were on the second floor of the building that was up the hill from the office.

When I got to my room my razor was beside the sink and had hair on it, I picked it up and started to go to the manager's office when the crew chief ask where I was going, I told him what happened and said I was going to get the manager to buy me a new razor. When I got to the office I told the girl I needed to talk to the manager, she ask what room I was in and I told her, she pulled it up on the computer and on the intercom told the manager Sgt. Padgett wanted to speak to him, he said send him in.

He said "What can I do for you Sgt. Padgett." I explained to him what happened and he said "What do you expect me to do about it"? I said "Buy me a new razor." When he quit laughing I said "Does that mean you are not going to buy me a new razor"? He said "Sgt. Padgett that is just one of the hazards of staying in a hotel." I thanked him, laid my razor on his desk and walked out.

I went to the car and got my tool pouch out of the trunk and walked back up the hill to my room. The crew chief was standing on the balcony and ask what the manager said, I told him and said he'd might as well go inside and listen to the music. He said "What are you doing with your tools"? I said "I have work to do."

There was no TV but they had six stations of music that you could select from to listen to. The outlets in the room were European style, two slots that took round plugs and each one had a switch to turn it on and off with, I believe it was 220V. I turned all of them off, and on each one except the one under the music console, I shorted out with safety wire then turned them on and blew the fuse in it. The music console was built into the wall and went through to the next room, it had a speaker and a switch with six positions on it to select the station you wanted to listen to.

Carefully so as to not scratch it, I took out the six screws that were holding the front of the cabinet and pulled it out from the cabinet. I jumpered one side of the outlet to the common wire for the music, I jumpered the other side of the outlet to the number one position on the selector switch. When I turned on the outlet, the wire started smoking and the insulation started melting until the wire burned into somewhere then I turned off the outlet and did the same thing to all six positions on the switch. Carefully I put the screws back in and wrapped electrical tape sticky side out around my hand and picked up some sawdust that fell out of the console when I removed the front of it, I took a towel and wiped off the cabinet, no fingerprints, then blew the fuse in the last outlet.

I gathered up my bags and walked out, the crew chief said "What did you do? We were listening to the music and it started squealing and smoke came out of the console." I said "That's just one of the hazards of staying in a hotel." We loaded up and went to the other motel.

Each night they had a buffet supper usually set up outside at one of the motels, just my luck it was the one we had just left. We got there, paid and got in line, the assistant crew chief, the crew chief then me. Right after we started getting our food the crew chief said "Here comes the manager." He walked up to the other side of the table from me and said "Sgt. Padgett, I went to town and it cost me $250 to hire an Electrical Engineer to come out here to get proof of what you did." I said "He didn't find anything." He looked surprised and said "No he didn't." I said "I would have told you that for nothing." He said "It's going to cost from $1,500 to $2,000 to replace the cable from the equipment room to the room you stayed in." I said "That sounds about right." He said "It seems strange that it burnt out all the way to your room, can you explain that?" I said "That's easy to explain." He said "Please explain it to me." I said "That's just one of the hazards of running a hotel."

His face turns pink. The crew chief and his assistant are laughing out loud. The whole time we were talking, the manager is side stepping to stay across the table from me and we are almost to the end of the table with the food. The manager turns and starts back toward the office. I said "I answered all of your questions, how about answering one for me." He turned around and said "What's that?" I said "How many razors can you buy for $2,000?" He face turns red, and he walked off. The crew chief and his assistant are walking to a table to sit down and are laughing so hard they are about to fall down.

A voice from behind me says "Sgt. Padgett, please join me for dinner." I didn't even turn around because I recognized the voice I just said "Yes sir Col." I went to a table that no one was around and when Charlie joined me he said "Andy, I heard that entire conversation, will you please tell me what it was about." I told him what happened and what I had done. He said "why didn't you come to me, I would have made him buy you a new razor." I said "I know you would have Charlie but you have enough to worry about without worrying about a $3 razor, besides if I had done it your way the manager would not have learned a valuable lesson." He said "What lesson is that?" I said "Don't mess with an NCO." He said "Do me a favor." I said "What's that." He said "If I ever do anything to make you mad, please tell me as soon as it happens." I said "Charlie, I doubt if you would ever do anything to make me mad but if you do I'll let you know." He said "The manager was so mad his face was red." I said "If you think that was mad, wait until they replace the cable and get it hooked up." He said "Why will he be mad then." I said "That's when he will find out that all of his amplifiers are burned out and will have to be fixed or replaced." He said "That is an expensive lesson for him, do you think he learned anything?" I said "I'll bet the next time someone complains about their razor being used, he reaches in his desk drawer and hands them a new one."

Andy Paggett