Dinsmere was a Lance Corporal, having been promoted back after getting busted to PFC. He was a great Intelligence Marine, but not a Marine’s Marine.
We were on an exercise and had the opportunity to find and explore a MAZ-543 with a Scud missile. The MAZ was a massive eight-wheeled missile transporter with a small control booth between the wheels on the driver’s side. The Scud missile was in tact in the firing rig atop the vehicle.
We looked in the control booth filled with a variety of analog instrumentation. In the center of the panel, there was a huge red button with the sign “pusk” (launch) – just like something out of a 1960’s James Bond flick. That’s right. The Soviets (and whoever bought these missiles throughout the world) had to hit the big red button to launch the missile.
It was there and so were we. It was important to demonstrate dominance over the missile, just like one dog would over another. We climbed to the top and stood on the missile. Yes, we were the masters. I was toward the front end of the missile. Dinsmere had climbed up with me. I looked back and there he was, standing between the fins, smoking a cigarette.
” Dinsmere! No smoking on the missile!” I said in a stern, yet calm voice. I wasn’t quite panicked, but there seemed to be something seriously wrong with this picture. He laughed.
“Get off the missile!” I had to use my officer voice. He climbed back down, cigarette hanging out of his mouth.
And despite this, we had a great intelligence team. Just don’t give us weapons. By the way, if you’re wondering if someone is getting ready to fire a Scud, just look for IRFNA and the theodolytes.