by Jim Foreman

ballchain_a.jpg (22425 bytes)SCARWAF is a bizarre, tongue-in-cheek history of the 1903rd Engineer Aviation Battalion, SCARWAF; as being told some thirty-five years after the fact to a grandson, who had asked, "What did you do in the war, Grandpa?"

SCARWAF is an acronym which means "Special Category Army Reassigned With the Air Force", or in plain language, a bastard, oddball unit made up of misfits.

It is a story about Billy Bob Boomer, a professional rodeo cowboy; Jack "Red" Ryder, a rattlesnake hunter; Lester Price, who repaired traffic signals; Bobby Ward, a dogwood salesman; artist, Arthur Arthur Arthur and Obert Filpot, the most repulsive person in Texas. After being drafted, they were thrown together because the army, having no standard classification for their unusual civilian occupations, dumped them into a catch-all heading of Special Category. Knowing of no other use for such people, they were shipped off to an unknown unit which happened to also be designated as Special Category.

Under the leadership of a National Guard unit from Chicago, which was made up for the most part by members of a street gang known as the Roaches, they finally realized that if they expected to survive should they find themselves in combat, they had better take charge of their own training.

This story takes its protagonists from one fiasco to another as they stumble from the insanity of induction, through basic training and finally to Korea where they had to beg, borrow or steal nearly everything that they needed in order to accomplish their mission of building airstrips.

Underlying the ribald, profane, vulgar and sometimes irreverent humor is a tale about men who were civilians trapped in army uniforms. This is the story of a few men who survived in the Army by dodging the bullet, rather than catching it. There are no heroes in SCARWAF--only survivors. Their only aim was to get the job done, get out of the army and resume their private lives.

Chapter 1