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I was having a few beers not too long ago with a soon to be retired USAF CMSgt and swapping stories. He told me a few pretty good ones from his tour as a First Sergeant in a maintenance squadron.

He prefaced the story with, "Airmen are dirty bastards."

It turns out that this was both a generalisation and an understatement.

Someone asked, "So what was the dirtiest thing you ever found doing room inspections in the dorms?"

"Oh," he said. "The ham," and took another swig. A few guys who knew the story already started laughing, which of course prompted someone to ask him what was up with the ham.

"Well, you know, a lot of guys don't really do the 'do dishes' thing, let alone the 'cook my own food' thing, so it was not entirely unusual to find nasty beer bottles or Styrofoam boxes with a little mold or whatever. These are your typical dirty bachelor airmen. Typical cross-section, slice of life goes like this: Bed not made, uniforms displayed incorrectly, fridge dirty, sink dirty, trash on floor near garbage can, latrine dirty. Whatever, you know? Dirty bachelor airman. But then sometimes you get something special."

Another round was ordered, bathroom breaks were taken.

"Sometimes you get stuff like those WoW-tards, you know, the whole room is totally immaculate, just bit dusty, because it's never been touched, except an arm-length radius around the desk and computer are a war zone that a pig or a rat wouldn't even live in, because they just live there in the chair. We had one guy who never slept in his bed, he would just fall asleep every night in his recliner with his laptop - and it got to the point where he'd smell so bad that we'd have to send him home some mornings to bathe. That recliner looked like it needed a damn oil change, if you can picture what I mean."

"But then, you know, beyond that kind of above and beyond, we had the guys who deserved some kind of public award for their dedication to filth. Some guys take it personal, you know, the thought that they are legally required to maintain a clean and orderly living environment. And some of them are just so fucking nasty they should have never made it out of the playpen."

"We were doing an inspection once and ran into this room that reeked so bad we were sure the kid had died inside and nobody called him unaccounted for. It was really suspicious that the room smelled like a dead thing on the side of the road, but didn't even look that messy. The bed was made and the fridge was clean and there was no trash on the floor or whatever, and even the trashcan only had some paper in it. So we opened the windows and looked around some more, and ended up finding what we originally thought was half of a spoiled Honey-baked Ham wrapped up in a towel under the bed. It was straight up rotten, looked like he'd swiped it from the chow hall after the Christmas dinner or something, and this was you know, a few months later. But it was fucking weird that it would be wrapped in a towel under the bed, so just for fun we figured we'd ask him if he had forgotten about it and had no nose, or what."

"So we had him in the office and were having him sign his failed dorm inspection notice, to acknowledge that he had three days to get his room in shape, and one of the junior sergeants who was in the room asked him 'Dude what's with the ham?' and the kid froze up, like a statue, pen still in his hand."

"The reaction was totally weird, even weirder than a rotten ham wrapped in a towel, and we ended up talking to this kid for about half an hour, which led to two things. One, a mandatory evaluation at mental health."

We knew the punchline hadn't landed yet, but this was a huge indicator that it was likely going to be a good one. Compulsory visits to mental health are exceedingly rare in the military. It takes something really, really jacked up to force a commander's hand.

"Two, the commander gave him a formal order that he was not to bring any meat products of any kind for any reason into his dorm."

And this is extremely bizarre. Anybody with a sense of timing knew to not get caught with a mouthful of beer any time soon.

"Turns out, after all questions were asked, that the kid had gone to the commissary and bought a fresh, raw, bone-in ham -"

And the rabbit hole gets deeper, though something of this nature was to be expected, given the rather blunt foreshadowing.

"- cut a hole in it, microwaved it, and fucked it. But you know, a ham is kinda expensive to be throwing away, so he held onto it for a while, you know, to keep using. I don't know if he got attached to this particular ham or what, but man, he must have had that thing for months."

"As long as it looked like he had that thing, I swear to God he must have been in love with it. He'd probably have married it if he could have figured out how to do the paperwork."