Michael F Tuman

12/9/20232 min read

   Why flyingmonkey5november? I should have gone with a shorter more pithy name seems a little to long to type in but thank God for QR codes and links to URLs. This was actually my Radio call sign when I was assigned to SFOR1 in Bosnia. I was the operations Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) for the Psyop Support Element at Camp McGovern (Mud City) near Brcko. Our Element Commander wanted a wizard of OZ theme for our call signs so he could be “THE WIZARD” (Dude spent way to much time playing “Magic the Gathering”). The three tactical teams were Tinman, Lion, and Scarecrow. I was certainly not going to be Dorthy nor Toto. I chose Flying Monkey. Its seemed appropriate for a special operations airborne unit. The Five was because I was operations and November because I was a (NCO). I made sure the boys on the Radios at the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) knew my face so they could match the call sign. They got a laugh at my call sign but they never failed to acknowledge me on the radio, a good thing when you are just four guys out there. Nice to know support was just one M109 155 howitzer away.

   Later on I figured the 5th of November was a significant date for myself, “Remember! Remember! The Fifth of November!” , Guy Fawkes night. A good Catholic Military Man like myself, who didn’t like Government oppressing his faith.

   The big guy in the photo with me is my buddy Ted, a guy you would want to have at your back during a bar fight or a melee. We had our Fezes and Chetnik hats and switched them off to drive the Sergeant major Nuts. If you look closely we carried Kukri knives. We were serious when we left the wire.

   On Thanksgiving Madeleine Albright and her entourage made an unannounced visit and ate our turkey dinner. Luckily the mess hall quickly boiled up some chicken mystery meat loaf for us. They only cooked for those on the camp and didn’t count on 400 extra, who went to the front of the line, showing up.

   I actually got banned from Sarajevo by a Colonel for asking why they were not following Army Doctrine. The whole experience was one dark comedy after another. I loved it!