A fictional memoir, Tales You Wouldn’t Tell Your Mother is an outlandish read. It uniquely chronicles the lives of American airmen stationed in South Korea from the mid 1960s to the early 1980s. Thoughtful with poignant reflections on life, it is peppered with humor from the dry to the slapstick. There is inspired drinking, creative pranking, and sex – even romance. Both irreverent and disarmingly honest, Tales provides comical and compelling observations of interactions among the airmen themselves and their contacts with the people of one of America’s closest allies. Providing rare nuggets about overseas military life in days gone by and scandalous revelations about the Asia of years ago, Tales is a must-read for those who have spent any time in Asia – or just around the U.S. military. It will delight those who enjoy a raucous story as well.
“This book is a wonderful read. Writing with sensitivity, McCoy knows his subject and it shows. Intended for everyone, it will especially appeal to former military members.”
Susan White, former Air Force sergeant, Tacoma, WA
“While Tales You Wouldn’t Tell Your Mother certainly scores as a sometimes-ribald reminiscence of American military life in Korea, it is much more for those who pay attention: a fond introduction to Korean culture and society beyond the American base. Here’s hoping McCoy returns with a follow-up literary tale!”
Terry Weidner, retired professor of Asian politics, University of Montana
Stuff was always happening on base, occasionally as a consequence of some piece of brass issuing a spectacularly uninformed order. Usually it was just the product of airmen looking for random ways to entertain themselves. On those rare instances when these two vectors intersected, the results could be truly inspirational.
For example, brand new second lieutenants are arrogantly ignorant and therefore dangerous, a category of officer to be avoided whenever possible. They are a necessary evil, for from that budding level would eventually grow a few officers with integrity and a true capacity for leadership. Normally after some months, butter-bars – so-called due to the color and shape of their rank insignia – come to realize that they are not the salvation of the military world, and that they actually show some intelligence by deferring to the advice of experienced NCOs. Until such realizations hit and a bit of maturity settles in, though, it can be fun to mess with a second lieutenant that is full of himself.
Second Lieutenant Church was just such a butter-bar. Pudgy and unkempt, he seemed to derive great pleasure in micro-managing the lives of airmen who had probably forgotten more about the job than His Exaltedness would ever learn. One day, at the end of a particularly hectic mission, members of our flight crew were being debriefed in the makeshift ready room of the Operations Building.
There was a lot to go over and, even though we were anxious to be off duty, we also wanted to get it right for the benefit of the next crew. A few of us were aware that Church was getting impatient, so just to be perverse, we went into details that were not really necessary but were merely interesting tidbits about the mission. We knew we couldn’t draw it out for too long, and eventually we all headed for the crew van for the ride to the barracks area.
Unfortunately – or perhaps accidentally on purpose – somebody had to go back into the building for a few minutes. The rest of us waited in the crew van with Church, knowing that he was about to erupt, and the tension was becoming noticeable. Finally, he bellowed out something about having to use the latrine. Without thinking, out of my mouth came, “Piss? You say you gotta piss? Geezus, I always thought officers went tinkle-tinkle.”
Everyone exploded into unrestrained laughter, even the van driver.