Dead Bug!

The Air Force, being largely a PC force these days, has few traditions that have survived. One such tradition was the officer’s club. In its heyday (long before I joined) it was hailed as a pilot’s own bar… his place to let shit rip and not care. Glasses were smashed, dancers were ordered, shots were hammered back. Sadly, as the military pushed on into the ’90s and the millennium following, these sorts of shenanigans, despite their great ability to build camaraderie and loyalty, were crushed as being “unprofessional.” The officer’s club was one of the first. Gayed up beyond all belief, most bases have now consolidated to what is called a combined club, one both officers and enlisted are welcome to. Needless to say, this is gay and club attendance has suffered accordingly.

Well, within the O’Clubs of old, you would typically find a healthy collection of fighter pilots and their myriad of traditions. One such tradition was a game called Dead Bug. The rule were simple. When someone calls out “dead bug!” everyone was to fall off their bar stool backwards. The last man to hit the ground buys the next round. A lot of gamesmanship is involved, typically centered around distracting the next victim so that they’re late to react. (A lot of pilot traditions require a lot of attention to detail and multi-tasking… both hallmarks of good pilots.) And now, with this picture from one of the hangars within my compound, I now understand how the game got its name.

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