Operation Bold Eagle
I think my most inopportune fart would have to be during the ambush at Operation Bold Eagle 1981, a yearly training and readiness exercise my unit participated in while I was in the 82nd Airborne Recon. It is held at Camp Blanding in north Florida. As parachutists, we jumped in to Florida after flying directly from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. As is our lot, we drank to excess the night before the mission, knowing that we would be in the woods for two weeks eating C-rations and LRRP (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol) meals.
We hit the ground at dusk, assembled, and proceeded to the ambush site four klicks away. With all the previous night's alcohol and good ol' chow hall food in the morning, I had been cutting some really good ones on the plane. But the gas had subsided during the two hours we walked through the woods and set up the ambush at the designated area. It was a great spot for an ambush, with a wide Kill Zone. Killer (Dave Kilkuski) and I were taking the right flank.
We were pretty tired from all the day's prep and flight down and our short walk. We settled in for what could be hours before the OpFor (Opposing Forces) were supposed to walk through our area and we would get to ambush them. Darkness was upon us, and all was quiet as we waited.
This ambush stuff is all done with blanks and grenade simulators and the usual flash-and-bang toys we got to play with in the Army. Since we knew this was a game and that it would be a while before the ambush, we took turns taking naps. We would sleep in position with our weapons at the ready, just in case the platoon sergeant or lieutenant snuck up on us. (That was unlikely, but we tried to cover all bases.)
I got the first hour of shuteye. When Killer woke me up for his turn, he informed me that I was farting in my sleep. We both thought that was funny. And then he was out in seconds, and I lay there looking for the "enemy" to enter through our side first.
That was about when I started feeling pretty uncomfortable. I let out a bunch of farts to take some pressure off. I was squeezing it in, trying to keep them silent. They were the kind that make you shake your head as you try and get the smell out of your nostrils. I found great humor when Killer would shift in his sleep almost every time I let one. A light bulb went off in my head, and I shifted to let a big one go near his face so he would get a good whiff. I was squeezing pretty hard, trying to hold the line to an SBD level while still ripping a good fart without shitting my pants, when IT went off.
Like a loud pop! It was The Big Bang! A big hard nugget popped out as I made the loudest fart I have ever cut.
The guys seventy meters away told me later that they heard it. For poor Killer, it must have been like an artillery shell, because he jumped up out of his sleep and proceeded to fire up the kill zone with all the blanks in his M-16. Everyone else thought the enemy was here and proceeded to cut loose with everything they had, too. All hell was breaking loose, and I was totally freaking out because I had just blown the ambush with my fun.
Five hundred rounds and a few grenade simulators later, the ceasefire was given and the lieutenant started running around, screaming, "Who fired their weapon?!?"
My usual foxhole buddy, Rus, was positioned ten yards to our left. He told the lieutenant that the shots came from his left, deflecting the blame away from us, even while the second squad was saying we did it. (Honestly, we are like children at times.) Killer was cussing me now, as he knew what happened and was pissed that he had blown the ambush.
Killer looked at the lieutenant and told him the truth as he knew it: he fired second after he heard the first shot. I swear, you could still smell my fart through all the cordite and smoke from the blanks, and it was all I could do not to bust my gut laughing right there. Luckily, the OpFor had gotten lost, and we were given a second chance to get graded on the ambush. This time, it went off without a hitch. I, however, had to lay there with a big lump in my bloused trouser leg until we were through with everything.
The lieutenant was transferred a few months later. I'm not really sure if it was connected.