The Secret Life of Shakey the Pig. (Airman's World).
The bomb loaders call him Shakey the Pig, and he's a must-see for distinguished visitors. He's even on the squadron patch. The pig is the squadron mascot.
But the dirty secret is out: The swine isn't the original. In fact, he's possibly the fourth or fifth Shakey. And he's not even kin to the first.
Root around in the files long enough, and you'll discover the truth. It's a sordid story, curly as the 200-plus pound porker's corkscrew tail. It's a tale of pignappings, behind-the-pen dealings and even - gasp! -- barbecues.
People talk. You hear things. Like the first Shakey was just a wild boar, happily scrounging for grubs in the jungle surrounding the storage facility. That is, until an unknown airman snagged him for a planned squadron barbecue some time in the 1980s, said Master Sgt. David Torelli, one of the squadron flight chiefs.
"They couldn't eat him, though," Torelli confessed. "So they sort of adopted him."
How'd he get the name?
"One of the guys was a serious coffee drinker," Torelli said. "He was always shaking and had the nickname. They gave it to the pig."
But certain folks weren't real keen on the squadron keeping a pet pig. Someone called the base veterinarian. But he gave the boar a quick checkup and ruled the porker perfectly fine for consumption -- or cohabitation. Soon a pen went up, and Shakey settled in for the long haul.
Then he escaped. Or maybe someone let him out. Whatever the case, he disappeared.
Now you have a poke, but no pig. Time to get another Shakey. Out went the bomb loaders with orders to come back with a surrogate mascot.
They did. Again and again. It became a pattern. Some at the squadron whisper that some Shakeys were the guests of honor at more barbecues than people might imagine. Torelli said at least one Shakey was the main course at a local wedding dinner.
The current Shakey has been happy as a pig in--well, you know -- for seven years. He's a big, lazy pig. Content to flop around his luxury pig condo until he turns hooves up.
"A few times he's gotten out," said Staff Sgt. Wyatt Crozier, a munitions specialist. "But Shakey always comes back for food. Beats hunting for it in the jungle, right?"
Shakey's a living legend now. Many a visitor has gone out of his or her way to pet the pig, including a trough full of generals, diplomats and government officials.
"He's definitely a star," Torelli said. "When people come here, one of the first things they ask is: 'Where's Shakey?'"
So the ammo troops keep the pig fat and happy. They aren't too concerned this Shakey will suffer the fate of his predecessors. But if the day comes, they'll be ready.
"There are hundreds of 'em out in the jungle," Crozier said. "Every Shakey has been a wild boar. We'll lust go out there and get another one."
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|Date:||Nov 1, 2002|
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