A Rite of Passage
For One Very Cool Lieutenant
By Gerald F. Mazur

Lt. Deerman appeared to me to be too straight-laced, and I wanted to play a practical joke. I spent several hours one day totally neutralizing a fragmentation grenade. First I unscrewed the fuse, pulled the pin, and tossed it far away behind a sandbag wall. Thus, it had become a mere blasting cap, and just "popped." I then reassembled it with the spoon and pin. I took the base off the grenade, and Composition B looked at me. I dropped in a cigarette and it just burned like the excess 175mm powder that we used to deodorize the 175mm urinals. To me, this grenade was now just a piece of metal and 100% safe. I took it into the FDC bunker and went into the "conversation" room with the water cooler and refrigerator. There were a couple cots and foot lockers around. I sat down and was talking with whomever was there, Deerman included, and began playing with the "grenade." Suddenly, the pin came out, the spoon flew off, and I dropped the grenade. I hollered "grenade" and some of the guys took off. Deerman just sat there. After a few seconds, I asked him why he did not jump. He answered "You didn't jump, and I figured that you knew the frag was a dud." I guess that in this instance, I was not that good a thespian because he had my number. This incident did not seem to anger him and I didn't do anything else because I figured he was okay.

NOTE: We had been searching for Lt. Deerman for a long time, but could never find him. After we set the date for our reunion in 2002, we learned that Dennis W. Deerman died on November 5, 2001. He in fact is remembered by many as a very competent and "cool" lieutenant.