Tactical Riverdance

I planned to kick off the day’s festivities with a GI-issue M158 Star Cluster rocket. How I came by the thing doesn’t matter. Suffice to say, the statute of limitations has long since expired.

Star Clusters are as cool as Steve McQueen’s sunglasses. This tidy little folding-fin rocket comes packed within an aluminum tube. To fire the thing, you remove the cap from the top and slip it onto the bottom. You then hold the unit facing upward in the left hand and strike the base vigorously with your right. A firing pin inside the cap detonates the solid propellant.

The Star Cluster rocket rises about 250 feet before expelling five bright illuminant assemblies. Total burn time is six to 10 seconds.

The little rocket roared to life and burst at the prescribed height with prodigious vigor. As we had a robust headwind, the rocket then drifted over our heads and fell back behind us. We all had a chuckle and took up our favorite stutter guns to get the party started in earnest. At that point, I hazarded a glance over my shoulder and noticed the tiniest wisp of smoke.

Deleterious curiosity not being confined solely to the feline, we young men climbed out of the depressed range space to investigate. The burgeoning grass fire was by then perhaps 15 feet across. We commenced to stamping about like a Riverdance troupe on crack.

For the briefest moment, the battle teetered. We retrieved our milk jug targets and began emptying them along the expanding perimeter of the blaze. We had maybe half of the conflagration controlled when there arose a mighty wind. That’s when things got real.