Operation Tropical Storm

I was digging through my personal archives this weekend and I found something written during my senior year at Lehigh University with “Scooter” Tisdale and “Mom” Villamil.

In March 1991, we were executive leaders in our university wind ensemble & jazz ensemble (about 65 students and one professor all together) and we were in charge of organizing the logistics and itinerary for the group’s five day tour to Bermuda.

Now it was a tradition in the Lehigh band that most official communication had to include heavy doses of humor, sarcasm, puns, insults and general nonsense.

Truthfully, when dealing with a bunch of dopey college kids, it was the best way to insure that they would actually read and absorb the information they needed so that they didn’t end up abandoned in some far way place with no options of returning…

“Andy Dragon…Where are you…?” 

 Sorry inside joke (get used to it there are a bunch in here).

The other piece of information that will be useful to the reader is that this trip occurred fresh on the heels of the United States mission in the Persian Gulf initially to protect Saudi Arabia after Sadam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. It was code named “Operation Desert Shield”.

When the US actually crossed the Saudi borders into Kuwait, in February 1991, to expel Sadam Hussein’s army from Kuwait, the mission changed names to…Operation Desert Storm (not “Dessert” Storm as shown below)


This was also the first war to be live broadcast on television. Our young impressionable eyes were fixated on the images of the nightly bombardments and embedded correspondents activities.

And so, not ones for shying away from current events and being the smart-alek, budding satirists that we were, the three of us decided that our itinerary should read like a military itinerary and that the code name for our “invasion” of Bermuda was to be…


Especially when considering that this was written in the wee hours of the morning the night before our departure, our six-page tome (or “poop”) as the band’s itineraries were affectionately known, is quite the impressive piece of work, even today.

Hyperbole you say? Well let’s just say that after twenty-five years, it’s the only piece of writing, test or lab report from my university days that I’ve bothered to save.

So here it goes…


Operation Tropical Storm


“The liberation of Bermuda has begun. On Saturday March 23, 1991, you, acting in conjunction with the United Music Department resolutions will begin this, The Mother of All Tours.”- President Casey “George” Teskmonger

With that quote we set the wheels in motion. Ammunition is being stockpiled, armies are being assembled, and you, the Lehigh Wind Army, after 9 weeks of intense training will spearhead Operation Tropical Storm. This group skilled in intonation, tempotic precision, and ensemble playing has been prepared by a spectacular assault on Broughal Middle School.

This operation, however, is a coalition effort and in conjunction with The Lehigh Wind Army we will coordinate the Lehigh Special Jazz Force. The Jazz Force is a group of 21 highly trained and highly unstable men (and 1 token girl trumpet player) who will be called upon only for the most dangerous of missions. This force has trained for 27 weeks and boasts 2 successful missions in the Mountaintop theatre of operation.

A chain of command has been established:

President: Casey “George” Teskmonger

Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff: General Bob “Tiny” Wagner

Commanding Generals: General Kara “Mom” Villamil and Scott “Scooter” Tisdale

Commander, 97th Wind Army – Setup & Support Division: Col. Gary “Shut Up” Thompson

Commander, 69th Instrument Supply & Maintenance: Col. Steve “Oh, I like that tie” Brodovicz

Chairman of USO: Major Dave “Foodmaster” Cousineau

Media Pool Supervisor: Lt. Col. Meredith “Scoop” Shannon

Commander of Logistics & Documentation: Lt. Col. Ruth “Mad Dog” Lepley

Seniors: Junior Officers

Juniors: Non Commissioned Officers

Soph’s and Frosh: Maggots

Details of Operation

Phase I: Mobilization and setup of command center.

SAT 3/23/91

0500 – All troops will assemble in formation at Fort Lamberton for last meal on American soil (Donuts and Juice by Foodmaster Dave) .

0515 – Maggots load gear onto troop transports.

0525 – Late arriving maggots will be considered AWOL and will be shot on sight (band rubbers at 20 paces) .

0530 – Convoy departs with weapons truck, troop bus, and troop van (captain Svoboda driving , watch out for the Massachusetts Turnpike).

0715 – Arrive Newark Air Force Base for transferal of personnel, & supplies (up to 20 pounds of meat) to cargo plane. Upon dispersal command: unload truck, retrieve flight gear (i.e. tickets & luggage) , and wait on the group W bench to be processed

0745—0930 (approx.) – Body search and security clearance (dog tags not acceptable as security clearance). All Female Maggots report to Gen. Wagner & Col. Thompson for intensive strip search.  Board Cargo Plane 86. Be courteous to civilian passengers, and remember this is a highly secret mission ‘Loose Lips Sink Ships” Depart NAFB.

1200 (approx.) – Beverage detail by Airborne support Canned & bottled DRQ’s (drinks personnel ready—to—quaff) are available upon request, as are Sky Vomit Receptacles (SVR’s) .

1215 – Bermuda Triangle Drill: Be on the lookout for supernatural phenomena (time reversal, hair regeneration on lemmings, instant ankle healings affecting only blonde bari sax players) . Maggots compute navigational vectors to confirm proper heading.

1240 – Arrive in Bermudan Theater of Operation ( “Hmm, I wonder what movie is playing? -Andrea). Immediate weather detail will peruse local atmospheric conditions (Kristin) . Don tropical uniforms (within dress code).

1400 – After loading local weapons truck & troop transport, proceed to Grotto Bay Barracks. Room Assignment & Key dispersal. Unloading of weapons truck into storage bunker.

1405 – Media pool establishes pool-troop relations.  Daiquiri patrol investigates swim-up bar. Guard against amphibious assaults (i.e. no pissing in the pool) . Establish fortified beachfront positions. Initiation of (Ultimate Frisbee) war games.

1430 – Remainder of the day set aside for R&R. Except Bass Clarinet section.

1500 – 2300 Bass Clarinet squeak drill. Pay special attention to 2nd movement of the Hoist.

Phase 2: R&R (recreation & reconnaissance)

SUN 3/24/91

XXX – Climate adjustment, unrestricted solar absorption, golf course bombardment, tennis artillery drills, infiltration of local tourist attractions, acquisition of native foodstuffs, study of native customs (i.e. dress code) spy on and photograph enemy troop locations, etc.

0609 – Lt. Col. “Mad Dog” Lepley will conduct a knot tying seminar featuring guest detainee Col. ‘Oh, I’m tied up with my ties” Brodovicz

2359 – Assemble in formation for Foodmaster Dave’s ‘Midnight Munchies & Pig Roast” at USO headquarters (i.e. Dave’s room) .

Phase 3: First Wave Assault

MON 3/25/91

1000 – Assemble in front of Grotto Bay Barracks in full battle gear with weapon ( & person) cleaned and polished.

1030 – Board troop bus, reload weapons truck for transport into heavily fortified enemy territory (i.e. Ring’s Square, St. George) .

1130 – Commence assault led by Col. Thompson & setup and support division (i.e. Maggots set up for concert). On President’s command, take positions for Aural Air Offensive.

1200 – The Liberation of Bermuda has Begun.

1300 – Ground Offensive “swings” into action with Special Jazz Force.

1330 – Bomb damage assessment and prisoner count. Reload weapons truck and troop’ bus. Acquire spoils of war.

1400 – Return to barracks. Daily pentagon briefing by senior officers; troops are free to continue R&R at their leisure (i.e. observation of nighttime enemy activity). Commence intense interrogation & surveillance of natives (if you ‘re lucky) . Commence butchering of Copland on harmonica (if you are an unlucky token girl trumpet player) .

Phase 4: Second Wave Assault  (Ha Get it? Wave?)

TUE 3/26/91

1030 – Wind Army only assembles in front of barracks for second assault. Special Jazz Force members practicing Buddhist meditation rituals in preparation for final battle (i.e. Tojiera, Junglbuth and Cawley are still passed out).

1100 – Mobilization for second assault (i.e. concert)

1130 – Arrive. Maggots unload & assemble artillery under direction of Col. Gary “Shut Up” Thompson

1200 – Wind Army starts first aural bombing wave

1300 – Conquest. Reinstate civilian government breakdown & reload artillery.

1430 – R&R

1800 – Fully recuperated Jazz Force assembles for in front of barracks for covert operation at MARRIOTT CASTLE HARBOR HOTEL

1815 – Prepare & set up for covert operation

1900 – Eat Dinner (chewz, chompz, eatz, ymz, goodz) as guests of MARRIOTT

2000 – Covert Jazz Force operation begins. Win over support of locals with hi-tech sonic weaponry.

2330 – Mission successful. Breakdown equipment and return to barracks for victory celebration (specific details of USO involvement TBA)

WED 3/27/91

0600 – 1100 – Final R&R before returning. Special observer Jamie Arrison conducts last debriefing of Sergeant Child

1100 – Police barracks, payment of barracks rebuilding costs

1115 – Board troop transports, load all weapons and surplus equipment.

1200 – Arrive BAFB (Bermuda Air Force Base)

1400 – Depart for NAFB (Newark Air Force Base) on Continental Airlines, Flight 85

1526.06.97 (approx) – Arrive at NAFB for a hero’s welcome and ticker-tape parade (confetti detachment led by Lt. Platz).

1600 – Leave for Lehigh

1800 – Discharged from duty. Go the Hell Home

Another small island nation conquered by a large imperialistic republic.

NOTE: Any questions or problems should be addressed to Tour Manager Scott Tisdale and/or Kara Villamil

One thought on “Operation Tropical Storm”

  1. You have breached the classified status of this document and divulged my top secret former identity. Prepare for special forces to arrive on your doorstep momentarily for summary execution.


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