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Follies of a Navy Chaplain

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Tanks for the Memories

2014, Aaron Elson


A Careful Drunk

Dess Tibbitts

2014, Aaron Elson

    Dess Tibbitts, of Orland, Calif., was a driver in A Company of the 712th Tank Battalion.

    I’m trying to think of the boy’s name that was in D Company — Max Lutcavish, now there was a character!

    I met Max when we went to tank school in Kentucky, and boy, he was a rounder. He got married while we were there. And he called his mother-in-law Jackson. He called everybody Jackson. So I went back to A Company and I was calling everybody Jackson, and one day Sam MacFarland went over to D Company for some reason and he ran into Max Lutcavish. He came back and he said, "I found out where you're getting all the Jackson crap."

    One time we were way over there in France somewhere, and we used to get that canned heat, if you squeeze it, it was pure alcohol and it was wood alcohol, but those guys would take grapefruit juice, mix it up, and old Max comes up to the tank and he says, "You got any canned heat?"

    I said, "We've got some, Max, but you don't want it."

    "Yes I do," he says. "I'm gonna go on a careful drunk." He wouldn't say I'm going to get drunk. He was going to get on a careful drunk.

    Well, he got on a careful drunk: A half-hour later he couldn't stand up.

    The first reunion I went to, when I got into Louisville I called him and he came down and picked me up at the train station and took me to the reunion. I didn't get to see him any more when I was there, but then when I got back to Chicago I called him again, and we talked on the phone for a half hour.

    Then the next year I sent him a Christmas card, and his wife wrote back and she said Max had passed away.

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