I was relaxing at home in Emeryville for the first time in over a year after I'd been out of the country and then the phone rang. It was the current earthly embodiment of Satan calling me about a bill the USAF had sent him and it somehow was my fault. It was hard to deny that I had in fact engaged the USAF to fly home some serious heavy equipment. That sucker had 4 wheels, 2 dolly sets, 7 radios, radar and a sonar system to beat the band and I asked the USAF scheduler if I could send it home to America gratis since their planes were just flying home empty anyway. The scheduler allowed as how this could be done.
Jeff called me to tell me that the USAF had just sent him a bill for $54,000 and did I want to send him a check to pay for it or just slip him the cash. I told him he was crazy and he explained that my free ride for stuff ended up costing serious coin. I gave him the best answer I knew, turn around and bill those bastards $60,000 for damage done in shipment and call it a wash.
He was not impressed.
Neither was I. I mean what were they going to do? Strafe us? Bomb us? Sue in Federal Court? I was assured by the cognizant Air Force officials in Bahrain that the lift would be treated as all our airlifts in and out of Bahrain for that stuff had always been treated and would be counted as a training mission and I had it in writing.
Oh that was long ago. After working Joint and at SPAWAR I learned all the pretty little tricks those weasels come up with to curry the money out of somebody else's hide. On the other hand, it was good practice for gaining control over blood pressure through pure thought-control at an early age.