My coy
My Cot

January 15, 1968

The sky was turning dark and threatening to rain all morning.  My plan today was to travel to Hill 37 (near Dai Loc).  Hill 37 was Headquarters for 3rd Battalion 7th Marines.  The Mess Sergeant at 3/7 was authorized to receive our allotment of food and supplies at the docks in FLC.  It was obvious that he was shorting us when distributing these goods.

He was an E-6 (a grade above me) and was pulling rank by squeezing our allotment in his favor.  When I suggested he was skimping on our provisions he said, “Ptomaine, I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about . . . I’m giving you your fair share.”  I replied, “OK Sarge, I’ll be talking with the CO of India Company about how you’re shorting his troops.”  He condescendingly asked, “What else do you need?”  I declared, “Our full allotment.”

We got a full quota of food that day, but I knew this would be an ongoing issue.  Returning to Hill 65, it started raining as we unloaded the food.  Britt and Stewart were stunned at the amount of supplies we received.  The driver related the story of how I demanded our full allotment and Britt said, “Payback is a Muther,” insinuating things could get worse.

After dinner I managed my way to the showers in the dark, only to find out there was no water.  I walked back to the mess hall water buffalo (a water tank trailer) and scrubbed down with a wash cloth.  I dried off in the hooch and changed into my last clean uniform and wrote a short letter to Jenny.  There was no electricity in the hooch, and we burned wax candles at night.  It was about 2100 when I laid down on my cot.

I woke from a sound sleep to someone yelling, “INCOMING.”  SsshBoom, SsshBoom, SsshBoom.  The detonations were coming in sets of three (mortar tubes).  Thunk, Thunk, Thunk . . . was the sound of mortars being fired and ten seconds later, SsshBoom, SsshBoom, SsshBoom.  After another volley, things went silent.  A few minutes later someone yelled, “Clear.”  Everything in the battery went quiet, and there were no casualties.  I slept wearing my helmet and flak jacket for the remainder of the night and could hear a soft rain outside the hooch.

Next Edition:  Body Bags

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