Sergeant Paige came to breakfast and shared some news from the Comm Center. New recon inserts (two man teams) had been put in place to track NVA/VC unit movements. One team, “Rice Krispies,” was placed in the adjacent mountains to our west, known as Charlie Ridge.
Cobby had become increasingly self-sufficient and had learned our routine. He wanted to cook the pinto beans, and we let him do it under supervision. Meanwhile Reb was experimenting with “hush puppies” as Sumo coached him. My role was to make coleslaw and cornbread to complete the Southern meal.
Many Marines chose to eat meals away from our cramped dining room. They would load their mess kits with food and consume it in their quarters. There was a lot of chatter about the addition of hush puppies, and Reb had made his mark on the menu. Captain Cavagnol remarked, “These are like appetizers before the main course.”
Our officers mess was a joke. It consisted of two picnic tables partitioned with a 4-foot high plywood wall and screened to the ceiling. It was a semi-private compressed version of our tiny 48-seat dining room. I thought of the arrangement as a form of segregation . . . it was this way throughout the Marine Corps, but our mini version of it was pathetic.
Rice Krispies called in fire missions during the daylight hours and hunkered down at night. Their mission was surveillance, and they avoided contact with the enemy. Usually recon was extracted from the field by helicopter. A dangling net would drop on their prearranged position, and they would hang suspended for the 10-minute flight back to Da Nang.