Leggs came in early for breakfast and announced he was going to Da Nang to search for parts he needed. I confided to him about the refrigeration unit and the idea of building a walk-in refer. He was amused and said, “What have you been smoking?” We laughed, and he said he was willing to look at the unit, but only if I came along.
After talking with Sumo, I was reassured he and Reb could handle the lunch/dinner routine while I was gone. Reb was wanting to finish building our shower and asked me if I could find some nails like the ones the Seabees used on our metal roof. They were designed for use with the galvanized siding.
The Seabees had moved to the north end of the hill and were constructing three “hardbacks” as living quarters and a new 6-man shower with a concrete deck. I went to the foreman and asked if he could spare enough nails to finish our shower project. He promised to help Reb with the siding after lunch.
Leggs and I drove a Jeep with a trailer in the convoy, and Cobby sat in the backseat. We planned to take him to Hill 41 on the way. As we approached the Marine detachment at Hill 41, there was a patrol moving just off the road; I saw Lieutenant Nowicki, the platoon Commander. We pulled up next to him, and Cobb got out of the Jeep. “Sir, PFC Cobb reporting for duty.” Nowicki gestured for Cobb to join the platoon Sergeant and thanked us for dropping him off.
Before we moved on, I watched as the Sergeant inspected Cobb and his equipment. It was a cursory check, and Cobb had everything squared away. I nodded to Cobby as we passed, and he smiled with his familiar warmhearted confidence. I wished he could have stayed with us.
At FLC, Leggs was having no luck on his search for parts. He needed firing pins for the 155 guns because they were breaking with stress cracks. He showed me a new firing pin; it was a simple quarter-inch steel rod with a notch at one end to hold it in place. I said, “Why don’t you just make one out of a screw driver?” He thought I was nuts, but I could see his mind working . . . He said, “I suppose I could use a hacksaw and a file to fabricate something to match it.”
We stopped at the salvage yard and got permission to check out the refer truck. Everything was intact, but the copper fuel line had been cut. It was a diesel unit, and Leggs thought he could make it work. After loosening all the bolts, we pried the reefer unit off and put it in our trailer. It weighed about a hundred pounds. The Staff Sergeant at the salvage office asked us to sign for the unit so Leggs happily signed the receipt, Gregory Hess. As we drove off, I asked, “Who is Gregory Hess?” He answered, “It was a Hess Trailer” . . . Leggs was crazy!
We made it back to Hill 65 and unloaded the refrigeration unit at the maintenance shop. Leggs promised to get the unit running. I went back to my quarters and was surprised to see our finished shower. The immersion water heater was fired up and billowing black smoke (a good sign). The Seabees had helped Reb with the siding and the ladder.
We were faced with the decision of who would take the first shower and Sumo said, “Rock, Paper, Scissors!” I lost the first round, and Reb lost the second . . . Sumo was the winner and took the first shower. There was no water pressure, and the slow warm rain was refreshing. We used about 20 gallons between the three of us, and it was a real feeling of accomplishment to have a shower next to our new quarters.