During lunch we had visitors. The Executive Officer of the 11th Marines was on Hill 65 to inspect Kilo battery. Lieutenant Colonel Stevens went through the chow line with Captain Cavagnol and Major Catoe. Sumo and I were nervous but trying to play it cool. The Colonel looked at me and said, “Are you Ptomaine?” I was surprised and answered, “Yes Sir, that’s my nickname.” Stevens then gave me a compliment, “From the stories I’ve heard, you’ve been mislabeled.” I responded, “Aye Sir, I think it was meant for morale.” He smiled and said, “You’re a good sport.”
We were serving grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with macaroni & cheese and canned pears. It was our first attempt with the “Rainbow Jello” on the condiment bar. Reb made the Jello thick and cut the four flavors into one-inch cubes. The consistency was dense, almost rubbery (it took a minute to melt in your mouth), and you could stick a fork in it. Jello was a big hit because it was cold, and everyone was laughing at the jiggling on their tray. It was unique!
The weather was getting warmer, and during our afternoon breaks, I sat in my folding chair in skivvies, trying to get a tan for R&R in Hawaii. Everyone was told to dye their underwear green before going to Vietnam so now, here I was, tanning in green boxers. Papa-San smiled and said I was “Dinky Dau” (to be crazy).