Doc Driscoll took the small dog to Dai Phu in the morning. Hua went with him to interpret, and Driscoll seemed satisfied the dog was in good hands. He had gotten attached to the puppy and was upset with Lieutenant Martin; we all agreed it seemed unfair. In retrospect, I think we had enough trouble in this country without taking on more responsibilities for pets. It was common to see small children managing water buffalo or herding ducks, but these had a purpose and were cherished as work animals (ducks were used to keep rice paddies free of snails and other pests).
A helicopter dropped off some recon Marines at our LZ, and they wandered down to the mess hall looking for a meal (they were all Sergeants). One of them approached me and asked if they could get some food, and I offered them an array of Reb’s doughnuts and coffee. As they were eating, I could see they were talking about me so I went over to see what was up. “You’re the Sergeant from El Toro who taught us about reading wind mirage.” * I didn’t recognize any of them, but I smiled, “How’s that working for you?”
Recon’s job was to avoid contact and observe enemy movements. They quickly learned the sniper rifles were of little use, and they all carried M-16’s. I asked them about Captain Flowers. ** He had returned to Quantico after setting up the sniper unit. Their new CO was a no-nonsense Major from Intelligence.
I was thankful I hadn’t accepted Flowers’ offer to be his driver and clerk. I might have ended up on Charlie Ridge, packing a spotting scope or radio. I asked how their current mission turned out, and they said, “This valley is crawling with NVA.”
* See previous “Sniper School blog
** See previous “In Country” blog (January 7, 1968)