Food Poisoning

Friday, May 17, 1968

In the early morning hours Sumo got violently sick.  He was outside vomiting and had severe stomach cramps.  It got steadily worse with diarrhea.  He stayed in his cot during breakfast, and when Doc Furman came through the chow line, I told him about Sumo’s condition.  Furman said, “He’s the third case — I think it’s food poisoning.”

I got defensive and countered, “How could that be?  He wasn’t even here for dinner.”  We both realized instantly . . . the funeral feast.  Doc went to our hooch and asked Sumo what types of food he had consumed at the funeral.  He made a list of food items and left to investigate what the others had eaten.  There were eight Marines at the funeral, and three of them had tried the snails (a Vietnamese delicacy).  All three of the snail eaters were sick with the same symptoms.  Furman put Sumo on bed rest, told him to stay hydrated and to give his stomach a rest.

Two of our 155mm guns were in the process of being repositioned to Liberty Bridge on the other side of Hill 37.  It was a big ordeal, and the ADMIN truck was loaded with powder to be delivered there on the way to Da Nang; Wilson would return in the late afternoon with our food and ice.

Doc checked in on Sumo before dinner and told him to lay off any solid food.  He told me to give him some Jello and also suggested I chill some canned applesauce in the walk-in . . . it would be a transition to a regular diet.

All of the food-poisoned Marines would be back to duty the next day.

Next Edition:  Operation Mameluke Thrust

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