The Campfire

Thuong Duc
Sergeant Bivens’ Gun Crew in Kilo’s Thuong Duc Compound

Friday, June 21, 1968

Captain Cavagnol asked the Gunny to have the battery compound policed (cleaned up).  All wooden pallets, crates and material for a campfire were set aside.  We all knew he had a surprise up his sleeve, and as usual it would involve morale.

Finally after sunset a campfire was built, and everyone gathered around.  It was just like a summer YMCA camp.  It started with a corny skit.  A galvanized tub of water was brought to the fire, and Lieutenant Grant knelt before it . . . ready for “Baptism.”  Cavagnol dunked Grant’s head in the water for ten seconds, pulled him out and said, “Do you believe?”  Grant replied, “No Sir.”  Everyone was laughing as the Lieutenant was submerged again.  He was pulled out of the water and asked a second time, “Do you believe?”  The baptismal candidate gasped, “Sir, No Sir.”

As the skit continued, Grant took a deep breath and was again dunked.  He was under water for a long time . . . bubbles were coming up, and his head shot out of the water.  “YES SIR, I BELIEVE!”  Cavagnol asked, “What do you believe?”  The Lieutenant answered, “Sir, I believe you are trying to drown me.”  It was classic camp entertainment, and everyone clapped for the performance.

It was now time for the announcements.  Tomorrow a convoy from Hill 65 would bring mail and resupply us with a full 500-gallon water buffalo.  This in itself boosted our morale, but then Cavagnol added:  the “Mayor” (village chief) of Thuong Duc has challenged us to a volleyball game.  There will be a potluck picnic, and we will share food with them.

In a serious closing to this announcement, he said, “We will let them win the volleyball game and be good sports about it.”

Lieutenant Grant – XO Kilo battery


Next Edition:  Convoy Surprise

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