New Poncho Liners

Cook trio
Sumo on the Left – Me (Ptomaine) and Reb on the Right

Saturday, July 13, 1968

The supply NCO, Corporal Lackey, was issuing new poncho liners.  They were made of nylon and had two ties on each corner which somehow connected to a waterproof poncho.  For me, it became a bedspread.  My canvas half shelter was folded to fit over my cot, and a wool blanket added a layer of comfort to soften the stiffness of it.  The new lightweight liner was like a quilted bed cover and complimented my designer (1st Mar Div) pillow. *  What I really needed was a mattress, but there were none to be had.

The cooks’ quarters was divided into cubicles with stacked wooden ammo boxes allowing each of us limited privacy.  Connected to my headboard was a wooden post where my helmet, flak jacket and rifle hung at the ready.  My web gear (cartridge belt and magazines) was stashed under the cot.

Each cubicle was adorned with personal items (photos, cards, calendars, etc.).  Reb displayed some of his artwork on the wall, and Sumo had a tray with a small bonsai juniper tree he’d brought from Japan.  I had pinned up maps of Vietnam and Dai Loc.

There were no formal inspections of our quarters although we kept things clean and tidy.  We had a makeshift card table in the open quadrant of the hooch with three fiberglass stacking bucket seats leftover from the Officers mess.  There was no electricity.

Reb returned on the afternoon convoy with souvenirs from China Beach.  In addition to collecting some beautiful “Moon Scallop” seashells, he had purchased a jewelry box of smaller shells from some Vietnamese kids.  He planned to make a necklace for his girlfriend, “DeeDee,” in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The time off did him good.

*  See previous blog, “Rice Hull Pillow” February 14, 1968


china beach
China Beach R&R Center

Next Edition:  Lieutenant Martin Transferred

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