The afternoon Admin truck returned with our food supplies and Sumo. China Beach was not Sumo’s idea of R&R so instead, he had managed to spend some time touring the sites of Da Nang. He hired a Rickshaw/ tour guide and shopped in local markets, sampled street vendor food and experienced Vietnamese “city” culture.
Sergeant Leggins (Leggs) * returned from his R&R as well. He had planned his week in Okinawa for a long time, but it had been cancelled with a last-minute offer to go to Australia. I opened cans of peanut butter and grape jelly as Leggs recalled his experience over PB&J sandwiches. He was enthralled with the countryside and thought it would be an excellent place to live. He stayed in the “Kings Cross” section of Sydney and spent most of his money in the exotic night clubs.
As we were talking, Gunny Pavelcek joined us in the mess deck. He wanted me to go on the convoy to Da Nang the next day as the NCO in charge. I balked at this suggestion and said, “I’d rather not.” He said, “Sorry, there isn’t anyone else.” It was a new Battalion order . . . every convoy would be accompanied by an NCO in charge.
I finally agreed to his request, but I told the Gunny, “No one gets into the truck without a helmet, flak jacket and M-16.” Too many Marines were becoming lax about the trip and didn’t want to be burdened with the gear once in Da Nang. The Gunny consented and promised to make it happen.
* See previous blog, “Convoy Road – Dai Loc” January 13, 1968