Breakfast started early with a line out the door. The gun crews wanted a last hot meal before heading to Thuong Duc. Many of them asked jokingly if I was going to join them . . . “No, I’ve used all my vacation time for the year.”
Gunny Pavelcek asked me a few questions about security of the position on the airstrip, and I told him about the swimming area in the river being rigged with punji stakes. I loaned my “Coup Coup” * machete to him, and he promised to return it in good shape. The cases of juice, oranges and container of chowder were loaded into the Jeep trailer under his care.
Lieutenant Skoog came through the chow line, and Sumo couldn’t help making a sarcastic comment, “Get any more secret messages Sir?” ** Skoog was a good sport about it and said, “I deserved that.”
The convoy was off at 0900 with the four guns, the Jeep and one M-37 truck. They were followed by four ammo trucks from 11th motor battalion. India Company swept the road with the engineers leading the way.
The paymaster from Dispersing arrived after the convoy departed, which meant a delayed payday for those Marines heading to Thuong Duc. We stood in line to receive our monthly pay, and I added the MPC to my wallet. Reb was paid as a Lance Corporal, and he seemed happy with the extra money. With what he had been saving for R&R, he now had $600.
* See previous blog, “Gifts” May 20, 1968
** See previous blog, “Top Secret Message” July 31, 1968