Typhoon Bess

thuong duc corridor
Thuong Duc Corridor – August, 1968

Wednesday, September 4, 1968

The inventory/order form for dry goods was filled out and ready for delivery to the FLC procurement desk.  We received our canned goods and staples once a week on Thursdays.  Fernando (Admin Driver) knew the routine and promised to get whatever extra supplies he could from the unwanted inventory dock.

We were in good shape on supplies, but we always ordered extra of certain things like evaporated milk, canned margarine, shortening and sausage links.  We had run out of food once before, resulting in me being sent to Thuong Duc as punishment. *  This issue was always on my mind, and it was inevitable that another emergency would eventually catch us off guard.

The Admin run returned, and Fernando had managed to get three cases of chuck roasts (about 120 lbs.).  As we were waiting for mail call, someone on top of the Exec Pit started yelling “STORM.”  We moved to the top of the hill for a better view.

Dark clouds were rolling through the Thuong Duc corridor and moving toward us.  A gust of wind hit and then a driving rain.  The wind quickly became gale force, and the rain was coming at us horizontally.  All of a sudden the galvanized roof of the maintenance hooch flew off, and large sheets of the metal siding became flying projectiles.  Luckily, they crashed harmlessly into the hillside and no one was hurt.

The mess hall was normally dry inside.  When the Marines came through the chow line wearing their dripping ponchos, the cement floor of the mess deck was a slurry of muddy water as everyone sloshed in and out . . . it was a wet mess.  After dinner we managed to clean up everything, and I put on my poncho to help Leggs (the Maintenance NCO) cover his roof and protect his shop.  It was an ordeal in the driving rain, but we managed to shelter it with a large canvas tent.  We actually nailed the tent to the studs of the hardback.

Our hooch was dry as we had completely weatherproofed it right after it was built.  Sumo and I instructed Reb to prepare a normal pasty bar for the morning.  We decided to be cautious with our provisions and limit breakfast to a pancake sandwich (two cakes, two eggs and two sausage links) for each Marine.  We had four 60-dozen cases of eggs on hand.  Coffee and hot chocolate would be the beverages.

Not knowing how long the storm would last, we needed to start rationing our resources in case the roads closed.  We went to bed, and the wind howled all night.  I couldn’t help but wonder about the Grunts in Arizona territory . . . they must be miserable.

* See previous blog, “Troop Surge”  June 12, 1968

weatherized hooch
Our weatherized hooch

Next Edition:  Margaret’s Photos

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