The morning sun peeked through the clouds and revealed a new landscape. Hill 65 was now an island rising from the flooded An Hoa basin. Charlie Ridge was a postcard image of raw natural beauty. There were waterfalls scattered along the mountains. One larger cascade displayed a rainbow surrounded by mist; the rain had stopped.
Top Culverhouse and Gunny Pavelcek wanted to review our provisions so we did a quick inventory. The only “fresh” food was 120 dozen eggs in the walk-in. Everything else was either canned goods or bakery supplies. Without a resupply, we were limited to cooking only four or five more meals.
A meeting to assess our situation was arranged with officers and staff in the club. Captain Smotherman was not the aggressive decision maker that Captain Cavagnol had been. Complicating our current circumstances was the issue of water . . . we had limited storage. Ironically we were surrounded by water, but it was contaminated.
The Grunts were in a “stand down” and set in a defensive mode. There would be no patrols or ambush plans. After some consideration, it was decided to limit the mess hall to one meal per day starting Sunday. Water rationing would be monitored, and the showers were closed.
With Captain Cavagnol now gone, there was no discussion regarding the local Vietnamese. It appeared they were on their own to deal with the aftermath of Typhoon Bess. Central Command had been specifically concentrating on “Civic Action,” and now, it seemed to me, would be a good time to step up this endeavor. It was a question that went unasked and unanswered . . . we were focused on ourselves.