We served a breakfast of grilled Spam, cottage fried potatoes and eggs to order. It was the last of the fresh eggs, and our supplies were depleted. The water supply was now critical, and everyone was rationed two full canteens. We had managed to go five days without any resupply.
Just before noon it was announced, “The road is open.” Fernando was driving the Admin truck as usual, and he asked if there was anything special we needed. I told him to hook up the trailer and get anything fresh: bread, vegetables, meat and seafood . . . MAIL!
We spent part of our day cleaning the fire units in our burner shack. The fact that we had built this workshop didn’t go unnoticed. Top Culverhouse had a chat with us as we did our maintenance. He said, “You cooks have been the most forward thinking in Kilo battery.” I gave credit to Sergeants Paige and Tibbits. * They had advised me from the beginning, “This battery isn’t going anywhere.” The prevalent attitude at the time, “don’t bother making improvements,” was false. Instead, I chose to believe Paige and Tibbits.
Culverhouse conceded he and Gunny Pavelcek had fallen into that negative line of thinking. Their quarters were soaked from the typhoon, and they had plans of building a new “Staff Quarters.” My natural inclination was to throw my support to their endeavor and offer assistance, but I held back. I remembered all the scoffing we had endured as we built our bunker and constructed the cooks’ shower. We were the laughing stock of Hill 65.
This reminded me of the childhood fairy tale, “The Three Little Pigs.” In our version of this fable, the “Wolf” was the Vietnam War itself, with all its destruction (mortars, rockets, B-40’s) and now a natural disaster, Typhoon Bess.
* See previous blog, “Tibbets Rotates to CONUS” January 27, 1968