After cleaning up the Sunday brunch meal, we normally rearranged the mess deck for church services. Chaplain Starling was at Hill 52 now because 3/7 had moved their CP to this FSB (Forward Support Base). There were no volunteers to lead the worship service on Hill 65 so it was canceled.
Reb was doing some remodeling in the shower. He added a horizontal connecting stud (5 feet up from the floor). It provided a ledge for our toiletries. There were three interior sides to the shower, and we each had our own personal shelf. It was an added feature so I moved my can of Barbasol, razor and toothbrush into the shower where we shared a small hanging mirror. The stainless steel bowl we used for shaving water was thrown away.
Our cooks’ shower was one of a kind and provided complete privacy. During my tour in Vietnam I saw many different shower designs. Some had chest-high dividers between shower heads, but most were “gang showers.” Privacy and personal space were a luxury which were highly valued.
Grunts in the field commonly bathed in the river * or next to a well. Public nudity in this situation was not viewed as bad behavior. The river bend near Hill 37 always had scattered groups of bathers; it was also the source of our drinking water (before treatment). No one ever considered drinking water directly from the river.
* See previous blog, “Losing My Soap” June 17, 1968