Wednesday, October 9, 1968
Second Lieutenant Handley approached me with a proposition. One of his young Marines, Tink (his last name was Tinker), had “the clap.” Gonorrhea was a treatable disease with antibiotics and restricted duty. Handley wanted me to watch over him while the platoon was on patrol. He presented this as a favor to me, “He will be an extra Marine on mess duty.”
There were rules regarding this issue. I could say no and that would be the end of it . . . nobody could overrule my decision. If I said yes, then Tink would become my responsibility until his corpsman released him to full duty. For me, the decision had more to do with the individual personality. I didn’t want to manage a troublemaker.
Tink was waiting outside the mess deck when I told Lieutenant Handley, “Sir, I would like to speak with him privately.” The Lieutenant agreed, and I went outside to talk. Tink seemed like a good kid and was embarrassed about his situation. I gave him a way out, “If you don’t want this duty, I can say no to your Lieutenant.” He quickly agreed to mess duty and acknowledged that he would be a good worker.
I went back inside and smiled at the Lieutenant. “Sir, as a favor to you, I will babysit Tink.” Handley was red in the face but managed to stay cool, and he thanked me for the assistance before leaving.
Tink would be in charge of our G.I. house (trash enclosure) which was a dirty job; the main goal was fly control.
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