Saturday, November 2, 1968
The improvements on our OP continued. Fernando finished constructing the blast wall, and Hua was sandbagging it for an extra layer of protection. One of the Grunts commented about how the outpost looked like a black silhouette on a target from the fields below us. This was highlighted by the red 55 gallon drum on top of our shower (it looked like an aiming stake).
Sumo had a scheme to camouflage the OP with a thatch wall. It would work like a garage door and be closed during daylight hours. When on alert, we would lift the door and prop it open with bamboo struts.
Reb went on the Admin run to Da Nang. He had another package to mail to Margaret. It contained sketches of her latest photos, and he added some of his own, including a copy of my photo of him posing with his M-16. Their collaborative art project helped pass the time.
Sumo and I were listening to Armed Forces Radio. The broadcast announced that President Johnson had agreed to a bombing halt in North Vietnam. His address to the nation was replayed on the radio. I felt completely betrayed by this news because we were being put in jeopardy. The irony was: I had already cast my ballot, and this decision could impact the election on November 5th. My loyalty to the Vietnam War had been slowly waning, and now it appeared to me there was no plan to win.
Reb returned with a salvaged Jeep seat. It was a rear bench seat with a rectangular pad on metal tubing. It had a backrest, and he planned to construct a wooden base for it, made of ammo boxes. It would be part of the furnishings in the OP.
Hua flagged down the Admin truck in Dai Phu at the base of the hill and loaded a dozen thick bamboo poles. Sumo had arranged this transaction, and when I inquired about the cost of these items he responded, “Don’t ask.”
Next Edition: Gold Oak Leaves