Our staffing situation had not improved. Top Culverhouse gave temporary assignments of mess duty to assist us, but we couldn’t keep operating at the same level much longer. Fernando stepped up and worked on the chow line during breakfast and dinner. He always smiled and had a knack for serving a short portion, then saying, “Do you want a little more?” Using this tactic, he made a lot of new friends with the Bravo Company Grunts.
I wrote a short cryptic note to Gunny Sampson (Battalion Mess Sergeant on Hill 34) explaining our situation . . . “Understaffed, can’t keep up, need help.” I sealed this note in an envelope for Fernando to personally deliver to Sampson.
Later in the afternoon the Admin truck returned with our mail and food supplies. The dock of unwanted items had cases of “Beef Shoulder, rolled & tied.” Fernando retrieved three cases, and Sumo said, “Pot Roast.” I received a letter from Jenny and put it in my pocket for later.
Fernando handed my envelope back. It had been opened and re-sealed. The back of my note said, “I’ll be there Friday night.” I asked if there was any other conversation, and Fernando confirmed Sampson knew about the Bravo Company situation.
Jenny’s letter was intimate. She enjoyed Thanksgiving with her family, but being in Laguna Beach reminded her of our final days (and nights) before my shipping out to Vietnam. She talked explicitly of her plans for me when I came home. I returned the favor with a detailed X-rated version of my intentions. This covert sex talk was the beginning of a stimulating series of letters between us.