Today was a normal payday, and there was no exchange of MPC. Mama-San’s worries were for nothing. My monthly payment of $20 was much more than I needed; my only purchase was cigarettes.
Many Marines were saving money to buy war souvenirs. The black market in Da Nang was full of shady deals. Currency manipulation was the tip of the iceberg . . . almost anything was for sale. The only item I had to trade was the French machete gifted to me after Papa-San’s funeral. * I couldn’t take it home but didn’t feel comfortable selling it. Hopefully someone could use it and would take care of it.
Fernando returned with our dry goods for the week, and everyone helped rotate the new stock. During mail call I got a letter from Jenny postmarked Laguna Beach. After the mail was passed out, Top said, “Meet me in the battery office” (it sounded ominous).
The admin clerk, Corporal Hernandez, told me to take a seat. “What is this about?” Hernandez shook his head and shrugged. Culverhouse entered and sat at his desk, looking serious. “We have our orders.” There were three sets: Hernandez and I were going to MCB Camp Pendleton. Culverhouse was headed to Shreveport, Louisiana.
We would rotate to CONUS on different dates, but the duty stations were the big news. We were all returning to “The World.” Top passed out beers from his cooler and said, “CHEERS!”