Cement Factory

freedom hill
Freedom Hill Complex – Da Nang – Hill 327

Thursday, January 9, 1969

Top Culverhouse accompanied Reb to get a new ID card in Da Nang.  The process required a copy of his service record and a witness.  A new photo was taken, and Reb was back in action with a new official green laminated military ID.

Down the road from Freedom Hill was a rock quarry and cement factory.  Culverhouse directed Fernando to drive into the compound where pallets of plastic-covered cement were stored.  As the truck was being loaded with bags of cement, a Vietnamese worker was arguing with Top saying, “No can take.”  Culverhouse calmly handed him a clipboard with a document and gave him a pen for his signature.  The document was signed, and the worker was given a receipt.

Back at Hill 65, the cement was unloaded next to the staff club construction site.  Fernando told the story of the scam pulled off by Culverhouse.  The signed receipt stated the cement was a donation to the “Children’s Catholic Orphanage.”

The phrase, “Beg, borrow or steal,” was commonly used in Vietnam.  Another mantra was, “Make it happen.”  These were the primitive solutions to problem solving.  Top Culverhouse had all the traits to pull off this stunt:  large stature, rank and a believable demeanor.  He was adept at giving orders (no one questioned his authority).  Personally, I saw a soft spot in Culverhouse.  His two teenage daughters had him wrapped around their little fingers.

Next Edition:  River Traffic

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