The Chair
Me Watching the War

Sunday, January 19, 1969

The initial primary construction of the staff club was completed.  Now the detailed finish work needed to be accomplished.  Reb taught the Sergeants how to use a gas-blown torch on the wooden ammo box paneling.  This not only burned off the stamped markings but enhanced the grain of the wood.  The next step was to rough sand the panels and then burnish the wood with linseed oil.  This required a lot of elbow grease, but the end result was a soft grungy luster.  It looked like a hunter’s cabin (all that was missing were some antlers).

The interior reminded me of the main gathering room of the Special Forces Camp (A-109) at Thuong Duc. *  There they had a display of captured weapons and NVA flags.  Our tiny club was much more intimate and had a charm all its own.

There was still more work to be done on the bar as well as some screened windows, but Top Culverhouse wanted to make a toast:  “To our Commander in Chief, may you enjoy your remaining years in peace.”  We clinked our beer cans and said, “Cheers to LBJ.”

Tomorrow Nixon was to take the oath of office, and the Johnsons would retire to their Texas ranch.  The politics of the war in Vietnam were out of our control; the only option was to follow orders . . . and we did.

* See previous blog, “Special Forces Camp A-109” June 14, 1968

Next Edition:  The Lantern

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