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 Post subject: Day shift bunker watch
PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 11:51 pm 
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Теперь предлагаем бесплатную ежедневную маммографию!
Теперь предлагаем бесплатную ежедневную маммографию!
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The mind is an odd thing... at least mine sure is. I was sitting on a train staring at the train ahead while waiting for welders to do their stuff. Had my ipod in with some 60s music going.

Which I believe precipitated some odd dreams last night about Viet Nam. Maybe it was the smoked sausage sammich with extra horseradish sauce, but I did have dreams. Which led to other thoughts on the train today & I feel compelled to describe some of the things I saw while on day shift bunker watch.

By the front gate ( actually there was no rear gate) there was an elevated bunker with a 50 cal & 2 M60s. The same guys always had that watch until they went on R&R or rotated out - then it fell to 'night shift guys' to do the deal. I didn't get that duty often but clearly recall some of the sights along Rt 9 as it passed through Cam Lo. Which are recounted here in no particular or chronological order.

One morning, I had binoculars and was scanning the brush between Cam Lo & Con Thien... not really expecting trouble but it's always well to look around first thing on any watch. About a mile north, I saw some Army grunts securing from their night defensive perimeter. Standard procedure - lets the bad guys know they don't own the turf & cuts down on their monkeyshines.

So the grunts were throwing their stuff up on the RPG magnet - M113 APC - and kicking out a small fire they had going. As they just began moving out, a trip flare on the far side of their perimeter popped, and man did it ever get hosed down! They approached it in a skirmish line, firing as they went.

I have no idea what popped the flare - not an NVA as they didn't loiter or pick anything up. Maybe a mongoose looking to mooch through the discarded C-rat cans. Back to Con Thien they went. That base was mostly artillery & they shot loomies (illumination) for us.

Another day - or possibly even the same day - I watched two farmers trying to catch an escaped water buffalo. They were on foot and having a bad time of it. The buff would trot ahead and stop to munch a few bites of fresh, green rice plants and take off again JUST as the 2 farmers were very near.

Maybe you've seen a small dog with serious ideas after having smelled "Fifi" down the block. Just try catching the little bastage. They can stay ahead of you and they know it. Same for the buff. It knew the farmers couldn't catch it & it seemed to be having a lot of fun - not to mention all the green rice it could grab.

More trouble for the 2 farmers. Seems it's a SERIOUS breech of etiquette to let your buff graze in someone else's rice field. So they got yelled at a lot. But no offers of help.

They were still chasing it after they had disappeared from sight. I would not have wanted to be the buff if they ever caught it. Just like the little mutt with 'love' on his mind, it was truly in for a tuning up! :dedhrs: Like that only a buff instead of a nag! :-o

I closely watched the people come & go, too. A lot of women in their cone-shaped straw hats, black 'jams & 'thousand miler' sandals made from old tires. Invariably, they had a load of some sort suspended from either end of the bamboo pole they all owned. Shuffling along on one errand or another. It was an amazement to me how much they could carry - and for long distances at that! Very tough women no matter the age. It seemed like the old women carried the same loads as the young girls.

The local customs took a little getting used to... like if a woman needed to empty her bladder, she simply took half a step off the path, rolled up a pant leg and did the deal. The drill then was to walk along for 15 or 20 minutes with the pant leg rolled up so the leg could more quickly dry.

Same for emptying the bowels... when you gotta go, you gotta go, I guess. Terlet paper? Nope. Rock or leaves or... you most likely don't want to know.

With the glasses, I looked them over closely - not much to see...
the older women all had black gums and stumps of teeth from chewing betel nut. Apparently mildly addictive as they all chewed it. Also common was a floppy cigarette ( thouc') made from the vile-smelling weed they liked to smoke & whatever thin paper they could scrounge - like bible pages. :-o All were bow-legged. From carrying such heavy loads on the bamboo poles? From one childbirth after another? Hardwired into the genetic structure? I don't know, but the vast majority were well & truly as bow-legged as any career cowpuncher you ever saw.

Since they wore only the rough sandals or went barefoot, their toes scarcely knew one another. Seriously, they were wide spread to say the least. No bunions, though! You would see girls in Hue wearing actual shoes, but I feel they were more affluent.

One incident that remains sharply imprinted upon my memory is a woman from Cam Lo who went mad. She came to our gate, removed all her clothing and while sobbing bitterly, cursed us in the most vulgar language imaginable. She grabbed a strand of barbed wire and shook it violently, cursing and crying all the while. I put my helmet on for that outburst as she was only 2 steps from the mines.

Oddly, no one came to take her away or offer any kind of sympathy. While I have no way of knowing, I suspect her entire family had perished in the war, children, husband and all. Eventually, some QC ( ARVN MPs) came by & told her "Di, di!" ( go, go!) But she did not, and they didn't press the matter.

Poor thing! She stayed there my entire watch, and the energy of her tirade never lessened. She had my entire sympathy, but at the tender age of 18, I knew not what I could possibly do. Nor do I now except that modern drugs might be of some small help... if such are available there.

I had some other things to post, but fatigue overtakes me & if I recall them before i go to work tomorrow, I'll add them. SW

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Darkness is all around us and enemy are just beyond the perimeter.


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 Post subject: Re: Day shift bunker watch
PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 8:46 am 
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Wow.... the things that linger.......


Thanks for sharing your thoughts Steve.

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It's 5 o'clock and it's watermelon time.....................
because you can't drink beer & load rockets - TXPete







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 Post subject: Re: Day shift bunker watch
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 7:28 pm 
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Теперь предлагаем бесплатную ежедневную маммографию!
Теперь предлагаем бесплатную ежедневную маммографию!
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Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2007 9:04 pm
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Location: On the couch a lot now that I'm retired
I'm languishing in Wyo waiting for a loaded train, and have a couple more thoughts to post.

One of the amusements while on bunker watch - day or night - was trying to kill rats. Not as easy as it sounds as rats aren't as dumb as they look!

Knowing that explosives like C-4 are toxic, we would set out small balls of it coated with C-ration peanut butter. I suppose we killed 3 or 4 like that, but they get a bend in their learning curve pretty quickly and eventually would only lick the peanut butter off the C-4.

So people the tried pulling the bullets from 45 ammmo & pressing the powdered case into a big bar of soap. That worked fairly well for killing the little lizards inhabiting our bunkers, but on reflection, we reasoned they ate bugs, so they were only occasional targets.

Rats were very fast & almost impossible to hit. I never did shoot one with soap & only ever saw one killed that way. The sure-fire cure for rats is cobras, but you have to draw the line somewhere!! :-o

Day bunker watch was actually soft duty. As long as there were a lot of people and kids about, there wasn't much to do. You had to be aware of the kids, though; if you happened to notice there weren't any out playing or trying to mooch stuff from passing convoys, it was time to get serious about things!

But if it was a normal day, a frequent amusement was watching the local young ladies. Who were mostly farm girls in the Cam Lo area. I suppose you could have called some attractive... in a 'sturdy' sort of way. They worked constantly and didn't seem too concerned over appearance.

All dressed alike - the straw hat and black jams as mentioned above. The occasional ribbon was about the only fashion statement to be seen. While they no doubt had appeal to the local farm boyz, the majority of Americans didn't see much to look at.

The girls in Hue were another matter. There must have been a small university there as you would see the girls with book satchels. Some of these were not bad-looking... They wore traditional attire - the close-fitting white silk trousers with a matching white silk garment over that. Also close-fitting but very modest, it was like a dress split from waist to ankle on both sides. Often colorfully embroidered. The college girls took more pains with their long, glossy black hair - you could easily tell they spent much time with a brush. They commonly wore it loose with bangs rather than the coarse braids of their country cousins. They still had the cone-shaped straw hats, though. No other head wear would do, appearently.

They wore store-bought sandals or actual shoes instead of the sandals made from old tires.

I always watched them as they walked - very deliberate and graceful - and not at all like the Cam Lo girls. I heard fellows wonder aloud how one might ask one for something no more out of place than sharing some tea at a cafe, but they would not even look at Americans. Just as well, I suppose. I'm sure they would become 'high-maintainance' very quickly.

That & daddy might be a communist. But it was still something to pass the time - of which there was plenty. It probably wasn't good, though... I always wound up thinking of attractive young ladies I knew... which usually didn't help my ever-present case of homesickness.

Still, I will always recall how very graceful the college girls in Hue were. Commies, every one, no doubt! :-x :? :? ;) SW

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 Post subject: Re: Day shift bunker watch
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 8:17 pm 
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Ya reckon they peed down their legs too? :lol

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It's 5 o'clock and it's watermelon time.....................
because you can't drink beer & load rockets - TXPete







Come Visit New Philly Sports.com!


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 Post subject: Re: Day shift bunker watch
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:14 pm 
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Теперь предлагаем бесплатную ежедневную маммографию!
Теперь предлагаем бесплатную ежедневную маммографию!
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Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2007 9:04 pm
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Nope! They was preppies! ;) SW

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 Post subject: Re: Day shift bunker watch
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:50 pm 
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:rotflma: :rotflma: :rotflma: :rotflma: :rotflma: :rotflma: ;)

.....only thing I can equate to that is when we were in port,sometimes there would be "special people" allowed on board as guests of higher ranking folk,and they would give them tours of the ship....they would of course bring their wives and children along.....to this day I clearly recall as I was headed to my berthing area after a loooong day,a "tour" going in front of me very slowly,and the group included some very fine young ladies (I would guess early 20's) all dressed and acting prim and proper-they were trying to negotiating the "kneeknockers"....as they passed my berthing area, the officer was describing where they were going next,one sweet thing turned to the other(unaware I was behind them) and said "I smell penis".... :-o :-o :-o :rotflma: :rotflma: :rotflma: :rotflma: :rotflma:

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 Post subject: Re: Day shift bunker watch
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 11:10 pm 
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thanks for posting the thoughts , its very enlightening , and ive much to learn from those who served there , often we think our memories are random , but i think they serve a purpose


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