FSB – LZ – BASECAMP
The PX barbershop at Quang Tri Combat Base is shown behind two cav troopers, Chuck Lea and Carter Fuller. Though just another of the standard plywood buildings that were found all over bases in Viet Nam, the shop sported a traditional striped barber’s pole out front. In addition to a good haircut, the scalp, neck, and shoulder massage was relaxing. The popping of finger joints by the barbers usually came as a surprise to new troops at the end of their first haircut. All in all, a pleasant experience.
Not dead yet. The last time you saw me at the hospital compound I had less than a week left in country. Most people got out of the field 20-30 days before they left…not me! For 7 or 8 days before my DVE date Alpha 1-7 went down and I just knew I would get to go back to base camp. Instead they put me on an APC. I was hot and had the ‘pucker factor’ to the max. I was riding on the back of the APC when it went down into a depression and suddenly up a rise. I fell off the back, and while lying there looking face up at the sky, decided this was my ticket out of the field. Went to the hospital and stayed until I had 2 days left in country. I figured no way would they send me out with 2 days left so I recovered and went back to HQ. They assigned me to shit burning detail! What a slap in the face. I could not let such an injustice go unpunished, so I pulled the 3 barrels out about 4 inches from the outhouse and filled them with mo gas. The shit burned nicely but 4 inches was not enough distance to prevent the outhouse from burning as well. There is a picture on the 4/12th web site of the outhouse burning…I forgot my camera or I could have had a MUCH better picture. There was a guy in the unit who bought a 38 revolver. He was an APC driver who wore thick glasses. He only had a limited number of 38 rounds, which he made dum-dums of. Were you my co-conspirator in stealing his .38 ammo? What a trip. Bill (William?) Dodds from Portland, OR was on Alpha 1-7 for a while. Talked to him 15 yrs ago. Got his number from directory assistance. Ronald Congleton from Paterson, NJ was the driver for a while. Was never able to contact him. Someone stole my photo albums from my footlocker at Quang Tri right before I left so I have less than 15 pictures of my time there and only 3 of me. Sgt. Robert Barrows the platoon Sgt and TC of A1-7 has hundreds of excellent pictures. If we could find him I would like to get some copies. I have some good shots of the new Sheridans I will try to get on the site. I couldn’t ID any of the guys whose pictures are on the web. It’s been a long time and very few were 1st platoon people. Do you have pics of 1st platoon during our era?
The Finance major woke me up early one morning, around 3 a.m. He told me to get dressed, bring my flak jacket, my weapon, my helmet and my rifle. I was to meet him at the helipad ASAP. He left to wake another soldier. While I stumbled and dragged all my stuff to the helipad, my brain still befuddled with the lack of sleep, Jerry Malan stepped out of the shadows, “Hey Pineapple, he said, “Where are you going? He was the last person I expected to step out of the shadows to ask me. “I don’t know, I honestly said, “I have to go to the airport. “You’re going to get new MPC, Malan said. He disappeared back into the shadows as I walked on. Was I still sleeping? How did Malan know? Was it true? I met the major at the helipad and we took off immediately, heading on a southerly bearing. As soon as we were in the air, the major revealed our destination was DaNang, our mission, he said was to pull security and help him with picking up the new MPC. We were going to have a currency change in the next few days. It was top secret.
The people at momma-sans whore/drug house knew about the MPC exchange 3 weeks before it happened. No doubt before your major did, and since I was a frequent flyer I knew too. Do you remember Sgt. Barrows calling in a chopper for me to make a P.X. run while you were with 1st Platoon? I didn’t go to the PX, I went to momma sans for the supplies the troopers really needed. I remember Cua Viet Navy Base and leaving there with the turret full of Navy C-rations. We would have been main gun-less had we been attacked because no one could fit in there. .
Hey John, I remember Weaver, he used to stand at the hooch door so all you could see of him was his top half and roll that grenade of his down the isle and we all would run like hell, then we got smart and painted his toy fluorescent orange or pink or something like that so we would know it was that dummy grenade of his, well he rolled that bright orange toy of his down the floor one night just a laughing his ass off, we took one look at that thing and then looked at each other and then ran like hell…..
Duke, 2nd plat 69
I agree too…Cua Viet was good duty…SUPER food….OK bunker guard, and a boat ride to ambush. Except that river seemed awful wide when the boat left. Very lonely out there on the other side of the river. Seemed like it rained almost every night I went out. The drag races on the beach were cool though!!! Nancy was a “homey” LZ. When we went to Quang Tri I felt like we had moved to the big city.)-: ???
You’re right Turtle, my least favorite place was, I THINK, A2. Or whichever one we were at closest to the DMZ. ( C2 was a bit south, right?) It was the rainy season and I never did get warm. Nothing but red mud and sandbags. I always liked the field better than any base camp anyway. I’ll never forget WATCHING those 175mm rounds when they fired the ARTY. Unbelievable to me, to be able to SEE the rounds go out..and out … and out…WAY out! What was their range?
Speaking of Cua Viet, I remember in November of 69 that the troop had to go back to Quang Tri for some type of inspection. The three mortar tracks were left behind at Cua Viet. We had to pull fire missions every third night. The nights off were spent at the club listening to Three Dog Night and the like. The only problem, it didn’t last long enough.
Does anyone remember the guy who came to the Troop sometime during the middle of 1970 from the rangers, P/75th? Seems like he had been in some really bad stuff, got stranded above the pink line of the DMZ for a few days when the rest of his team all got killed. He refused to go out with P/75th again after that, so they sent him to A 4/12. The first sergeant made a deal with him, and in return for being the permanent shit burner at Quang Tri, he didn’t have to go to the field with us, either. Once he showed up for formation stark naked. I don’t know if he was trying to make like Cpl Klinger in MASH and get a mental discharge, or if he just truly didn’t give a damn anymore. One night he apparently got tired of burning shit, or perhaps he was just angry at the world. He filled the cut-off 55- gallon drums in the bottom of the latrine with fuel, and tossed in a frag. Really made a mess of things. At first it seemed a bit weird, but after that lots of people probably chuckled a bit and wish they had been the one to do it.