Yep, the pistol got here. I didn’t even see any bread in the package but the Viet kids were eating the cookies so fast the bread probably went too.
Dad is mostly right about the pistol. It’s dangerous and not good for anything but extremely close range. I keep it under my pillow (flak jacket) when we sleep out in the bush. Sometimes when we are carrying supplies I have to sling my rifle on my back in an un-handly position. Then I carry the pistol in my waist pocket.
We’ve had some of our Regional Force Viets killed by the V.C. in broad daylight in our village but our day haven sites have never been attacked. (That changed) Our village is pretty safe in the daytime but at night it’s strictly Indian country.
My officers would probably blow a fuse if they knew I had your pistol. On the other hand I never see any officers anyway and most of them have unauthorized weapons too: shotguns, Swedish “K” submachine guns, .357 magnums, etc.
Sgt. Burd, my CAP leader, could care less. I’ll keep it until I’m issued a .45, which is unlikely, or until I leave the country. When I come home I think I’ll give it to our Vietnamese interpreter “Yankee” who would give his eye teeth for it.
No, I wasn’t there at Nickerson’s retirement which was a few days after I came out to the bush. He gave a really decent speech at graduation, though. I shook hands with him.
I think I’ve told you already that I have a good chance of leaving ‘Nam in July.
I’m sure John called on the MARS relay system. There is a MARS station in Da Nang but it only operates a few hours a day and it’s 20 lonely kilometers from here to Da Nang. I might make it some day but don’t plan on it. I smell so raunchy now from being dirty so long, that they probably wouldn’t even let me in the radio station.
Yes, I’m living in a ville now. The name of it is Dinh Banh. (Actually, Dien Ban was our district and our village was Thanh Quit) The main ville is right on Highway One with scattered hamlets three or four kilometers back from the road. Our area has a river on the south boundary, Highway One on the east, swamps on the west and more rice paddies, tobacco fields and villages on the north. It’s about 2 km by 4 km in a rectangle.
The back half of our area is so V.C. infested we never go back there. We estimate at least a company of V.C. back there. Beaucoup booby-traps too.
There are thirteen Marines and eighteen RF’s in my CAP. We have two machine guns, three radios, and 4 grenade launchers. Sgt. Burd commands the Marines and Lt. Phang commands the RF’s.
A typical day: at 8:00 P.M. we saddle up and move to a pre-planned ambush site. We set up our ambush. At 11:00 P.M. everyone but one Marine and one RF goes to sleep. The two on watch (1 hr 10 min watches) keep an eye out for movement. If they spot any they wake everyone up. If the people moving around come within range and we don’t care if we give away our position we open up. Sometimes we just watch where they go. We spot V.C. sympathizers and leaders that way.
At 6:00 AM we saddle up and move to our day haven site, which is just someone’s house that we take over for the day. We sleep, eat, clean weapons, sometimes wash at a well. Mostly we loaf. Once a day we go to the road to pick up mail, water, and supplies.
That’s about it, generally, we do other stuff sometimes but that’s our basic routine.
We usually eat C-rations, or long rations (dehydrated food). C-Rations can be eaten cold. For long rations you just add hot water which we boil in mama-san’s kitchen on a wood fire. We get black market cokes from the village but they cost 60 piastres (about 50 cents).
Our water is brought in with our supplies when we can get pure water. If you drink well water you get guaranteed shits for 3 days.
I don’t carry my camera. It’s too much weight to carry.
Righ now I need a haircut, bath, and a shave.
If you can locate a spray can of WD-40 (WD-40) lubricant and rust preventer, send it. It’s like gold around here, also send water purification tablets (not halazone, it’s dangerous). It’s supposed to cause some kind of cancer; liver or skin or something.
P.S. My new address is on the envelope.