It’s very hot here even in “tropical” cloth utilities. I guess we’ll start CAP school next Monday. I hope so. Guard duty isn’t bad but it is boring.
I unloaded a truck load of lumber today with a working party of Vietnamese, mostly women. It was early this morning so the heat wasn’t too bad. There were eight women and three men and me working.
The Vietnamese are tiny people, very few of the older ones came as high as my shoulder. (I was 6’1”) The women must average about five feet.
They worked hard but are so small that I unloaded about three or four times as much wood as any of them. Some of the women looked as old as Mrs. Clark. (my high school English teacher, in her 60s) It was a little strange seeing women do labor like that. It wasn’t too hard on them because they work in pairs, sharing the heavy loads.
They were kind of shy with me when we started work but by the time my T-shirt was wringing with sweat we were all pals.
After the truck was unloaded the driver bought us all sodas. They would all point to their can of grape soda and say, “Numbah one, numbah one, Marine.”
The kids around the compound are always saying, “Hey Marine, gimme chewing gum.” I always claim I don’t have any but then they say, “Bullshit, Marines got beaucoup chewing gum.” What can I say to that.
The other day when I was on Tower No. 4 one little kid distracted me while another one threw a packet of marijuana cigarettes over the wall. I saw it and turned them over to the OOD. Nobody knows why they give us marijuana but a lot of Marines smoke them. When I’m not on duty and I see somebody getting pot I just turn my head. As long as they don’t screw off on duty and endanger my hide I don’t care if they “do their own thing.” (Gee, the ’60s in a nutshell.)
I’m hacked off about the rifle I was issued. It’s one of the old XM-16E1’s that had Congress in such a hassle two years ago. It’s not only obsolete but it’s supposed to jam easily. What really makes me mad is that the Army and even the Vietnamese Army, Korean Marines, and Local Militia units are equipped with brand new M-16A1’s. Trust the Corps to get screwed when it comes to weapons and equipment. Did you know the Marines landed on Guadalcanal in 1942 with 1903 Springfields (bolt action). A year later the Army was getting its ass kicked in North Africa armed with the new M-1’s.
CAP school is two weeks and is a cram course on; weapons, intelligence, explosives, Vietnamese language, counter-guerrilla warfare, etc. When you complete the school they hand you a blue badge which is the symbol of a CAP Marine. The Vietnamese call it a “butterfly.”
To qualify you need a high GCT score, a clean punishment record and have to be recommended by an officer.
P.S. I think there is an article about Hoi An (IInd CAG HQ) in the Jan. or Feb. issue of the Leatherneck