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Thread: Happy Birthday, Screaming Eagles!

  1. #28

    Default Re: Happy Birthday, Screaming Eagles!

    Snackem - I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child. I have had some close to me die - including a student when I was teaching. The misery of those losses stays to this day. However, your child is a different category altogether. I am in awe of your ability to maintain your sanity. I don't know how you do it.

    You know you can tell a lot about a person by their nickname - so I really don't have to describe "Tiny" to you, do I? Tiny, Tom, myself, and a Lieutenant who will remain nameless here were traveling by jeep. We had gotten a late start and were going to be getting to our destination pretty close to sunset. It was an area that you really didn't want to be traveling through after dark. So we get a flat tire. No problem - we had a spare. Problem - we didn't have a jack. The LT had checked the jeep out of the motor pool - but he hadn't checked the jeep. He hadn't looked to make sure that all of the equipment (which he signed for) was actually present. So we are 20 minutes from our destination with maybe 15 minutes of light with a flat and no jack. Also, no problem. Tiny says "loosen the lugs and get ready to trade the tires". We do, while he is taking off his shirt and getting in position. When we have the lugs loose and are all set, he uses the shirt to pad his hands, grabs the rear bumper, and lifts the jeep off the ground. We quickly remove the tire, slap the new one on, and spin on one lug to hold it in place. Tiny rests while we get the rest of the lugs in place, picks the jeep up again, and we spin the lugs down enough to seat them. Five minutes later we are on the road again. We got to our destination after dark - but early enough to avoid any trouble on the road. Tiny had a hard time buying a drink that night - my money got there first! I am sure glad we were traveling with him instead of one of the little guys in the unit!
    That was one of several times that the particular LT created dangerous situations through his stupidity. He was an ROTC grad from a private school in New England - and had absolutely no place in a combat zone. Nice guy - but he created potentially fatal situations on a regular basis. He eventually made it a point to avoid me because I threatened to kill him (twice) after he put me at great risk (not the tire changing situation). Good officers were golden. Unfortunately, too many were like LT B....

    R.I.P. Cyrano and Roxanne.

  2. #29

    Default Re: Happy Birthday, Screaming Eagles!

    Keep them coming M. I am really enjoying the stories and it looks like others are too. My dad didn't serve and his brother won't talk about it. Reading your stories is better than a history book because you just tell it how it is.

  3. #30
    Ancient Arachnid Spider's Avatar
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    Default Re: Happy Birthday, Screaming Eagles!

    My dad served in Egypt in WWII in the Army Air Corps (which later became the Air Force). I have lots of photos that he took, but he died when I was thirteen, so I never really got to experience any war stories. Many books and movies have been made about the Vietnam war, but there's nothing like these first hand accounts. I, too, am glued to my computer screen waiting for more. Thanks, M, for sharing, but especially for your service. I'm glad you came through it safe and sane (more or less).
    Atrophy: what you get when you win atournament.

  4. #31

    Default Re: Happy Birthday, Screaming Eagles!

    My wife and I were enjoying beignets and a really good cup of coffee this morning at a local bistro. As we were having a second cup of an excellent french roast, I remembered another cup of coffee . . . .
    We had been on a 5 night ambush patrol and had made contact several times - put a bit of hurt on the NVA coming down the Ho Chi Minh trail to reinforce units in our AO. The last couple of days had been a bit hectic since they had a pretty good idea where we had to be and were agressively hunting for us. It was time to go home. After a two-hour, round-about trek to throw our opponents off-track, we had arrived at an HLZ about 30 minutes before dawn. The chopper was on the way, and he let us know he was less than 10 minutes out. As we rested, I decided I needed a cup of coffee. We had been making cold camp the whole mission - and I am a real coffee addict. All of us had drunk the last of our water during the trip to the HLZ, but I had found a scummy, green puddle. I used an tee-shirt (worn) to strain out the lumpy stuff and dropped a couple of halizone tablets in to kill anything else. Using my aluminum canteen cup, I brought the water to a boil over a small chunk of C-4 explosive - a piece the size of the end of your thumb would bring a canteen cup of water to a boil in a matter of a few seconds. I dropped in two packages of instant coffee from our C rations (the dates on the packages indicated it had probably been packaged for the Korean War, 20 years previously), sat back, and enjoyed my first cup of coffee in 5 days!
    The coffee I had today was a supurb cup - dark and rich and redolant of smoke, without a hint of bitterness. The cup then was redolant of swamp, with an undertaste of aluminum and a delicate aftertaste of chemicals and medication. However, as I sat in a small cafe watching people walk up and down the street, I am not sure I enjoyed that cup nearly as much as I did the one 43 years ago, sitting on a stump waiting for the chopper to carry me out to safety.

    R.I.P. Cyrano and Roxanne.

  5. #32

    Default Re: Happy Birthday, Screaming Eagles!

    There was a lizard over there with a really unusual call. We called it the "F@ck You" Lizard. It was a great game to play on the FNGs (Forking New Guys) to NOT give them a heads up on the lizard and let them deal with the voice coming out of the jungle - F-you, F-you. The first time it happened to me, I almost dirtied my drawers. For a sample, try

    R.I.P. Cyrano and Roxanne.

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