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ext to the flight shack in HML-367 at Marble Mountain we had a small lounge that had a "soda mess" girl serving soda's and snacks. This "soda mess" girl was Vietnamese and lived near the base. I'm not sure how she got to work each day. Anyway, this Vietnamese girl was very bright and spoke near fluent English. I used to jokingly call her Number 9... As all 'Nam vets will remember #1 meant "good" and #10 meant "bad." One day, in one of my brainstorms of thinking how I could make life in the 'Nam a little more like being home, I got the idea that maybe "Number 9 soda mess girl" could sneak a puppy on the base for me and the guys in my hootch. It seemed like a great idea.

Well, Number 9 pulled through for me. Everyone in the hootch loved this little pup. It took our minds off being far from home in a land very strange to us.

I think we had this puppy only about 4 or 5 days when the MP's on the base decided that having animals as pets was dangerous to us. After all, they may get rabies and bite us and we may die. So, we tearfully said goodbye to our Number 1 puppy...me, the other 7 Marines in my hootch and the 18 rats.

Semper Fi!

Editor's Note: This story was submitted by David Blackledge.

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