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ello, I'm back. You know, the Army Artillery dude in Vietnam way back when Johnny Cash was young.
In the middle of my tour, Captain Q. was rotated in as our Battery Commander, and his elevator didn't go all the way to the top if you know what I mean. It got to the point where he would stand next to the outhouse on Malaria pill day so he could be saluted (for those of you who have not had the pleasure of taking Malaria pills, they cause severe diarrhea for a short while after being taken).
One day Cpt. Q. got use of a LOCH (the little chopper that looked like a bubble with blades) for a few hours and decided he wanted to go hunting VC (you know, the bad guys). He tried to recruit a grunt (infantry) to sit in the back as a machine gunner, but was unsuccessful. He left the infantry area muttering that he would come back to the Artillery Battery and ORDER Cressman to go with him To this day I don't know why I was "the chosen one". Was it because of my yellow socks (hey, give me a break - they were the only dry ones I had that day), or maybe my mustache which was perpetually "unkempt" (by HIS standards)?
Thank goodness one of my buddies in Army Intelligence (an oxymoron if one ever existed) got me on the radio to warn of the brewing storm. The Lt. on duty and I quickly concocted an extremely important mission and were successful in avoiding that chopper ride.
Since time was running out, Cpt. Q went on his hunt without a machine gunner. They did find some VC, cornered them in a bunker, and started lobbing hand grenades to try to get them out. Well, they were successful. The VC came running out with their AK47s on rock and roll filling the bottom of that unlucky chopper with holes. Well, Cpt. Q got an AK47 slug right in the butt, and only a week before R & R with his wife in Hawaii! Hallelujah! And we understand he even had to lay on his stomach in the aisle of the plane going to and from Oahu.
Hey, this is true stuff - I'm really not making it up! You Marines know better than anyone else what strangethings happen in a combat zone!
Anyway, my buddy in Army Intel and I decided this called for a major celebration, so we traded 3 packs of Salems (yes, the cigarettes) to a South Vietnamese soldier for a fifth of Manila Bay Rum (the axiom that you get what you pay for was just as true then as now)! The medic thought it most strange the next day that we were the only two people at the LZ with a severe case of "food poisoning."
And... the Captain got his just rewards as he was relieved of command and sent stateside. There is justice in this world after all! See y'all next time!