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Old May 26th, 2016, 07:49 PM   #31
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My RCPO (recruit company petty officer and basically in charge) was a little more wild than I was. We had a big inspection and the inspectors said that toilet is dirty. Copes was his name and was black and from an LA slum shithole, cupped his hands and took a big drink out of the toilet and our Company 199 passed inspection 4.0. Navy boot camp San Diego and Marine boot camp was just on the other side of the fence.
Yeah, that's where I went through boot, MCRD San Diego.
In 1968 I was living in one of those metal Quonset huts that was put up as "temporary shelter' in 1942, over near that fence you mention.
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Old May 26th, 2016, 07:50 PM   #32
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The smell from burning shitters produced a permeating stench that just was ...well...Vietnam!!....that stench and the never ending sound of a Huey right over your hootch....I still get a freaky feeling when I hear that unique rotor noise those Hueys made....
I can certainly understand that. I STILL hate riding in a chopper.
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Old May 26th, 2016, 07:57 PM   #33
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I can certainly understand that. I STILL hate riding in a chopper.
Actually I loved riding on them....To avoid sniper fire,those big 53's would go up a couple of hundred feet and then the pilot would flip them on their side and corkscrew straight up, .it was hot and usually the cargo ramp was open...So when you looked out the back the horizon was vertical not horizontal.....The 45's and 47's not so much....

What scared the livin' bejeezes out of me was not the choppers but flying on those damn C-123"s......
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Old May 26th, 2016, 08:06 PM   #34
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I can certainly understand that. I STILL hate riding in a chopper.
I don't blame you because choppers make more Doppler shift than a fire control missile radar needs, we tracked the spinning rotor blades. In jet fighters we tracked the spinning turbine blades.
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Old May 26th, 2016, 08:13 PM   #35
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Had a VFW Honor Guard for a fallen comrade tonight....A retired Gunny, 21 years USMC...only 57 years old....For me it's a great honor to be able to salute a fallen comrade....but it is a bummer to see your buddies go....Semper Fi...Kurt.....
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Old May 26th, 2016, 08:16 PM   #36
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Had a VFW Honor Guard for a fallen comrade tonight....A retired Gunny, 21 years USMC...only 57 years old....For me it's a great honor to be able to salute a fallen comrade....but it is a bummer to see your buddies go....Semper Fi...Kurt.....
Sorry to hear that. I'll be 67 on July 2nd and already I go to way too many funerals.
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Old May 26th, 2016, 08:23 PM   #37
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Had a VFW Honor Guard for a fallen comrade tonight....A retired Gunny, 21 years USMC...only 57 years old....For me it's a great honor to be able to salute a fallen comrade....but it is a bummer to see your buddies go....Semper Fi...Kurt.....
If he suffered the indignity of initiation into King Neptune's Solemn Realm and Ancient Mysteries of the Deep (Shell Back) then he immediately goes to Davy Jones Locker when he dies no matter where he dies at. Davy Jones Locker does not have 72 virgins and rivers of wine but has billions of old whores and torrents of beer.

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Old May 27th, 2016, 06:35 AM   #38
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If he suffered the indignity of initiation into King Neptune's Solemn Realm and Ancient Mysteries of the Deep (Shell Back) then he immediately goes to Davy Jones Locker when he dies no matter where he dies at. Davy Jones Locker does not have 72 virgins and rivers of wine but has billions of old whores and torrents of beer.
I don't know about the old whores, I'm sure his heaven has a bass stream and he is fly fishing right now....

But, If Gunny Kurt has torrents of beer he is one happy Jarhead....I sure busted enough suds with him.....
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Old March 26th, 2017, 02:17 AM   #39
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Ironically enough, most of them were originally American made. M1s (I remember the iconic "ping" sound) and Thompsons were the norm in the early years. After fights, there were always enemy M16s scattered about, but we didn't touch those -- they never worked right. In one of the few true close-in fights we had with the Americans, they were actually using AK-47s against us. The American rifles were that bad.
Aren't M16s the rifles that were supposedly made by the same company that made barbie dolls?
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Old March 26th, 2017, 06:00 AM   #40
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I had a hard time deciding where to put this article. I found it a really interesting read. Don't let the length scare you off. I broke it into two parts

8 Things Vietnam War Movies Leave Out (By an Enemy Soldier) | Cracked.com

8 Things Vietnam War Movies Leave Out (By an Enemy Soldier)

By Evan V. Symon , Nguyen Hoa Giai

Even if your knowledge of the Vietnam War comes exclusively from Hollywood films and Texan textbooks that only refer to it as "that one the good guys lost," you've probably heard about the Viet Cong. They were a bunch of jungle-fighting guerrilla warriors who killed American boys via night-time ambushes and terrifying traps. Well, that's one side of the story. Here's another: They were a bunch of scared (mostly) young kids fighting in a massive conflict for very personal reasons. We sent a writer out to Vietnam to speak with Nguyen Hoa Giai. He fought as a Viet Cong from the late 1950s to the end of the war in the mid-'70s. Here's what he told us.

#8. We Weren't All Communists; We Just Wanted Independence, or Revenge

I became a Viet Cong guerrilla in the late 1950s, when I was 15. It wasn't because I was a Communist, or because I ran away to join the circus and just got wildly sidetracked. My uncle actually fought on Ho Chi Minh's side of things during WWII when the resistance against Japanese occupation was actually funded by the Americans and Brits. Here he is palling around with Allied soldiers:

I was just mad at how the South was pushing all of its excess money into the major cities like Saigon. The South Vietnamese government seemed to ignore small towns and villages, like mine. Ngo Dinh Diem (the leader of South Vietnam at the time) even took away our farms and put them under the control of a single rich guy who'd supported the French in World War II. This happened all over South Vietnam and was called "land reform," rather than the far more accurate "serious, deep, and exploratory boning."

The French, who had controlled Vietnam since the 1800s, always saw the locals as "lower," and we never forgave them for refusing to give us independence. Ho Chi Minh was snubbed twice, and after the second time he reacted. My uncle also wanted independence and would do anything, including support Communism, to get it.

Once the fighting started, a lot of people died, well over a million on our side alone. For the war to continue, a constant stream of new fighters had to join up, and they didn't have the benefit of such luxuries as "functional equipment" or "the slightest idea what to do." Over 90 percent of these new recruits were teenagers or younger. Many of them weren't even particularly invested in the "cause" itself. Supporting Communism or the dream of a united Vietnam was less a motivator than wanting revenge for the death of a parent, loved one, or child. The Viet Cong (literally: the National Liberation Front or just "the front") were just a means for securing that revenge.

Most of them were aware that Stalin and Mao each had movements named after them (Stalinism and Maoism), so they just assumed Socialism was named after a guy named Social and Communism was named after a guy named Commun. A distressing number of my co-soldiers still thought we were fighting France. They knew of Ho Chi Minh, but only in vague propagandistic terms, not the man's actual history. When we told them we wanted a Socialist society, they just said yes because they were mostly poor, grieving peasants living through a shortage of damns, and thus had none to spare for politics.

#7. We Were Just as Scared of the Jungle as the Americans Were

Your movies tend to portray the Viet Cong as deadly jungle warriors, blending into the foliage and melting out of the wild to launch continuous surprise assaults on various Rambos. That's all a big load of crap: Many of us (including me) came from border towns and grew up in the hills or the mountains. We had no more mastery over the jungle than a kid from Oregon has over Death Valley.

So the jungle was alien to many of us, and unlike most of the American soldiers, we were stuck spending our entire war there. My uncle and I didn't trust the tunnel systems many of the other VC used. They were prone to collapse, and if that happened over a barracks or a mess hall it was likely to kill more people than an air raid. So we did most of our moving around outside, under the questionable cover of grass mats. This meant we were not only completely open to rain storms ... but also to murderous animals. It's easy to forget, amid all the drama of war, that there were tigers in that jungle. Easy to forget until you met a goddamn tiger, that is.

Tigers may be shy, but every once in a while one of us would disappear in the middle of the night, and we'd all just sort of understand why. Tigers don't exactly do end-zone dances after every kill, after all.

And so many people were killed by snakes. There were also rats as large as cats, mosquitoes, spiders, and centipedes to contend with. While you won't usually die from a centipede bite, one of my co-guerrillas committed suicide after being bitten because the pain was so intense.

Armed adversaries give you comparatively good odds of survival. Mother Nature has things uglier than bullets in her arsenal.

#6. The Fighting Looked Nothing Like the Movies

Movies always make the fighting between Viet Cong and American soldiers look like gruesome, close-up gunfighting. That kind of stuff happened, sure, but only when absolutely everyone fucked up. In reality, even when we were shooting at the enemy, we usually couldn't see them. There'd be muzzle flashes or tracers in the distance, and we'd just fire at those. During more than a decade of fighting, I saw living enemy soldiers up close only three times.

The first time was right after a firefight, and we were shocked to see how blackened the bodies were. We thought they must have been charred by an explosion until we realized their skin was naturally black. None of us had seen a black person before. Some people thought they were myths. All of them were either dead or near-death. We shot the wounded survivors with a pistol. We were in no condition to provide them with medical care. It seemed kinder than letting them bleed out. We didn't torture them or take any pleasure in the deaths. The younger guerrillas, who were less attuned to death, even cried.

Thanks to Hollywood, you probably picture the VC as constantly popping out of holes in the ground like deadly gophers. But like I said before, my group avoided those cramped, rickety tunnels full of death traps like, well ... like cramped, rickety tunnels full of death traps. You don't need an analogy to understand why that sounds like a bad idea. But sometimes we'd have to go really far south, or there'd be exceptionally clear skies and we'd decide that the tunnel sounded like marginally more fun than a bomb. The tunnels were essential for a lot of the VC, though, especially around Saigon.

Unlike living under the mats, tunnel living was a whole different world. The big ones had a kitchen area, with a smokestack jutting out sideways so the smoke would billow out far away. There was always rice, usually along with a vegetable or meat (rat or monkey).

But, as always, the great outdoors was the best bathroom. We generally had to wait for nightfall to relieve ourselves, but if it was an emergency, well ... you just kind of hope the bomb hits you direct, so nobody sees that you died squatting with your pants around your ankles. Once, in a tunnel near the Laotian border, we even made a fun game: The goal was to be the person who could finish their business outside first. We all got pretty good at this, but once a guy panicked when he heard the distant drone of a plane's engine. He leapt back in, spraying piss everywhere.

It turned out the plane was North Vietnamese. Everyone laughed, except the guy who'd sprayed us with his pee: He'd been the record-holder prior to that point, and now his record was irrevocably tarnished.

With pee.

#5. We Were the Biggest Threat to Our Own Safety

On a day-to-day basis, enemy soldiers weren't our biggest threat. We saw more American leaflets and trash piles than actual combatants:

My group's job was mainly to observe troops near the Ho Chi Minh trail. Again, we only got into fights when someone screwed up. But we didn't need any help, American or otherwise, to get ourselves killed and mangled: Recruiting undisciplined kids and giving them more responsibility than a Tamagotchi will see to that.

Sure, there were VC training centers, but local recruits rarely attended. For every trained person we got through a camp, three more came from the surrounding area with only the vaguest idea of what a gun was. We provided on-the-job training to our guerrillas, and that led to disaster. I remember teaching one recruit, about 17 years old, how to throw a grenade. He pulled the pin then asked us what to do next. We were shouting at him to toss it, but he just waved at us, and watched the fuse burn up to the shell. It exploded. So did he.

Another recruit was given a Chinese AK to stand guard with, and then later that day he was asked to cut down a tree branch to give us better visibility for the night. Instead of asking for a saw, he flipped the AK on automatic and proceeded to shoot the branch down. The branch came down, but a bullet ricocheted off and killed him. So we had to bury him, as well as find a new position. His shooting had given us away.
Two men moved next door to me in Warner Robins, Ga and we became friends. They had a map of Vietnam on the wall and the South Vietnam Flag. I had a photograph of my ship hanging on the wall and the American Flag hanging in the window. Then they moved away. I had machine contracts on Robins AFB and met them in their cubicals by accident six months later. I asked about their job but they said we can't talk about it and I said OK and left pretending to ignore them when I saw them again. Must have been hush hush for them to act like that. I had fun pointing out places that I had been in Vietnam and they had fun pointing out places they had been on their map. I suspected that they had been ARVN officers and ARVN took a beating.
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