by Author Unknown
Being an FNG in Vietnam, I was of the impression that the way you
survived the year was by taking advice from people who had already been
there, drawing upon their combined expereriences. I tried to observe and
listen and absorb as much of this wisdom as I could. Initially, I did
EVERYTHING I was told. Now mind you, as any rational person might think,
ALL advice is not necessarily good advice. With a little maturity, I am
sure that I would have demonstrated a little more discernement, but at
20, I was not able to readily determine which was good and which was bad

For instance, I was told to put my Smith & Wesson between my legs
when flying to protect the family jewels..turns out this was really good
advice! I was also told that at Camp Holloway we only had water for 30
minutes a day and that the first five minutes was actually tepid. Thus,
the early bird got the best shower. Once again, this was good advice. If
you missed the water, the only other way to scrub the red grime of the
central highlands off your hide was to jump into a 55 gallon drum of ice
cold water that was kept in the shower room for late comers. This I did
on occasion always reinforcing the importance of this rule.

Eventually I learned the good rules from the bad ones, but it was
only through personal trial and tribulation. Such was the case with the
advice I got from the flight surgeon regarding the Big Orange Malaria
pills. He suggested I take them, and being a fresh enthusiastic Wobbly
one, I did just that!

Now most of you have taken these pills at one time or another and I
need not tell you what they do besides prevent malaria. And it seems
that my system was particularly sensitive to this self induced quinine
poisoning. The first Monday in my unit I willingly took the big orange
monster and it happened to coincide with a day I took an excursion into
downtown Pleiku. Approximately one hour after taking this thing, I found
myself in the heart of the city with a terrible urge to take a shit. If
you have ever been to Pleiku, you know there weren't any Public
facilities in town. I began to panic. Not knowing how to speak
vietnamese, my ability to communicate compounded my predicament. I made
a feeble attempt to express myself by wildly flailing my arms and
pointing at my butt to any local citizen who happened by. Most responded
with "you Dinky Dau GI". This old mamasan amazingly began to understand
and taking pity on me pointed me down a nearby alley. Actually, alley
would probably not be the correct word...it was more like a wet narrow
passageway littered with discarded rotten vegetables, debris, and other
miscellaneous junk. A more prudent person would probably not be willing
to venture down this slimey corridor unarmed, but I was not in a
position to look for a better place. To make matters worse, overhead
were wires with clothes hanging to dry. This meant I would have to
double over to keep from hitting my head. Doubling over wasn't a
problem..in fact it seemed to come natural as my stomach was now in
severe agony. It was here that I first learned my sphincter muscles were
much stronger than I ever imagined. This would help later when recieving
fire. After negotiating 75 feet of this maze, I came to the very end,
the very dark end I might add. I gazed into the darkness my eyes
adjusting to the dim light. I saw a small tin shed about five foot
tall. It appeared to be about three feet wide and about the same depth
with a small door on the front. Opening the old hinged door I hesitated
and peered inside. It was even darker than the alleyway and very very
damp. There was tile on the floor and in the center was a hole. Now this
hole had all manner of disgusting things around it. On either side of
the hole were what appeared to be places a person would place their
feet. Actually without this foot guide I probably would have put them
there anyway since you didnt want them too close to the hole. In one
corner was a faucet and underneath the spicket was a can filled with
water. There were assorted vermin crawling about and in my present
condition my fear of such things waned. I am a quick learner when
motivated and I was genuinely motivated here. It seemed apparent to this
novice oriental shitter that you should try to shit in the hole and then
with the can of water flush the hole. A courteous shitter apparently
will refill the can from the spicket for the next customer.
Squatting over this dank hole was less than inspiring. I wish I could
aptly describe the wonderful aroma but alas I will spare you those
details. After four or five false finishes, which is not uncommon on
Malaria Pill Mondays, I proceeded to look about for
something....anything to tidy myself. You guessed it! Charmin hadn't
made it to Vietnam in 1968. It wasn't long before I realized I didn't
really need that OD undershirt anyway and proceeded to do what was
necessary in order to complete the mission at hand.

You would think that after this experience I would not take "The
Pill" anymore. Wrong! I certainly didn't want to catch Malaria! The
following week, and it must have been a Monday, I was at 1500 feet
somewhere between Camp holloway and Qhin Nhon flying the river that runs
to the South China sea. Thirty minutes into the flight, I felt a slight
tremor quickly followed by a much stronger rumbling. It seemed as if
there was some sort of volcanic activity within my being. I proceeded to
explain my situation to the AC who initially seemed totally
unsympathetic. I then relayed to him in no uncertain terms, that unless
he put this aircraft on the ground immediately, I was going to shit all
over the cockpit and if necessary..all over him as well! He looked at my
contorted face and realized I was NOT joking! We began an autorotative
descent into the Korean compound.

Now for those of you who have flown that river there are only two
secure places to land between Pleiku and the coast..one was Camp
Radcliffe, home of the 1st Cav. The other was a ROK compound on the
south bank of the river consisting of 10 acres and a helipad. In
retrospect, I would genuinely love to tell all you assault guys that I
shit on the cav patch at Anh Khe, but unfortunately we had passed it and
the ROK compound was only minutes away.

Let me take a minute to regress. This was an early flight..like the
crack of dawn. The ROKS were good fighters, but had very little sense of
humor. OK..here we go..short final to the middle of the ROK compound and
its about 6:30 in the morning. Apparently the lovely sound of our wop
wop wop stirred the natives and they were certain they had important
visitors. Before the Aircraft Commander had gotten the bird to flight
idle, I was out of the aircraft and sitting in my newly learned
(remember last week) squatting postion right smack dab in the middle of
the VIP pad. I was able to relieve sufficient pressure with the first
burst that my crew chief said I might have even hovered momentarily.
Anyway the rumbling dissipated. This time I had my handy little tissue
from our C rats. I hurriedly tidied up and jumped back into the
aircraft. We wound it up to 6600 rpm and flew off. We couldn't have been
on the ground more than 3 minutes tops. As we began our initial climb
out of the compound, I noticed movement from the base HQ and saw 3 staff
officers straightening up their uniforms and walking toward the helipad.
As we pulled pitch they stopped and looked at us in wonderment and I
sensed disappointment in their faces. Their important visitors had
changed their minds about visiting and they looked as if we had stood
them up somehow. I still wonder to this day what they must have thought
when they discovered the chocolate swirl deposited in the middle of the
VIP pad.

That was the last Monday I took a pill in Vietnam. BTW I never
contracted malaria. I decided that Malaria couldn't be worse than this.
I did make it a point to tell all the FNG's to take their pills :)

This cannot be a TINS because it contains some :)