War Story ...
An ASA War Story
1967, the dry season.
So ... it was summer in Phu Bai, ...Vietnam ... Republic of .
Unpaved roads were all miniature dust bowls ...
red dust coated everything at the 8th RRFS.
The very occasional monsoon rains were heavy
but of short duration.
Inside the Operations Compound was
a Command Bunker.
If memory serves ... it was located to the right of
the main entrance, very near the fence line,
close to the gate. The bunker was constructed
of concrete and buried about four feet underground;
it's entrance camouflaged by a grassy berm.
The bunker contained a plethora of commo gear.
One piece was the encrypted radio we used to
talk to the ARDF birds aloft.
Encryption was by one-time-pad and had to be
re-set each day. Can't remember if it was changed
just daily or for each eight-hour duty period.
I suspect the latter, since I worked straight swing shifts
and setting the encryption keys was one of my jobs.
This one day ... a very hot, very dry day ...
I entered the bunker and noticed that the air
conditioner had a huge build-up of ice on the
vents. After setting the radio, I took my knife
and scraped the vents clear, ending up with a
sizable ice/snowball that began to melt ...
Exited the bunker and looked around for a suitable target.
Walking down the road, in front of the compound,
was a Marine. He was wearing field gear with his
soft cover ... M-16 slung. He was dusted red.
Each footstep created a small cloud as he moved.
Don't know what he was doing on post but he made
a fine target. I lobbed the snowball up, over the fence,
and ducked down behind the berm.
Apparently my aim was good, for I heard a short,
shouted, "What th..." before I peeked over the berm
and watched the Marine trot off down the road,
cupping a palmful of melting snow ...
looking for a witness, no doubt.
If said Marine ever reads this ...
"Bazinga!" (As Sheldon Cooper is wont to say.)
"Semper Fi" and "Welcome Home, Brother."
Here's where memory gets murky ...
there had to be two MPs in the Operations
guard shack ... but I don't remember them
at all. They're not part of my narrative.