After we were located in an area, we went back to the supply building. The same path that was used all the time. It lead right from the enlisted mans area to the non commissioned officers area and supply. You could also go the long way around and follow the road to the greenhouse and the supply area not far away. The door opened in the same fashion, spring-less. In supply we were given our equipment. M-16 rifle, ammo, flack vest, helmet, etc, along with bedding . The supply clerk said,"to use the mosquito netting as much as possible". There were many malaria type in the area, that had never been heard about before Vietnam.
We walked back to the barracks. There was an air that felt different. Your past reality of war become a disillusionment, there is a tense new feeling of the unknown and the known. Here you were issued a rifle, that had potent killing force. It was light and very efficient as long as it was kept clean. It was something out of the western movies. Everyone walking around with a rifle or pistol. Totally knew it seemed all an illusion. The past about weapons was dispelled to all eternity. This was a reality that was real hard to except. One began to realize that the reality and concept of war was not what they are played up to be on television or the movies.
Here I was a person who dropped out of his second semester of college. There was only high school behind me and little of life. Twenty-one and half way around the world. There was a new shattering of thoughts of life and the reality. To kill or not to kill. Funny how that question came up to both of us when we were issued our rifles. It seemed to trail along the black stock of the rifle. It was made of plastic from one of the largest toy makers in the United States. It seemed to shimmer in the recess of all eternity. Your past learning charges forth and reality of the situation tells different. Crashing in from all sides, the harsh reality of war. This is only an illusion to the sensory organs you tell yourself.
Most of the enlisted men in the company were of draft age. Young prime manhood, poured into the country of Viet Nam. It was as if there was a plastic monster going to be created in the shape of Viet Nam.
All the men, money, material and morals of the country as the fill. Time hardened the Viet Nam issue into a Frankenstein monster. It lurked and festered.
We arrived at the barracks and began to set up house. It seemed funny to be sleeping with a roof over your head. The inside were of new lumber, there was that smell of new lumber. The cement on the floor was was of the white powder color. Then there was the call to chow. The mess hall was about fifty yards away. We walked to the line that was outside the door. My eyes caressed the figure of a yellow character out of the comic books. There was a caption that read,"HAVE YOU TAKEN YOUR MALARIA PILL TODAY". The door was then open into the mess hall. It was also of the wood slotted type construction but larger.
Inside the dining room there was picnic type benches set up to eat on. In toward the back there was an area separated from the enlisted mans area. This was the form of army rank ,privilege system. The cooking area was sparse with lots of room. There was some new equipment that was yet unpacked. There was a hollow emptiness to the area. There were K.P.s on duty. This meant that we would have to pull K.P. We looked at each other and just said,"OH SHIT". We were served hamburger peppers and a vegetable along with assorted other foods. It was good at times, but left much to be desired.
After we finished we went back to the barracks and finished unpacking our bags. The approach and take-off of the planes could be heard, because of our nearness to the runway. The sun was beginning to set. There was a placid calm that filled the evening. There was a quiet still that encompassed the night. The temperature was beginning to fall a little. There was a somber mood that perpetuated through the air. The air was clean and fresh. Beautiful the country was at this time.
I went to look for my friend from New York. As I was walking down the barracks he came in the other door. We just laughed and couldn't believe fate had been so kind. I asked how it was at the time? He lay-ed his rifle down on the bunk and said,"it was hot as hell and everyone sweats their balls off". We sat down and he gave me a piece of pepperoni. I took it and savored the taste. He said it came from the states.
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