Every company in the army has that one person that is destined to be the company nut. This guy fit into that category with the Sergent's and its commanding officers. They kept on transferring him to different types of duty all over the airport. He was a funny guy when he got stoned.
Then I said, "that seems to be all everyone does around here". That moment another guy came out the back door. He had his rifle slung by his shoulder. They said, they were going over to the other side of the base to the PX. He said,"he thinks they got rolling papers in the other day". Slowly they climbed aboard the truck and they were on there way to the PX.
Then this guy asked me if I turned on. I said,"WHAT". He said,"DID I SMOKE MARIJUANA". I said, No and said beer was enough for me. With a different laughter he said, I would change my mind. Everyone smokes after they have been in Viet Nam or are good drinkers. There's not to many guys don't do something or other. It keeps your mind off the war and the bullshit that comes and goes every day. Then he said, the duty was pretty good. No one fucked with you or played soldier with your mind. You just work and do your own thing. That's about all there asking of you. It was pretty straightforward but yet the truth always seems to have a straight forward mannerism.
Now my mind was starting to grasp the new environment that was to be my home. There was an awareness about the whole thing. There was an emptiness, that was large and open to everyone. You felt isolated in the reality of the moment. A new dawn, a new awakening in a new part of the world. New seeds that were planted in the mind were spreading its roots into the air that surrounded AN KHE AIR command. You realized that you were anisolatedarea, out in the mountains of Viet Nam. There was little inside except the fragments of the First Air Cav. They had moved up North to the DMZ. AN KHE now was a further transfer point for troops and supplies. It was sort of the cross roads of the central highlands. Beautiful the country was to the eye.
Then he told me to go up to the operations desk and see where they were going to assign me. The towers are full of personal and they don'tneed new people.
That left me with an empty feeling that comes upon not being needed. To me that meant transfer or assignment to other duty. The army had strange ways about mixing duty with theM.O.S. that the person was trained for. These were the insecurities of the army. The unknown of the next duty station.
Then there was a movement of people to the door of the barracks. There was a formation of some sort for the company. It was for KP. and guard duty. From what I could gather guard duty was every other night and KP. was thrown in when the duty roster was gone through. After about fifteen minutes the guys were walking back to the barracks. The usual shuffleof feet, that made this an ordinary type of formation.
Then I asked someone where you got water to wash and shave. With a movement some one said, down by the river or over by the mess hall. Don't drink the river water unless you treat it. Get you drinking water from the mess hall. You can take a shower if there's water in the tank. The pump has been broke for a good time. The only thing that really crossed my mind was a shave.
There were three shifts of duty in the control tower. It was kept open 24 hours a day. Very rare were there flights into AN KHE at evenings. This really meant that two shifts really did any controlling here at all. There were no wake ups in the morning because of the three shifts of work. When the new shift was due to come on work, the earlier shift would wake them up. Some times the interior patrol was giventhis job. There fore you had guys sleeping during the days or doing what you wanted to do. There was a lot of free time on everyone's hands.
There were two different airports at AN KHE. One was a helicopter base on the other side of the base. Then there was the main tower and airport, that was located where we hadthe barracks. This was a fixed wing airport and could accommodate medium size aircraft. Mostly they were of the cargo and freight type. Troop transfer was the most common travel that went out of the airport. These held the suspense and reality of the war. The First Air Cav. had there training camp at AN KHE. The new guys gettingready for the field would go through jungleschool at AN KHE. Then they were shipped north.
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