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The Sargent came walking over to all of us. We sort of got into an army regulationtype formation. At second glance, this was the top Sargent of the company before us. In the army, he is the door of the company. He made sure all the company was run straight. His was the real nuts and bolts job of the army. He began to speak in that broken and crackling voice of an army Sargent. It had that army authority to it along with the army style. It sort of made you shudder and laugh at the same time. Yet, after being in the army you learned to respect this man above all others.
Like puppets everyone gave him his ear at the first words. There was going to be a delay in our assignments for about one or two weeks. There was an over supply of controllers sent to the company. He said though, that we would either be assigned to the golf course or the AN KHE main airport. This meant that we were going to stay at the present position. This meant that the insecurity of finding a home seemed to be coming to an end.
Then there were further orders given as to guard duty and K.P. That went over like a lead balloon. K.P. half way around the world. Well someone had to preform the duty and I guess we had to clean up our own mess. Next he said, there was an old company area that had to be disassembled. It was part of the old AN KHE ARMY AIR COMMAND area. It was only recently that the new barracks had been put up in the company area. When one thought of it, the whole area seemed to have that new look to it. For sure there was a great amount of work going on in the company. Later on I was to find that a policy of base beautification had been installed in the company area.
We were marched over to the new work area. It was situated down a dirt road that lead into the airport area or region. This road was the only means in or out of the area. Parallel to it was the river that bent its way along that isolated road that seemed to go no where. To the right was the airport and the green-line that ran parallel to the runway about fifty yards further on. Yes it was an isolated area in the middle of nowhere. To me it seemed like that getting off the spaceship and being isolated on the planet.
The old company itself was in a state of decay. There were tattered tents and left over floor boards. Around each tent there was a wall of sandbags. They were of the old canvas type and were in a state decay from the heat and rain that were the common enemy. It seemed they had a very short life span in the country itself. Next to the old area there was a half completed church going up. It had the same construction of slotted boards and screens on the upper half.
There had been a whole reorganization of the company area. It seemed that the war was over in the area and that the place was going to be reorganized for a new world. It was that the barracks that we were living in were only built in the last couple of months. There was one Sargent in the area that was responsible for the construction. He came from the deep south and was a hard worker. He seemed to have the motivation that was needed to get the place built.
We walked over to the area where the detail was to take place. It was the old that was there. You could feel the presence of the other guys that had lived in the area. It had a haunting affect on me. There was that eerie feeling of being alone, the strangeness of the war. That haunting look that lurked in everyone's eyes was present in the company that was being torn down. We were given orders to remove all the sandbags and pile the wood from the floors. There were left over nails that had to be removed from all the boards. Half of us were to tare down the sandbags and the other half were to remove the boards. There was just remanence of the past that were left in the area. All the parts of the old company were in the shambled disarray that was left.
I was put to work taring down sandbags that remained. We had to remove the sand from the bags and spread it on the ground. The bags were well worn and had that feel of having seen its days. We started to remove the bags and found them crumbling in our hands. The canvas that the sandbags were made from had rotted from rot. All we had to do was pick them up and push the dirt to one side. The heat of the day was coming upon us. The temperature was rising to the one hundred degree mark. Our shirts were starting to fill with sweat.
We were working for about ten minutes, when I came upon my first scorpion. I had removed one of the sandbags and it had nested under that one. This was my first experience with this sort of character. I asked one of the guys what the thing was, and he told me to my surprise. The rain and moisture that had accumulated, afforded it the perfect habitation. One guy from the west came over and started to laugh. He had been use to them all his life. He just crushed it with his boot. The casualness of the experience was a total mind jarring experience. This had been my first encounter with this sort of creature. Well it had given me another problem to contend with in this country. The only place where I had seen this sort of creature was in a zoo. The only thing he said, "was that I would get very sick or possibly die if it was potent enough".
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