There was a dipper laying by the vat and many of the guys decided to have the cool-aid. Each went back to the tables that were in formation and placed the trays on the tables. Each person was under the eye of all the short timers in the mess hall. They all waited for each new guy to taste the chlorine in the water. There were massive doses of chlorine in the water. The food itself was good and left me in awe. I along with others expected to be eating out of cans. This was contrary to the war movies that we had seen on the television. This had at least explained to me the reason why my friends wanted cool-aid sent to them in their care packages. The dilution of the taste was the only alternative.
Outside the mess hall we were told to wait. There was to be a formation after the lunch time. From their we would move over to receive our issue of jungle clothing. Finally we were in line rushing and waiting to receive our clothing. Soon the morning was over and the temperature had climbed well into the nineties and everyone was now rearing sweat soaked clothing. There were water tanks in between the barracks. Here a person could get purified drinking water at any time. This water was also chlorinated but to a lesser degree. The best way to drink it at first was to hold your nose and swallow. After awhile you got conditioned to the chlorine and it became a way of life. Soon water was becoming a major factor in everyone's life. It seemed like you drank vast amounts and only pissed small amounts.
Salt tablets were served at every meal. Some of the guys would use them while others used a lot at the dinner table. There always seemed to be an ample supply of salt tablets and water. New was this way of life in the tropical climate of Viet Nam.
A lunch formation was called after everyone had gotten their jungle fatigues. We were marched over to the mess hall like before.
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Inside the same transition and mode of action was performed. As it was countless times before in the army. Several of the guys were taken out of the formation for K.P. duty, this was kitchen police. This usually lasted for about four hours of assignment. That was a lot better than the state side duty. That usually lasted for eighteen hours or more at one stretch. The short time was to allow the person time for his in-country processing. There was always formations being called, at any time to notify the person that orders had arrived. Then there were no hang ups to be accounted. It seemed like you made a friend and then were separated for life. Strange how the movement of people and time started to manipulate the growing process.
That afternoon we were given our first in country indoctrination lecture. A group was formed outside the mess hall and we were marched over to this large wooden hall. Inside there were steel chairs. They helped ward off the sleep and heat that was wearing all of us down. You always felt, that you ready to fall asleep at the drop of a hat. Inside a first Lieutenant gave us a speech about reasons, customs, norms, life style of the Vietnamese people. Most of the talk was of the typical army type fashion. From previous classes most of the guys were thinking about their girlfriends or happier times. After about three or four hours we were all dismissed and made our way over to the mess hall. During our walk over to the mess hall there was an announcement over the loud speaker. A formation was to be held after the dinner hour. This meant that a new bunch of orders were going to be given out to the personnel waiting.
After dinner we went over to the transition area. This consisted of a podium in front of an area about half the size of a football field. It had a perforated steel partition surface. These were slabs of steel with holes in them. They were used to construct runways in remote areas. This allowed for the rapid mobility that was needed in Viet Nam. A runway could be constructed in only a matter of days. They were about ten feet long and two feet wide. A tongue and grove method was used to interlock them together. Every where that you went in Viet Nam, there was always a presence of these objects.
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