Da Nang AB, Tent Mamasan!
Maxie, zero ...

Mamasan ... one

by: Don Poss
© 1996


Đà Nẵng, 1965 - In July 1965 , when I arrived at Đà Nẵng Air Base on "http://www.war-stories.com/dn-poss-day-one-1965.htm" target="_blank">Day One, the U.S. dollar was still King in-country. Piasters were officially exchanged at the BX for about 112-P to the dollar. But the black-market would exchange 300-P to the U.S. Dollar. Military Script (MPC) was not introduced until about September 1965.

Da Nang AB, Rocket City, 35th Air Police Squadron tent city. 1965.The 35th Air Police Squadron, 366th SPS K-9, lived in a tent compound soon to be known as Gunfighters. Eight-men tents housed a thousand combat security police. Spit-shinning boots was a state-side task. At Đà Nẵng, mamasans buff-polished the toes and heels of our jungle boots and civilian shoes. The going weekly rate was one dollar U.S., or 250-P. The market was obviously slanted toward obtaining hard- currency.

      Airman Maxie C. Pierce, Da Nang AB, Vietnam, 1965-1966. Airman Maxie Pierce was a good-natured southern boy and liked to tease our tent's mamasan. Mamasan and her daughter, Babysan, were a tag-team shoe shine business that could do a thousand pairs of boots in a heartbeat. "Hey mamasan ... heard your boy's in the army now ... which side he on? Ha-ha-ha." Maxie would bust out laughing and really yuking it up at mamasan's expense. Well mamasan was getting fedup---in fact she was getting pissed, with the implication that her son was a commie-pinko---and she was chattering at Babysan to hurry up and finish the other side of the tent as she finished polishing Maxie's row of boots and shoes.

Da Nang AB, Rocket City, 35th Air Police Squadron tent city. 1965. BabysanShe wanted to get away from Maxie's loud teasing. "Hey mamasan ... your boy still up North or did Uncle Ho send him South already? Ha-haaaa-ha-yuk." Mamasan's brush was a blur as she buffed another shoe, but finally she finished, and stomped out of the tent.
      Well Maxie was getting ready to go downtown or to the base movie and was finishing getting dressed in civies. He put on a pair of civilian shoes, took about two steps and did a noisy head-over-heels tailspin, AHHhhhhhhhh---CRASH, and lay sprawled on his back. Mamasan could be heard in the neighboring tent, "Ha-haaaaa-ha-yuk-yuk" -- she had polished the bottoms of his shoes.

Me No VC ... you Numba 10-thou G.I. (spit-spit)

 

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