Phu Bai, Vietnam, just 60 miles south of the DMZ
Seabees of H Company, MCB-7

by: Raymond Cochran
Naval Mobil Construction Battalion Seven
attached to the 3rd Marine Division
Vietnam 1966
(© 2010)

iconMy Crappy Legacy

Phu Bai, 1966: I designed the first "burn- out" (we just called them shit houses back then or shitters for short) in April 1966 in Phu Bai, RVN and I still have the original blue print. The O-5 Commanding Officer asked me, an E-4 enlisted engineer, to get with the battalion doctor for a replacement concept. The doc told me an open trench latrine was a health hazard and he wanted a facility to retrieve and then burn excrement. This was to be used in forward areas with no running water, like our camp. After that I designed an extremely simple building that used standard sized lumber with almost no cutting and was expandable from two holers to 8 holers. MCB-7 built the original and then the plans went up the chain of command.  It was put in the Army Corps of Engineers, Standard Design Manual; from there it went Nam wide. For those of you that don’t know, these outhouses had a unique feature. Underneath the dump hole in the plywood was a 1/3 steel drum. Before it filled up, the drum was removed; taken downwind; then the contents were thoroughly mixed with diesel fuel and burned to a crisp.

Needless to say, the stench was horrible and hopefully the wind didn't shift when you were trying to eat.

Shitter by Joe Barone

I understand they used my shit houses in the frontal areas of Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.  Yep, my lasting legacy to Uncle Sam was a stinkin’ shit house!

Ray Cochran EA


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