Burning the . . .


by: Jim Fair
© 1997


Hill 327, Đà Nẵng, Vietnam - 1966: I arrived in sunny Đà Nẵng, Vietnam during May 1966 as a warehouseman (MOS 3051). I had joined on my 18th birthday (11/65) and was obviously very nervous when I arrived in the "NAM". I was assigned to the 3rd Shore Party Battalion stationed near Hill 327 at Đà Nẵng. I was initially assigned to the enviable duty of burning the crappers. I was told to burn them with gasoline and then to fill the "cut-in-half" 55 gallon drums with kerosene from the Motor Pool. Sounded fine, except I was never told where the Motor Pool was located. After I had burned the containers, I then filled them to a level over the residue with the available gasoline. I then reinstalled the 55 gallon containers into the crappers and hurried to the mess hall for lunch.
      While eating the fine lunch and lime Kool-Aid (I refuse to drink anything green to this day), a Gunnery Sergeant stormed into the mess hall bellowing to know . . . who had just burned the crappers?! He had just left the outdoor facilities after smoking a cigar---which had ignited the gasoline in the drums (not my fault!), showered the Gunny with hot flames and singed his ample derriere! He continued ranting and screaming demanding to know who had just been assigned the duty of "burning the crappers", at the appropriate volume.
      No one answered, and neither did I, figuring Gunny wasn't wanting to congratulate me (my mama didn't raise no fool!), however, within the week I was transferred to the MP's.
      I never knew who the "Gunny" was, but I apologize as it must have hurt like hell!


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