Goodies from Home

© 2006) by T.J. McGinley,
1/327/101  Abn.Div. VN – 68-69


By T.J. McGinley

In South East Asia, in the latter part of the year, a weather event takes place called the monsoons.  You don’t know what rain is until you’ve been in a rain forest during monsoon season.  This event caused most of the American military to shut down its operations in the jungles, due to the inability to provide air support to the troops in the field. 

When a group of soldiers are resupplied by helicopter, their location is being broadcast for miles around and time is crucial.  While I was in a line company, 180 men, we did not get packages in the field, simply because it took too long to distribute them to all the men.  But when I joined a much smaller recon unit we could be resupplied in a short amount of time and we got packages from home.

My recon team was being re-supplied when I got a huge box of stuff from home.  Once the last helicopter took off, we had to pack up and change location as soon as possible.  I distributed the contents of the package to those I knew would be joining me in its consumption, and we left the area.

After about an hour of climbing, we got on high ground and set up camp when it started to rain – hard.  The monsoon had started early and we were stuck on this hill somewhere in the Central Highlands.  Under normal conditions, we never spent more than one night in the same place; but in the driving rain moving through the jungle was close to impossible for Americans.

My mom had sent me canned ham, canned chili, canned corn, chicken soup, chocolate chip cookies and Jiffy-Pop popcorn, just to name a few of the goodies.  All these things we take for granted at home, but in this case none of us had tasted a homemade chocolate chip cookie in months. I became the most popular guy in the unit.

Imagine twelve American soldiers packed under an out-stretched four foot by six foot poncho, on top of a jungle-covered mountain in the pouring rain, popping Jiffy Pop popcorn and talking of home.  We stayed there for a week and enjoyed every minute.

It’s surprising how the simple things can sometimes be the best.

T.J. McGinley
Tiger Force
1/327/101  Abn.Div. VN – 68-69