Chapter Nine

After we finally got settled in, it was down to business. We got put on working parties a couple times but just for the first week or so. It was on one of those that we discovered at least one way the guys were getting their drugs. They would pick up anything metal they found on the base and throw it into the bottom of the garbage truck. Then, when they went to the dump, they would sell that metal to the Vietnamese who operated the dump or exchange it for drugs. There was no point in reporting them; it was clear that this was standard procedure.

At first we both worked in the warehouse on the docks. I did normal storekeeper warehouse type work (stocking shelves, issuing supplies, etc.) and Bill worked in the warehouse office. I was a tiny bit jealous about that at first because I was “regular Navy” and he was a Navy reservist, but within a short time he got moved to the night shift and then I was glad I didn’t work in the office. We did manage to go exploring into Saigon together once or twice, but his night shift job really limited that. Generally we’d only see each other in passing, between shifts. We remained good friends – in fact of all the guys I worked with in Nam, he was the only one I could call a real friend.

As expected, I performed a few additional duties while I was working the warehouse. The main one was filling in for the tank farm guy for a couple weeks while he was on some kind of short notice R&R (which means I didn’t get much break-in time). I had one little “event” when a tank truck driver overfilled one of the big storage tanks (kind of a volcano effect, only with JP4 instead of lava), but other then that I managed. At least I didn’t cause any of the fuel storage tanks to explode.

The boat repair people needed more room and so the Navy was in the process of building us a new warehouse(s) at the other end of the base (as noted in the opening photos). Just before that move happened, I got a new full time job driving our supply truck into Saigon. My job was to take in stuff that was being returned to the U.S. for repair and bring back the stuff we had ordered. The main supply base in Saigon was called Newport. My truck was a 10-ton flatbed and I called it Linda Lou. I wonder why. ;-)

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