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 causes most of the American military to shut down due to the inability to provide air support to the troops in the field.
While I was in a line company, (180) men, we did not get packages from home 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 reasonably short amount of time and we got packages from home.
In November 1968, Tiger Force was being resupplied when I got a huge box of stuff from home. I had told my family that I was a helicopter mechanic and working in a safe area, so they wouldn’t be so concerned, thus they felt it was OK to send a large amount of stuff to me.
When a group of soldiers is being resupplied by helicopter, their location is being broadcasted for miles around and time is crucial. Once we were resupplied, 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 in its consumption, and we left the area.
After about an hour of humping we got on the 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 then one night in the same place, but in the driving rain moving was impossible for Americans.
Taking advantage of the situation, and to get rid of the extra weight caused by the gift of real food, we gorged ourselves. I became the most popular guy in the unit. Canned ham, chili, canned corn, chicken soup, chocolate chip cookies, and Jiffy pop popcorn. All these thing we take for granite, but in this case none of us had tasted a home made chocolate chip cookie in months.
Imagine, twelve American soldiers on the top of jungle covered mountain. It’s pouring down rain, and all twelve men are packed under a out-stretched poncho, popping and eating Jiffy-pop popcorn and talking of home. We were in this situation for a week and enjoyed every minute.It’s surprising how the simple things can sometimes be the best.