The Tiger

It was a normal night on base camp.  Hauled ammo all day, got drunk. Went to bed. Lived another day.  That eerie feeling of impending doom came over me.  I was barely awake and through the mosquito net, into the blackness someone was there.  As I cocked my leg back and reached for my K-Bar the unknown, shattered my panic...Myers....are you awake?????  There went another few more years off my life.  S------ said "something's wrong.  No shit!!!!!!  But, S---- was a quite easy going, pleasant, young kid that I couldn't get mad at. Not at my old (and rapidly getting older) 21 years.  

Well, what.....??????  S------ told the story.  The CQ and SOG had just stopped by and instructed him to close the hooch doors and lock them from the inside.  Well, why..??????!!!!!  He forgot to ask.  I guess for those young guys, this Nam thing was pretty scary.

I dismissed a ground attack as quickly as I thought of it.  That would have been great, just lock the doors and don't let them in.  Would have given new meaning to the Siege at Khe Sanh.

Who could go back to sleep?  So, in my designer, green, boxer shorts and tire tread sport sandals, rifle hanging on the wall,  I headed for the orderly room.  Yep, no one there.  Stopped by the open air, no miss, rest room, thought about raiding the mess hall...scary...and circled around the battery area noticing the clear, beautiful stars in that read a book bright night sky. Thought of a few unpleasant things about pleasant S------ and wondered how I could get any more sleep.

MYERS are you fucking stupid????? (CQ actually was carrying a rifle)  Huh, I'm here ain't I.  There's a tiger wandering around the hooches!!!!!   I saw that article in the Orchard Park Press flash by.  Another Class of '65 graduate killed in Viet Nam.  Friends and Relatives paid their respects at an open casket ceremony, displaying stained, shredded green cloth and tire tread sport sandals.  One of only 3 Americans killed in Nam last week.

Anyway,  we exchanged expletives, practiced a few for S------ and implemented basic training night vision  tactics back to the hooch.

S------ and I fastened the doors, (remember the fancy door hardware) drank a couple of those popular warm beers, built a beer can sentry pyramid in the entrance to my area and went to sleep.

Ahhhhh..... those peaceful Nam morning wake ups.  MYERS are you fucking stupid?????  Can you believe it... I didn't even here Sa------ kick down my beer can sentry.  What the fuck did you tie the doors shut for??????

It was almost pleasant to get into Svc 11and haul 6 tons of HE (with fuses) using my x-ray vision to dodge mines in the road and wearing my camo steel pot for invisibility and pointing an M-14 at as many trees, shrubs and clumps of grass as possible to intimidate gook ambushers and finding mamma san in Cam Lo, who sold "45" whiskey for $5 a bottle.

I guess the worst part is that I didn't even see the tiger.

Hard to believe not one person (relative, friend or stranger) asked me what I did in Nam when I got HOME.  OOOPPPSSSss....My bad...I didn't bring it up.

DoubleOOOPPPSSSss...That ASSt. Supt. of Schools Rome (the air base town) N.Y. at an interview for a teaching position in ''73 asked:  "How many kids did you kill"> 

Copyright 2000 Will Pete

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