“Visions of Vietnam”: Every Hangover Has A Silver Lining

Back at base camp, I visited my friend, Steve, at the 1st of the 12th Cav. We made arrangements to meet that evening at the Artillery EM (Enlisted Men’s) Club. We chose this club for its cold beer, jukebox, and overall ambiance (its background chorus of H&I fire – harassment and interdiction – was stirring!). Knowing I had KP (Kitchen Police) duty the next day, my intention was to only drink a few beers. As the old saying goes, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions…and empty beer cans.” Steve and I left the Artillery Club when it closed, returning to my company area.

At the same time, Victor Charlie (VC) fired a few mortar rounds at the divisional helicopter pad, known as “the golf course”. These few rounds didn’t cause any damage other than to harass the rear area personnel. We were ordered to take positions in the battalion defensive perimeter. Steve and I manned a foxhole together. Knowing that this exercise was a waste of valuable military time (I could have been sleeping!), we were less than serious in our efforts, even breaking out in song at one point. From down the line came the voice of a Headquarters Company NCO: “You two guys better knock it off or I’m coming down there and separating you.” My response was, “If you come down here, you better know the password or I’m gonna blow your head off!”

The next thing I remember was waking up in the bottom of the foxhole, not another person in sight. I staggered back to our medical hooch just as the Headquarters Company CQ was waking the men who had KP duty that day, me included. Already red-eyed and not-so-bushy-tailed, I headed to the mess hall. Being the first KP to report that day, I was offered my choice of jobs. I opted to be a “can crusher”, Vietnam’s version of a trash compactor. In spite of my hangover, there was a silver lining: I was out in the fresh air and away from the cooks!


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