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Subject: Phu Tai Valley Living Conditions – 1966

Bill Bellinger
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Date Posted: 08:03:41 05/10/05 Tue

When I arrived in Phu Tai Valley, Viet Nam in May of 1966, the 56th Signal Company (554th LEM) was still living in the same GP Large tents that they had pitched the year before. The only ‘permanent’ structures on the compound were the mess hall and the service club. At least their priorities were right. Most of the tents leaked like sieves and the canvas was rotting from all the mold and mildew. The troops had built make shift floors out of scrounged lumber and pallets. We tried to requisition new tents, but were always told that tents were a restricted item and could only be issued to combat units. And then, one day a big wind storm hit us and ripped most of the tents to shreds. It’s amazing how fast the Army can move when it really has to. We had all new tents before sundown. Another problem we had was the generator. After over a year of continuous running, it was just about shot. Again we tried requisitioning a new one without much luck. So we were often without power. This was particularly annoying when the generator went out during the evening movie! We had the usual flaming shit cans for latrines, not to be confused with the flaming piss pots some wore on their collars. The shit cans were burned by Vietnamese day laborers. These guys were brought in under armed guard. I often wondered how many of them were VC ‘casing the joint’. I can’t imagine any other reason for wanting to do that job! We did have a well, a water tower, and showers. That was a real blessing.

After the 85th Maintenance Co. moved to Da Nang things were different. I lived in down town Da Nang in MACV quarters. I had a semi-private room, a bathroom with a shower and a flush commode, ceiling fan, etc. After six months living in a tent, it was the lap of luxury. We even had free taxi service, courtesy of the U.S. Navy!

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Subject Author Date
Re: Phu Tai Valley Living Conditions – 1966lee20:51:29 06/23/09 Tue
Re: Phu Tai Valley Living Conditions – 1966Jim Murphy17:31:42 01/04/15 Sun

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