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Date Posted: Fri, May 20 2005, 14:01:59
Author: Larry Lusk
Author Host/IP: 66-214-115-70.vv-cres.charterpipeline.net / 18.104.22.168
Subject: Re: It Taste Like soap
In reply to:
's message, "It Taste Like soap" on Fri, May 20 2005, 12:19:47
I also thought that “It Tastes Like Soap” was humorous and there were things that we laughed about afterwards like being assigned to guard duty my first night in Vietnam and finding out the man I was partnered with was night blind. Even though I knew I was on my own until help arrived because he couldn’t see anything I still laugh when I think about it.
There is a sad side of getting bad water when you think it is safe though. Every few days water was brought out to the field for us. I always carried five canteens, two on my belt and three on my pack. On very hot days you could drink all five and still not get enough water but we had to ration ourselves because we never knew when we’d get stuck in something and not be able to get resupplied. One day something had gotten into the water they sent out to us. While it didn’t taste quite right we were heading out almost immediately on a sweep so we filled up anyway. Going without water was not an option.
By mid day all of us were feeling sick and a Dust Off had been called in for several of the men in my platoon. After several more hours everyone was getting stomach cramps and word came from the base camp that it was because of the water. We were not in a very good place to stop and wait for help and base camp told us that no helicopters would be available until evening. Our Platoon Leader was as sick as the rest of us and I heard him curse on the radio to whoever he was talking to at the base camp. That was usually a type of action that at least got a reprimand but I don’t think he cared because he knew how much danger we were in. We were in the low foot hills and our pick up point or position for the night was still four klicks away (over two miles). We were between two small villages that may or may not house NVA at night. The hill we needed to get to was two klicks past one of the villages. Before we got to that second village I was almost doubled over with cramps and some men had tried to drop their flak vests and the rest of their gear including their rifles. We couldn’t even pour the water out of our canteens because we were using it to cool off with. Thank God we were doing this sweep without our packs! Fortunately the second village was as deserted as the first, the people living there had gone into hiding as they normally did when American troops came near. If there had been NVA there we would have been dead because we were in no condition to fight back.
We managed to get to the hill top just before dark and a chopper brought out clean water and took back several of the sicker men. There were fox holes still there from some other unit which was lucky since without our packs we had nothing to dig with. Even with the fresh water I was dehydrated and kept cramping up all night. One of our fire bases fired flares and H and I fire all night to give us some protection. If the NVA in the area knew how sick we all were, which they might have all ready figured out by then, they would have attacked us without that covering fire all night. Bless those Red Legs! By morning we were feeling better and slicks came in and took us to a fire base, maybe the one which had protected us all night, and we stayed there for several days. Our packs were already there as usual and the first thing we did was pour out all the bad water from the canteens in our packs.
All we were told about the bad water was that something had gone wrong at the water treatment plant at base camp. Our whole battalion and perhaps more men had become sick and that was the reason there were no helicopters available that day. That was a day that none of us ever laughed about later.
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