The next morning I followed the rest of the Platoon to morning formation in the company area. Then to the 3rd shop which was to be my home for the next year. I was then issued a set of wrenches with a deuce and a half attached. I learned a lot about Army trucks in the next year. I also learned not to step on the trigger of a fire extinguisher in the back of a moving M151, for obvious reasons.
Tower guard was in addition to our regular job, and although they didn't catch up with me for two months, when they did, it was about every third night. This was about the same time the platoon was raped of personel to feed, supposedly, the incursion into Cambodia. The big rumor at the time involved the word duration and none of us were too crazy about that! Like a lot of rumors, there was nothing to it and it was forgotten. The powers that be however deceided we had to be ready for anything so a "reactionary force" wasformed with the Maint. Platoon. Smooth move, we'll throw wrenches. We were outfitted with all the hardware needed and spent the next few weeks training by being alerted at random times, day or night. We WERE the ultimate weapon! And lucky for Charlie that he didn't try us out.
Boredom struck. Wrench trucks, eat, sleep, guard duty, day after day the same old shit so when the opportunity arose we, me, Mike and the W O's driver, would take Sunday afternoon sight seeing trips. We never went too far but it got us out of the compound for awhile. I thought that was so much fun I volunteered to ride shotgun on the "gunjeep" (no armor)that we used to escort the truck that picked up our hooch maids and KPs. Mike rode on the spare with the M60 and the three of us did this 'till me and Mike DEROSed. The last week before we left, the driver, against our protests, refused to let us go with him 'cause we were way too short.
Our compound was on the corner of the road to Long My and directly across the four corners was a house of ill repute. The reputation of the house itself wasn't in question as it had no control over the goings on inside but it was, in the jargon of the American GI, a "clapshack". Never saw one of those before as up until now I had led a somewhat sheltered life. The people we could see going in and out all night with the starlight scope, well they did a really good business. The scope is what did them in the night I finally got my baptism of fire such as it was. The guard on the tower that night saw them humping, but this time it was rounds into the paddy behind them, a few of which they sent back to us. The engineers leveled the shack the next morning. They wouldn't screw with us again!
Again we settled into the monotony of the "well oiled machine" that was the 3rd shop. It lasted until we got the word we were packing it in and moving. At least our compamy was moving. I kinda lost track of the 552nd, the company that shared our little piece of the RVN. Guess that's why they gave me a toolbox, that could be replaced if I lost it, not so a whole maintenance company. The move was a big pain in the butt, and our new area was in Charang Valley in a compound that seemed as big as a small town. This part of my tour is a little hazy because we were busy setting up shop as the 149th Maint Co and I didn't get much of a chance to see the whole place. It also started raining about this time. I did get a chance to find out that rain, oily roads, and a 5 ton wrecker don't mix. It slid off the road and tipped on it's side against some concertina wire. I didn't think you could sneak an M88 anywhere but it got the truck back on up on the road with no one finding out.
Mike and I left the same day for QuiNhon and waited an eternity for the C130 to get unloaded and back in the sky to Cam Ranh Bay. Was there twice, once going in and once going out. They had sand. They had RATS ! Big freakin RATS ! They also had an airplane. The roar in the cabin of that plane when the wheels left the soil of South Vietnam was
deafening ! . . .