Updated: Jan 21, 2019
1969 Phu Cat Re-Visited
I don’t remember much about the Bay, just a couple things stand out in my mind after 50 years. I never understood why American forces went through Customs. I mean, on D-Day did the troops have to do custom checks, before or after hitting the beaches? International courtesy, I guess.
The nine of us, DeGuilio, Barbarise, Puls, Teagan, Bolden, Mullins, Miller, Maloney, Rejba and me, Jimmie Moore, stood in a long line, filling out forms. If we had American green-back, we exchanged it for military script. No pornography allowed in Vietnam, and it just so happen that Airman Joe had a very pornographic picture of a very naked New York hooker. “Joe, you’re crazy to give up that picture”, we all said, in unison. But the heavy hand of conformity took over common sense, and a lot of MP’s looking at us as if we where bringing a crime wave to there fare city.
Yes, Joe felt he had to give up this picture. I think we all, volunteered to transport the contraband, on our person, we would take the risk. Joe made his mind up and handed over ‘the picture’ to MP’s who barely glanced at the spread-eagle woman. I knew that was rat crap, that picture would be hanging on the latrine wall, by lights out.
There was a strange feeling of connectedness, you don’t get with Playboy or Penthouse. One of us, the nine, had real sex with a living female, and had the foresight to bring her along to the war.
Once or twice during our long year at the Cat, we would get on Joe’s case about giving up ‘the picture’. It would’ve looked nice on our K9 latrine walls, along with the Playboy’s and Penthouses on the floor. So damn Vietnam.
I spent four short days at Cam Ranh Bay, two days coming and two days going. We started our tour and ended our tours here. Those two nights we spent in temporary housing, either coming or going, it was the same: half tent half wood frame, wooden sidewalks so you could walk in your flipflops to the shower and not have to contend with sandspurs. We have sandspurs in Florida. They suck.
Next morning, we loaded aboard a C-130 for the ride north. Come to think about it, it was my first ride in a U.S Air Force aircraft. Phu Cat, here we come, ready or not. Nine new souls for the machine. Noble Canine