Why I was never the S2!!
When I started as Webmaster of the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry's website,
several people sent me various photographs to post. The main problem was that very little
was written on each photo, if anything, and so I had a hard time working out what each one
was, especially since I joined the battalion in May 1969 and most of the photos pre-dated
She Doeth Protest Too Much!!
Tired of placing daisies in the gun barrels of California Army National Guardsmen
surrounding the Santa Barbara Bank of America during a riot in 1970, a young flower child
wandered off, hitched a ride in a VW Combi and somehow ended up some hours later at LAX.
Still on a buzz from her socially-relevant activities and various things she'd ingested,
she spotted a returning soldier fresh from Vietnam duty with the 1st Battalion
(Mechanized), 50th Infantry. Thinking she might have some fun with a one-to-one protest,
she walked over, flopped out a boob and asked him when the last time he had had sex was.
Protocol versus Procedure!
A grunt from the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry was assigned to duty with
SEATO (Southeast Asia Treaty Organization) in Bangkok after leaving Vietnam, where he
worked with soldiers from Allied nations, as well as U.S Marines, Air Force and Navy
personnel. One day he was standing at the urinal with a stiff-upper-lip British officer.
Microswift Word's Latest Help Files!
Stress Relief 101!
Just in case you've had a rough day, here's a stress management technique recommended in all the latest psychological texts. Visualization and meditation go hand in hand, and here's a method that combines the best of both. The funny thing is that it really works...
1. Get comfortable, close your eyes, and take three deep breaths. Concentrate on breathing out the worries of the day.
2. Now picture yourself near a stream.
3. Birds are softly chirping in the cool mountain air.
4. No one but you knows your secret place.
5. You are in total seclusion from the hectic place called, "the world."
6. The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a cascade of serenity.
7. The water is crystal clear.
8. You can easily make out the face of the person you're holding underwater.
Stress Relief 102!
An adult education class I teach was discussing a case study on "Anger," when
the topic of stress came up. One lady volunteered that she used meditation and deep
breathing and briefly discussed their benefits. The student who was facilitating the case
study then handed out a paper he'd downloaded from the internet on deep breathing to
overcome anger and stress. The discussion continued among the students about the benefits
of deep breathing. As the discussion tapered off when all were out of breath, their eyes
turned to me to wrap up the case study and move to the next topic.
I won't name names, but at the 2003 Reunion of the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th
Infantry some of our comrades showed that, like the Pony Express, they let nothing -
neither rain nor sleet nor snow nor hail - stand in the way of driving their balls off.
Another avid golfer, Fred, newly divorced, decided to book a cruise on a cruise ship with
a golf driving range to work off his grief. He met a very nice woman named Ginger, who
reciprocated his interest!
Official Definition of "Hooah"!
Since "hooah" became Army lingo somewhat after our time in Nam, I thought it
advisable to include the definition here for anyone interested.
His despairing sergeant tried everything he could think of to identify and correct Private Smith's errors, to no avail. One day, despondent after firing several magazines without a single score, Smith told the sergeant , "I think I'll just go and shoot myself."
"Better take lots of extra rounds," the sergeant replied.
Computer tips for Vietnam Veterans!
If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port, and the bus is interrupted at a very last resort, and the access of the memory makes your floppy disk abort, then the socket packet pocket has an error to report. If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash, and the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash, and your data is corrupted cause the index doesn't hash, then your situation's hopeless and your system's gonna crash!
If the label on the cable on the table at your house, says the network is connected to the button on your mouse, but your packets want to tunnel to another protocol, that's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall. And your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss, so your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse; then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang, 'cuz sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang.
When I became the D Company CO at LZ Uplift, I was invited by the First Sergeant to share a cold one at an unofficial bar in one of the hootches. Behind a bar built out of 2x4s and plywood was a small fridge packed with ice cold beer. The two brands were Budweiser and Carling Black Label. Any concerns about fraternization were swept away when I spotted the sign on the refrigerator, "Beer, 50¢ per can. Officers $1 (includes 50¢ Sir Charge)!"
Why the Army doesn't recognize civilian skills!!!
A telphone repair man named Fred Starke was drafted during the Vietnam War and sent to
Fort Hood, Texas to train with the 1st Battalion, 50th Infantry. As part of the training,
his company went to the rifle range to get ready for rifle qualification with the M-16.
Fred fired a full magazine single-shot at the target and missed with every shot! The Range
NCO noticed this result and wanted Fred to fire another magazine so that he could watch
and work out Private Starke's problem in technique.
"I don't know why I can't hit the target, Sarge," replied the puzzled recruit, "but I'll bet that I can figure it out. I was a telephone repair man back in the World." Fred checked his rifle and carefully made sure that it was unloaded. He deftly field stripped it, examined each assembly, reassembled it in seconds, and checked it once again, He then pointed the rifle downrange, inserted a third magazine, placed his left little finger in front of the muzzle, pulled the trigger, and blew the end of his finger off!
"Well," Fred said with his teeth chenched, "the bullets are leaving barrel fine. The trouble must be on the other end!"
U.S. Army officer rank insignia made easy!!!
One day at LZ Uplift when things were a bit slow in the Company Office, a new Second
Lieutenant awaiting assignment to the field asked the crusty old First Sergeant if he knew
about the origin of the commissioned officer's rank insignia.
Practice makes perfect!!!
At Fort Benning with the 1st Battalion, 50th Infantry, Charlie Company's practice trip to the rifle range had been cancelled for the second time in a row, but the physical training test was still on as planned. One college-educated recruit mused, "Does it bother anyone else that the Army doesn't seem to care how well we can shoot, but they are extremely interested in how fast we can run?"
Put yourself in their boots!!!
A young Army Ranger who'd just graduated from the Jungle Phase at Eglin Air Force Base
in Florida wanted a pair of genuine alligator jump boots in the worst way, but was very
reluctant to pay the high prices the shops in Fort Walton Beach were asking. After
becoming very frustrated with the "no haggle" attitude of one of the
shopkeepers, the Ranger shouted, "Maybe I'll just go out and get my own gator so I
can get me a pair of jump boots made for a fair price!"
Now that's service!!!
A PFC was seated next to a Chaplain on the Freedom Bird out of Vietnam when the
stewardess came by to take drink orders. The PFC asked for a whiskey and soda and the
stewardess mixed it and placed it before him. She then asked the chaplain if he would also
like a drink.
Recall for Iraq!
I've been reading that the Army is starting to have problems retaining troops due to the extended service in Iraq and Afghanistan because President Clinton ran the Army down from 18 divisions to 10. While some see this as a problem, I see it as a potential job opportunity, and I sent a letter to President Bush offering my services. Just in case the Commander-In-Chief decides to recall me to active duty, I've been trying on my old uniforms. I want to be ready. So far I've gotten the socks and tie to fit.
I enjoyed the film "Forrest Gump" immensely, but there's one scene that struck a jarring note based on my military experience in the 1st of the 50th in Nam. It's where Tom Hanks says that "My mother told me that life is like a box of chocolates." Any grunt knows that life is more like a jar of jalapenos. What you do today, might burn your butt tomorrow!
A retiring senior NCO who had served with the 1st of the 50th in Vietnam as a youngster
was filling a prescription at the medical center pharmacy that a doctor had given him at
his exit physical. He adjusted his trifocals and squinted at the label on the bottle, read
it carefully, and then screamed, dropping the bottle of pills and hopping around shrieking
for a minute. Catching his breath, he scooped up the bottle and ran to the doctor's
office. He shouldered the door open, waking the dozing physician, and whispered in his
best parade ground voice, "Is it true," he asked the world, "that the
medication you prescribed has to be taken for the rest of my life?"
Building Morale the Army Way!
The Army hasn't changed all that much in certain ways from our days in Nam. For
example, commanders still use Command Indicators to determine whether or not unit
leadership is good and morale is high. There's an assumption that good units don't have a
high percentage of AWOLs or Article 15s. One that always amused me was the participation
rate in SGLI (Serviceman's Group Life Insurance), which seemed hard to push up to 100%.
One young Specialist 4th Class assigned to the 1/50th Infantry's Induction Center at Fort
Benning advised new recruits about their government benefits, including SGLI. It wasn't
long before his Company Commander noticed that the Battalion and Brigade COs were always
smiling at him, and he soon discovered that he had a perfect 100% SGLI signup rate, the
best in the brigade. Rather than ask SP4 Jones about this, the Captain stood in the back
of the room one day and listened to Jones' sales pitch.
The Army Needs YOU! Right NOW!
A kindergarten class had a "Show and Tell" homework assignment to find
something exciting and relate it to the class the next day. When the time came to present
what they'd found, the first little boy walked up and showed a frog. The teacher wasn't
amused. Then a little girl showed up with a pan of burnt brownies, and the teacher started
getting a migraine. So she called on Little Shane. Shane walked up to the blackboard in
the front of the classroom, picked up a piece of chalk, made a small white dot on the
blackboard, carefully put the chalk in the tray, and sat back down.
FM 101-5, Staff Organization and Operations
The Battalion XO complained at a battalion staff meeting that he wasn't getting the
cooperation and respect that his rank and position deserved. He moaned, "I am the
second in command of this battalion and in the absence of the commander, I'm the boss!
Well, I'm your boss now anyway; it's my job to synchronize your operations vertically,
horizontally, chronologically, and geographically. You should see me as your chief of
staff!" After musing about the meeting later that morning, he decided to reinforce
the message and got the R&U (Repair & Utilities) NCO to make him a small sign that
read "I'm the Boss!" and affix it to his office door.
Knowing Can Be a Terrible Thing!
A Bravo Company grunt was ambling around at LZ Uplift when he spotted a buddy in the
Ground Surveillance Radar Section checking out his AN/PPS-5 radar set. Being naturally
inquisitive, as grunts are wont to be, he asked: "Jim, how does a radar work
New Research on Website Spelling!
Aoccdrnig to recnet rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae.
The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm.
Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
Fcuknig amzanig huh?
After leaving the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry in Vietnam, I was assigned
to the Infantry School at Fort Benning. I also started taking pilot training at Fort
Benning's primary force projection platform, otherwise knows as Lawson Army Airfield. When
I advanced in training to my first night flight, I looked down into the darkness at one
point and asked my instructor what we would do if the engine failed.
We Was Sergeants!!
Two good 'ol boys from the hills, Privates Billy Ray and Bobby Jay, were on a detail
from LZ Uplift to Phu Cat Air Base and had a bit of time on their hands to look around.
Billy Ray says, "Hey, Bobby Jay, there's the NCO Club. Le's you and me get a
Quote of the Decade!
"Never be afraid to tell the world who you are." Anonymous
The End is Near!
The Chaplain and his Assistant decided to take a break from the nigh impossible task of
saving the troops of the 1st Battalion (Mechanized) 50th Infantry and found a good fishing
spot on the side of the road. They thoughtfully made a sign saying, "The End is Near!
Turn yourself around now before it's too late!" and showed it to each passing
Be a Good Sport!
During the Vietnam War, the United Services Organization (USO) ably assisted by the Red
Cross Volunteers (Donut Dollies) conducted a survey of the sports that service persons
preferred to participate in. Their findings included the following:
No Can Do!
An NCO who'd served in the 15th Infantry Regiment ("Can Do") in Germany after
being with the 50th Infantry in Nam was in the States driving a car that was weaving all
over the highway. A police officer pulled him over, walked up to the driver's window and
said,"Sir, your vehicle was moving in an erratic manner. I need you to blow into
this breathalyzer tube."
A Memorial Lesson!
One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Shane staring up at a large plaque that
hung in the foyer of the church. It was covered with names, and small American flags were
mounted on either side of it. The seven year old had been staring at the plaque for some
time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside the little boy, and said quietly, "Good
Contributed by Jim Hobbs.
Discourse on the Meaning of Work!
SFC Hobbs, Chief Quimby and CPT Sarlin were outside the S4 tent talking about sex. The
question being debated was, "How much of sex is work and how much is pleasure?"
Contributed by Jim Hobbs.
Keeping Fit and Healthy!
As we Vietnam Veterans reach age 50 or so, keeping fit and healthy becomes harder and
harder. I do a stiff gym workout three times a week (two power sessions and one
cardio-session), swim 2.5 kilometers three times a week, and go Latin dancing with my wife
once a week, We also try to walk our two dogs daily for a half hour.
This guy went into the bar Friday night and ordered three beers, in fact every Friday
night he went into the bar and ordered three beers all at once, and drank them all by
himself one after the other, then paid and left. Three beers every Friday night. Not two!
Never four! Always three! The bartender thought he'd seen people with a drinking habit
before, but he simply couldn't figure this one out. Without fail this guy came in,
politely had his three beers, never appeared the worse for wear, and then left.
Better Raw Material!
The incoming and outgoing B Company first sergeants were having a quiet drink in the NCO Club while discussing the strengths and weaknesses of various soldiers in the unit. The old E-8 took a long, reflective sip of beer, sighed, and then imparted some of the wisdom gleaned from his years in the saddle, "Damn, it's too bad that all the troops can't be married!"
With a puzzled look, the incoming first sergeant asked: "Why do you prefer married soldiers, Top?"
"Well, married men are used to following orders and being yelled at."
Like many Vietnam Veterans, I have a little trouble with anger management at times. For
example, I went into a 7-11 the other day, and I was in there for only about 5 minutes.
When I came out there was a meter maid writing a parking ticket for an expired meter. So I
went up to him and said, "Come on, buddy, how about giving a guy a break?" He
ignored me and continued writing the ticket.
We're Looking for a Few Good Signs!
When my Vietnam tour came to an end, I received orders to the Infantry Officers
Advanced Course at the Infantry College of Knowledge, Fort Benning, Georgia. As one of a
half dozen Armor Officers in the class of over 200, we'd been told that we were sent to
add a bit of class and to raise the IQ to room temperature (ºF). I'd be remiss, though,
if I didn't mention that I actually learned a lot in this excellent and professional
program, including the value of honesty.
We were seated in alphabetical order, and an Infantry captain who sat near me was often late because he had a complicated financial scam going on the side and spent all his breaks on the phone transferring funds around. It was no different on this particular day except that the instructor, a lieutenant colonel, decided to make a tactical example of his tardiness as an introduction to the topic, "Offensive Operations".
Thinking that as usual he'd slip unnoticed into his seat in one of the back rows where we S-Z's were consigned, Cal was chagrined to hear over the loud public address system, "Thanks for joining us, Captain. Why are you late?"
Snapping to attention, he answered in a classic military manner, "Class started before I got here, Sir."
After a moment of stunned silence, the colonel wisely decided to forgo the tactical example and decided to start his lecture in a more conventional way.
Two soldiers met in Brisbane, Australia on R&R during the Vietnam War and were
exchanging their experiences over a XXXX beer or three. "My unit is the best unit in
Vietnam", said one soldier. "We have competent, experienced officers and humane,
understanding NCOs, our equipment and weapons are top flight, our commo equipment is all
brand new and works perfectly in the jungle, we were the first unit to get chromium
barrels for our M16s, we have all the chopper support we need, and everybody top to bottom
is gung ho and motivated! Man, we kick butt and take names! You couldn't ask to be in a
"Gee, that sounds great. I wish I could say the same about mine," said the other.
"You could if you lied as well as I do."
On his first night in the field, the green Platoon Leader decided it was time to have a
deep and meaningful philosophical discussion with his Platoon Sergeant about how he wanted
to run the platoon from then on. Calling the grizzled sergeant over, he struck a
conversational tone, "Do you mind if we talk? I believe that we'll start working
together a lot faster if we feel free to chat with each other openly, and I have a lot of
great ideas how we can improve the platoon."
The sergeant, who had not yet completed his check of the platoon perimeter when he was interrupted and called over for the chat, sighed, settled down on the ground and asked, "What would you like to discuss, sir?"
Hardly believing his luck at drawing a sergeant actually willing to listen, the new second lieutenant decided to cut to the chase and answered, "Oh, I don't know; how about jungle patrol tactics?"
The sergeant replied, "Yessir, that could make for some pretty interesting conversation. But may I ask you a question first? A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same vegetation, yet the deer excretes pellets; the cow big patties; and the horse round clumps of chewed grass. Why is that, sir?"
The LT slowly wiped his eyeglasses as he pondered this weighty question, then a blank look crossed his face and he shrugged, "I don't know, sergeant."
"Oh? Well look, lieutenant, do you really think you're qualified to tell us how to patrol in the jungle when you don't know shit, sir?"
A draft dodger named Murphy applied for a technician position at an engineering firm in
San Francisco. A Vietnam Veteran who'd served in combat with the 1st Battalion, 50th
Infantry applied for the same job and both applicants, having the same qualifications,
were asked to take a test by the HR manager.
Upon completion of the test both men had only missed one of the questions. The manager went to Murphy and said, "Thank you for your interest, but we've decided to give the Williams the job."
"And why would you do that?" snarled Murphy. "We both got nine questions correct. I was working getting solid experience while he was pissing around in Nam bludging off Uncle Sam, so I should get the job!"
"We have made our decision not on the correct answers, but on the question you missed."
"And just how would one incorrect answer be better than the other?"
"Simple," replied the manager. "On question # 5, he put down, 'I don't know.' You wrote, 'Neither do I."
Contributed by Jim Hobbs.
During the Vietnam War, a man called Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii and said,
"Tripler Army Medical Center? Hello, I'd like to talk with the person who gives the
information regarding your patients from Vietnam. But, I don't want to know if the patient
is better, or doing like expected, or worse. I want to know all the information from top
to bottom, from Alpha to Zulu!"
The voice on the other end of the line said, "Would you hold the line please, that's a very unusual request." Then a very authoritative voice came on and said, "Are you the gentleman who is calling about one of our patients?" He said, "Yes, indeed. I'd like to know the information about Sergeant Ralph Finkel from the 1st Battalion 50th Infantry, in Room 302."
The doctor said, "Finkel, Finkel. Let me see. Farber, Feinberg, Finagle, Finkel. Oh, yes. Finkel is doing very well. In fact, he's had two full meals, his blood pressure is fine, the surgery was successful, his wounds are healing nicely, his blood work just came back as normal, he's going to be taken off the heart monitor in a couple of hours and if he continues this way, he should be released in one week."
The man said, "Thank God! That's wonderful! Oh, thank God! His test came back normal, he's getting off the heart machine in a couple of hours you say. Oh! That's fantastic! And he is due to be released in one week! I'm so happy to hear that! That's wonderful news!'"
The doctor was very pleased and said, "From your enthusiasm, I take it you must be a close family member or a very close friend!"
The caller replied, "What close family or friend? I'm Ralph Finkel! My friggin' doctor tells me nothing!"
Contributed by Jim Hobbs.
1945 - NCO's had a typewriter on their desks for doing daily reports.
2000 - Everyone has an Internet access computer, and they wonder why no work is getting done.
1945 - We painted pictures of girls on airplanes to remind us of home.
2000 - Do it now and see what happens.
1945 - If you got drunk off duty your buddies would take you back to the barracks to sleep it off.
2000 - If you get drunk off duty they slap you in rehab and ruin your career.
1945 - You were taught to aim at your enemy and shoot him.
2000 - You spray 500 bullets into the brush, don't hit anything, and retreat because you're out of ammo.
1945 - Canteens were made of steel, and you could heat coffee, tea or hot chocolate in them.
2000 - Canteens are made of plastic, they melt if you try to heat anything in them, and they always taste like plastic.
1945 - Officers were professional soldiers first and rank commanded respect.
2000 - Officers are politicians first and hope that troops accord them respect and consider their lawful requests.
1945 - They collected enemy intelligence and analyzed it.
2000 - They collect your pee and analyze it.
1945 - If you didn't act right, the First Sergeant put you on extra duty or shit details until you straightened up.
2000 - If you don't act right, they start a paper trail that follows you forever.
1945 - Medals were awarded to heroes who saved lives at the risk of their own.
2000 - Medals are awarded to (1) people who work at headquarters and (2) everyone who participates.
1945 - You slept in barracks like a soldier.
2000 - You sleep in a dormitory like a college kid.
1945 - You ate in a mess hall, which was free, and you could have all the food you wanted.
2000 - You eat in a dining facility, every slice of bread or pad of butter costs, and you better not take too much.
1945 - The USA was the most powerful nation on earth, and we defeated powerful countries like Germany and Japan.
2000 - The USA is the most powerful nation on earth, but politicians have chickened out in places like Iran, Somalia and Yugoslavia.
1945 - If you wanted to relax, you went to the rec center, played pool, smoked and drank beer.
2000 - You go to the community center and you can play in the pool as long as you don't frolic noisily or unsafely.
1945 - If you wanted beer and conversation you went to the EM Club, NCO Mess or Officer's Club.
2000 - The beer will cost you $2.75, membership is forced, and someone is watching how much you drink.
1945 - The Exchange had real bargains for soldiers who didn't make much money.
2000 - You can get better and cheaper merchandise at Wal-Mart and K-Mart.
1945 - Mouth off to a sergeant and you got pounded.
2000 - Do it now and get handed a "time-out" card.
1945 - We called the enemy names like "Krauts" and "Japs" and "gooks" because we didn't like them.
2000 - We call the enemy the "opposing force" or "aggressor" because we don't want to offend them.
1945 - Victory was declared when the enemy was defeated and all his things were broken.
2000 - Victory is declared when the enemy says he is sorry or the polls suggest we should leave.
1945 - A commander would put his butt on the line to protect his people.
2000 - A commander will put his people on the line to protect his butt.
1945 - Wars were planned and run by generals with lots of experience.
2000 - Wars are planned and run by politicians with little relevant experience.
1945 - All you could think about was getting out and becoming a civilian again.
2000 - All you can think about is getting out and becoming a civilian again.
A 1/50th grunt came up on airborne grunt in LZ Uplift one day. The airborne trooper was
playing cards with his dog. The 1st 50th man watched for awhile somewhat amazed, this dog
was really playing cards. Actually he was a little more surprised by the fact that a 503rd
Airborne trooper was smart enough to play cards. But to be polite he commented, "Hey,
that's a pretty smart dog you have." The Airborne trooper looked up and said,
"Oh, I don't know. I've beat him three out of five hands."
Contributed by John Smerdon.
Bubba Boudreaux was drafted by the Army and reported to the 1st Battalion, 50th
Infantry at Fort Benning. On the first day as an enlisted man he was given a comb. The
following day the Army barber sheared all of his hair off. On the third day the Army gave
him a toothbrush. The next day the Army dentist yanked several of his teeth out. On the
fifth day he was given a jock strap. That afternoon, Bubba disappeared. The Army is still
looking for him....
Contributed by Jim Hobbs.
Webmaster's Note: The Associated Press recently revealed the worlds
funniest joke according to the 100,000 people who voted in their poll, www.Laughlab.co.uk. It went something like this:
One day in 1969 a platoon of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry was pulling security on Whiskey Mountain following an attack on the Signals guys, and SP4 Sherlock Holmes decided to pitch a tent under the stars with PVT Watson, a new guy he was watching out for. Out came the shelter halves, and the tent was quickly erected. During the night, Holmes awoke his apprentice and says, "Watson, look up at the stars and tell me what you deduce."
Watson shakes the sleep out of his eyes, looks around and says, "I see millions of stars. Astronomically, that tells me that there are million of galaxies and potentially billions of planets, so therefore its quite likely there are some planets like Earth, and if there are even a few planets like Earth out there, there might also be life. Theologically this reminds me that God is great and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, the clarity of the sky suggests that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?"
"It's simple, Watson," Holmes replies, "Somebody stole our friggin' tent!"
Webmaster's Note: There are few relationships closer a man and his dog, and
this was especially true in combat in Vietnam. We would often have Dog Handling teams
working with us, and the bond between dog and handler in combat was remarkable, as
exemplified by James Allen Johnson (Panel 21W, Row 042) and his dog Kelly of the 39th
Scout Dog Platoon, killed together on 1 July 1969 while on patrol with 2/B/1-503 under
OPCON of 1st Bn (M), 50th Infantry at BP998793 in Binh Dinh Province.
Working on an extended operation in the mountains east of Phan Thiet with dog handling teams, Charlie Company troopers were amused to see the dogs alert everytime the Vietnamese National Police working with us came at all close. It seems that the dogs weren't trained to discriminate between "good" and "bad" Vietnamese. Since the dog teams were bunking with the Company CP, coordination with the White Mice had to be done in their area, Once, though, the Vietnamese dai-ui (captain) came over to have a chat, and one of the dogs, a huge German Shepherd, didn't alert quite as quickly as his handler expected. The concerned handler checked him out, and noticed that his eyes seemed to be slightly crossed. We had a chopper resupply planned that day, so a vet came out to examine the dog in the field to see if the team should be pulled or could continue.
Leading his dog to the vet, the handler explained, "My dog seems to be a bit cross-eyed, is there anything you can do for him?"
"Well," said the vet, "let's have a look at him." So he picked the dog up and examined his eyes, then checked his teeth. Finally, after a pause, he said, "I'm going to have to put him down."
The anguished handler cried out, "What? Just because he's cross-eyed?"
"No", groaned the Vet, "because he's really heavy."
Three new 11B10 grunts reported to the battalion Adjutant. After reporting in, the S1
assigned them all to Charlie Company whose First Sergeant was at the Battalion CP asking
for more men. Taking the new men to the Charlie Company Orderly Room, Top told them he was
looking to replace the Company Clerk who was a one-digit midget. He called out the Clerk,
a Sergeant E5, and told him to see if any of the three could replace him. The sergeant
told the three to wait on a bench outside the hooch, and then called them in one at a time
for a test.
The first soldier entered the office and returned in a few minutes saying, "I'm off to be a grunt in 1st Platoon. See you guys around."
The second soldier was called in and returned a few minutes later, saying "I'm off to 3rd Platoon as a grunt. Catch you later."
The third soldier was called in by the outgoing Company Clerk, who said: "We really need a new Company Clerk and I don't have much time to train him, so I'll give you a little test. Type this," he said, handing over a set of C.I.B. Special Orders to copy and a sheet of paper, and pointing to a desk across the room that held a typewriter and an adding machine.
The man, quite reluctant to become a clerk typist, made a point of typing very slowly, and saw to it that his work contained as many errors as possible. When the Company Clerk called time a moment later, the PFC handed over his typing, but the short-timer gave the typed copy only a brief glance.
"That's fine," he said. "Report for work at 0700 tomorrow after chow."
"But aren't you going to check the test?" the newly appointed clerk asked.
"Naw," the sergeant grinned. "You passed the test when you sat down at the typewriter instead of the adding machine."
Webmaster's Note: As a Battalion S1 in the 197th Infantry Brigade at Ft. Benning after leaving Nam, I had the distinction of having a Project 100,000 soldier who couldn't spell or type or speak English well as my sole clerk typist. It was difficult to laugh at this joke because of my envy; I would have killed for someone as well qualified, even though my clerk and I got along well together.
Q: How do you know if there is a chopper pilot at your party?
A: He'll tell you.
Q: What's the difference between God and chopper pilots?
A: God doesn't think he's a chopper pilot.
Q: What's the difference between a chopper pilot and a Huey's GE T58-3 turbine engine?
A: The engine stops whining when the chopper shuts down.
After a significant amount of debate, discussion, deliberation, argument and persuasive expletive-enhanced interlocutory communication, historians have come up with a succinct phrase to describe the Clinton Era, which will henceforth be known as "Between the Bushes".
A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted
another man below. He descended a bit more and shouted, "Excuse me, can you help? I
promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago but I don't know where I am."
The man below replied, "You are in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You are between 40 and 41 degrees North Latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees West Longitude."
"You must be a warrant officer," said the balloonist.
"I am," replied the WO, "How did you know?"
"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I am still lost. Frankly, you haven't been much help so far."
The WO responded, "You must be an officer."
"I am," replied the officer, "but how did you know?"
"Well," said the WO, "you don't know where you are or where you are going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise which you have no idea how to keep and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it's my fault."
This politically correct offering was served up by John Topper, Association President.
A young draftee PFC was sent by the Repo Depot to the 1st Battalion 50th Infantry to
work in Supply. He reported for his first day of work, and the S4 chatted briefly and was
impressed with his degree from Harvard. The captain then introduced the new man to the
Supply Warrant Officer saying, "The Chief knows the Army Regulations chapter and
verse and can sing every part in the choir. A finer teacher you'll never find, his words
are pure honey. Study what he says and how he says it, young man, and you'll go far in
this man's Army."
When the captain had returned to his office to struggle with the Stars & Stripes crossword puzzle, the CWO shared his wisdom with his fired up new acolyte, "I haven't got time for this crap, sonny, there's a new shipment of cameras coming into the PX and I've got first dibs." Gesturing to the Supply Sergeant, he said, "Top, find this yoyo a bunk and keep him out of my hair."
"Welcome to Nam", the Supply Sergeant said, greeting the PFC with a warm handshake and a smile, and then handing him a broom, "Your first job will be to sweep out Supply." "But, I'm a college graduate," the PFC replied indignantly. "Oh, my goodness, I'm sorry, I didn't know that," said the Supply Sergeant. "Here, give me the broom, I'll show you how."
Thanks to Jim Hobbs, (my) Supply Sergeant extraordinaire. I don't know the captain he referred to. The Editor.
A shy recruit reported for A.I.T. at Fort Benning with the 1st Battalion, 50th
Infantry. The D.I. noticed him shuffling his feet and holding his head down, and barked at
him sharply to kindly invite him to join the D.I. for a spontaneous personal development
conference. "What's your name, soldier?" he asked the new guy.
"John" was the reply.
The sergeant yelled back, "Listen up trooper, I don't know what crap they teach you in Basic these days, but around here, I don't EVER call anyone by their first name. Now, one more time, what's your name, soldier?"
"But sarge, I told you," came the reply. "It's John."
"Once more, you malodorous piece of rat dung," the drill sergeant screamed, "What is your name, soldier?"
"Ok, if you have to know," the timid soldier replied, "Honey, it's John Honey, sarge."
"Okay John," said the sergeant, "The next thing I want to tell you is - - -."
Thanks again to Jim Hobbs.
One of the more unfortunate parts of being a company commander is the necessity to
discipline soldiers on occasion, usually for minor offences arising from boredom,
stupidity or just somebody waking up on the wrong side of their bunk. In its wisdom, the
Army provided Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment to deal with misdemeanors.
One day during stand-down in the rear area after privately briefing the CO on an indiscretion by a new rifleman, the First Sergeant sent PFC Jones in to meet his fate.
The captain recited the charges in a fatherly manner, applying the latest text-book win-win approach, and then said, "You can take your choice, Private Jones, one week's restriction or five days' pay."
"That's a no-brainer, Sir," said Jones, "I'll take the money!"
It was hot, dry and dusty work patrolling on foot through the stunted and gnarled trees
of the Le Hong Fong Forest on a salt plain along the South China Sea. The blistering sun
beat down relentlessly and there was no fresh water to be had; to make matters worse, the
S4 hadn't sent out the required water trailer before we separated from the APCs, which
would link up with the company once we were out of the woods.
It was a hot day and everybody, longing for water and rest, was impatient to finish the patrol. The maps didn't even show the Rhome plowed swathes and were pretty worthless in the featureless, flat, heavy vegetation where the only pathways were like one meter high tunnels hacked through the sharp, dry brush by Viet Minh fighting the French, and before them fighting the Chinese. And each of the trails was covered by firing lanes from the many bunkers throughout this long-time VC sanctuary
One of our Kit Carson Scouts had operated in this area in his earlier life, and an RTO kept asking him, "Say, Han, how far to go now?"
"Not far now, maybe three, four klicks."
A long hour dragged by, and the RTO tried again. "How far now?" he asked eagerly.
"Oh, maybe three klicks."
Half an hour later the CP paused for a swig of water, and the RTO asked again, "Hey, how far is it now?"
"Not far," came the answer, "maybe two, three klicks."
"Well," sighed the optimistic RTO, "at least we're holding our own!"
We CA'd into the mountains to relieve a troop of the 2/1 Cav who got into a nasty
firefight down the valley from our LZ. Our company's arrival over several hours of lifts
at extreme range from Phan Thiet caused the NVA to disengage, and so we moved up the
mountain in the fading light to establish an NDP. At one stage, we worked along a scrabble
slope along the top edge of a cliff, and one man, a Ranger, slipped and began sliding
towards and then over the precipice.
The LT yelled down, "Are you hurt?"
"Sitrep in a second," the Ranger yelled back, "I'm still falling!"
The Battalion CO went out to Amphibious Patrol Base Carol on Dam Tra O Lake to consult
with the SRAP Platoon Leader, who suggested that they take the boat out for a spin and put
a few lines in the water and see what came up. A sudden squall blew in from the South
China Sea, and when it died down both warriors were struggling helplessly in the water.
The Battalion Commander floundered his way back to the boat and pulled himself painfully in. Then he fished out the LT, using an emergency oar.
Catching his breath, the CO puffed: "Please don't say a word about this to anyone. If Brigade finds out I'll be disgraced."
"Don't worry, Sir," the SRAP Platoon Leader said. "Your secret is safe with me. I'd hate to have my men find out I can't walk on water."
The war stopped to distribute C-Rations. As two troops are cracking open the case to
switch the boxes around for the blind draw, the SP4 pleads, "Just this once, pass me
the pound cake please."
The PFC draws himself up to his full 5'6" and huffs, "No way, Jose!"
SP4, "Why not, man?"
PFC, "It's against regulations to help another soldier to dessert!"
Partly cloudy with sunny periods. Warm and generally pleasant, but the monsoon
will dump down for half an hour twice daily at 1000 and 1400 hours creating a cloying,
sticky mud that will get into all clothing and equipment and make life a living hell,
followed by enormous dark clouds, heavy thunder, severe lightning storms, hailstones the
size of hand grenades, followed by spontaneous upheavals of the earth's crust,
earthquakes, volcanos, melting of the ice cap, tsunamis in all coastal areas and mudslides
at elevation which will dry out by mid afternoon causing dust devils, sandstorms, heat
wave, rivers to run dry and a plague of locusts, followed by late evening with collapse of
the world economy and the fall of Rome.
Tomorrow: Partly cloudy with sunny periods.
Before leaving for the field after a stint on base security, the enthusiastic company commander gave a pep talk to get the troops up for the combat assault the next day. "Out there," said the captain, gesturing expansively, "is your enemy. The man who has been trying to kill you day after day, who sets traps to destroy you, and who wants to make your life a misery." At this, PFC Jones jumped to his feet and shouted, "My God; the first sergeant's working for the other side!"
Thank (i.e., blame) Louis Frisbie, not me. The Editor.
1. A Private saying, "I learned this in Basic..."
2. A Sergeant saying, "Trust me, sir..."
3. A Second Lieutenant saying, "Based upon my experience..."
4. A Captain saying, "I was just thinking..."
5. A Warrant Officer chuckling, "Watch this shit..."
To keep them out of trouble, a group of FNG second lieutenants who just arrived from jungle school were assigned to measure the height of a flagpole. So they get a map and compass to find the flagpole, and set out with ladders and a tape measure. What with ladders falling over, 2LTs falling off and the tape measure being dropped, the whole thing is a FUBAR mess. Finally, after three of the LTs are injured, a watching sergeant shakes his head, walks over, pulls the flagpole out of the ground, lays it flat, measures it from end to end, gives the measurement to one of the lieutenants, and walks away shaking his head. After the sergeant has gone, the lieutenant turns to another and laughs, "Isn't that just like a sergeant? We're looking for the height and he gives us the length!"
The first woman infantryperson recruited for the new New Modern Volunteer Army's 1st Battalion, 50th Infantry reported for duty and was told that although her quarters would be in a separate building, she was to mess with the men. Four weeks later she learned that that meant to eat her meals with them.
Roaring out of LZ Betty in response to a VC ambush of the 2/1 Cav at a bridge over the
Song Cat River (okay, creek) the squad leader does a quick tally of the gear on the APC
and, hearing the firing up ahead, calls out, "Anyone here know how to pray?"
One man staunchly pipes up. "Yes, Sarge, I know how to pray."
"Good," said the squad leader, "you pray while the rest of us put on flak vests - we're one short."
While working on a deuce and a half at LZ Uplift under the watchful eye of a grizzled
SFC, a PFC and a SP4 scraped off the cobwebs and looked behind the seat . They were
astonished to find a box wrapped in oil cloth. Thinking that it may be a spare air filter,
they unwrap it to find a grease-covered antique oil lamp. Like all good mechanics, they
wipe the grease off and, poof, a Genie appears in a puff of smoke.
The Genie says, "I usually only grant three wishes, but there're three of you so I'll give each of you a wish."
"Me first! Me first!" says the PFC. "I want to be on R&R in Phuket, Thailand, driving a speedboat with a gorgeous woman who sunbathes topless."
Poof! He's gone.
"Me next! Me next!" says the SP4. "Hell with R&R, I wannabe in Hawaii after my DEROS, relaxing on Waikiki with a professional hula dancer in one hand and a Singapore Sling in the other."
Poof! He's gone.
"You're next," the Genie says to the Maintenance NCO, "You can have anything you want."
The SFC says, "I want those guys back in the motorpool after lunch. We've got work to do."
Faced with an aircrew shortage following a most exciting autorotation training class,
the 192d Attack Helicopter Company in Phan Thiet got the 10th Combat Aviation Battalion
Commander's permission to ask troops of the 1/50(M) Infantry if they wanted to fill in as
crew members during the shortage. The 10th CAB CO decided to personally handle the
recruiting to avoid any stuff ups. As he approached the 1/50's LZ Betty basecamp, a pair
of twin brothers who looked like they had just stepped off a recruiting poster walked by
and, sensing that he expected it, gave him a precision salute. The impressed LTC stopped
them, stuck out his hand and introduced himself.
He looked at the first young man and asked, "Son, what skills can you bring to the 192d?"
The young man looks at him and says, "Sir, I'm a pilot!"
The colonel gets all excited, turns to his S1 and says, "Get him in today, get all the paper work done, give him an Air Medal with "5" device, feed him a rare steak and Chablis, and get him aloft!"
The S1 hustles the young man off. The colonel looks at the second young man and asked, "What skills can you bring to the 192d?"
The young man replies, "Sir, I chop wood!"
"Son," the colonel replies, "we don't need wood choppers in the 192d, We fly heli-choppers and our mission is to drop off grunts in unexpectedly strange places. What do you know how to do?"
"I chop wood!"
"Young man," huffs the colonel "I don't care if you're the Texas Chainsaw expert, you're not listening to me, we don't need wood choppers, this is the 20th century!"
"Well, Sir," the young man says, "you hired my brother!"
"Of course we did," says the colonel, "he's a pilot!"
The young man rolls his eyes and says, "So what! He cain't pile it 'til I chop it!"