Tuesday, March 21, 2023

My father's first tour in Viet Nam

 He was the supply officer for a Marine battalion.  And dad had a problem.  He could requisition supplies all he wanted, but almost every time he did, the requisition wouldn't go through.

Prior to being sent to Nam, Dad had been stationed in Okinawa, doing logistics type things at the logistical hub at that base.  So Dad knew where all the supplies came from.  Hell, he'd been the one pushing them out the door for a couple of years.  He knew the supply chain from top to bottom.  He knew what was supposed to be happening.  He just didn't know where in the supply chain things got broken.

So here he was, a junior officer, with his CO giving him the stink-eye every time another requisition went unfilled and Marines went without the supplies they were begging for.  And that didn't sit well with my father.  Dad wanted shit done, and done right, and done right now.  So dad gets a stack of requisition forms.  He fills out all the data on them except for two parts:  the actual material requested, and the amount.  He goes to his CO.  "Sir, I need you to sign these."  The CO takes the forms, flips through them, and looks up at my dad.  "You know there's nothing in the amount block, don't you?"

Dad just smiles.  "Don't worry Sir, there will be."  And the CO, knowing that Dad was a competent Marine who was about to go do some Marine shit, signs off on the forms.

Dad then catches a flight to Okinawa.

He had pretty much decided that where ever the fuck-up was in the supply chain, it was between the warehouse in Okinawa and his unit, and he decided to simply skip all the steps in-between those two points.  He gets off the plane, and catches  cab to the base.  He walks his happy ass up to the warehouse that he had spent two years working in, and just looks.

It's fucking stuffed.  

Hell, it's OVER-stuffed.  He told me there were pallets and crates sitting outside the warehouse because they didn't have any room inside.  There was boxes of shit everywhere.  Dad had to walk sideways through the stacks of materiel that was sitting around.  So he grabs his forms, and starts looking for what he wants.  Hey, canteens!  They needed canteens!  And here's an entire block of boxes full of canteens just sitting here!  He he takes one form, writes "Canteens, individual, metallic, 1 case" etc etc etc.  If you've ever dealt with military logistics you know that it's never just a simple description.  When I worked logistics I used to refer to myself as "Sergeant Dave, Military type, tan in color, one each."  Dad says he took the whole damn stack of canteens.  He couldn't remember the number.

He then worked his way into the warehouse, where he shook hands with people he knew, introduced himself to people he didn't know, explained what was going on back in country, and waved his stack of requisition forms under their noses.  And then, as he put it, he went on a shopping spree that would have made my mom turn green with envy.

He was the only passenger on the C-130 back to Nam, because his supplies took up the entire damn plane.  The warehouse had to help coordinate the trip back, as the flight officers were not quite sure who the hell he was or why he was showing up with case lots of gear.

Back in Nam, it took five deuce and a half trucks to carry it all.  He showed up at HQ, and the CO had everyone on alert because nobody was expecting a convoy to show up and they thought it was a surprise inspection from higher HQ.  The first truck pulls up to the log tent, dad hops out, hands all the completed paperwork to his CO and goes about stuffing his supply area with all the gear.  He made one or two trips back to Okinawa during his time there, and his CO always signed the paperwork without question.

Anyways, that's just one story about my dad.


Anonymous said...

I was the scrounger for #2 fireroom on an older tin can.
We always had coffee and food and gedunk.
Not on the same scale of course but field expedience crosses the different services.
I've heard tell of a few folks taking it to extremes but who am I to judge?


Bigus Macus said...

Great story about your Dad, thanks for sharing.

Dakota Viking said...

ALWAYS... protect your scrounge. We could be out in the Indian Ocean, and I drop a hint to my scrounge that we needed ((whatever)), within a couple days said ((thing)) would be laying on my rack. I went to bat for that guy more times than was healthy.