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Sunday, 25 March 2007

The Viet Cong Navy: Phan Thiet: Vietnam

It was perhaps between nine and ten in the evening. I was standing outside the door of our living quarters. There was a sudden explosion about twenty yards off to my right. Rather stunned I stood immobile. The occupants of our building who had been playing cards at the table all rushed past me and into our bunker about three yards away. I had been the nearest but was the last in. There were now explosions going off all over the place.
No guns, somebody had to go and get them. Decca to the rescue again. Whilst in the building I picked up my new helmet and flak jacket. I had taken to sleeping fully clothed for some weeks now. All but what I called my anti-snake boots. I had bought a pair of short Mexican riding boots whilst on holiday there. They were most practical.
Ten minutes later we heard the somewhat drunken cry of somebody calling out. 'I've got the beer, I've got the beer'. My Decca compatriot had arrived with a case of beer. One can always depend on Decca.
Some damage here and there. A GI had killed himself while jumping out of his truck to take cover. He had grabbed his M16, the trigger had caught on something, and he had filled his chest with a full magazine. I had had a similar case whilst with the Black Watch operating in the Troodos Mountains of Cyprus in the 1950's. A corporal in the Suffolk's, which had a small camp based with us, had put his hand into his tent to get his Sterling sub-machine gun. The trigger had caught in something and he had also emptied the magazine into his own body.
Evidently the Viet Cong had gone out with the local fishing fleet and had fired RPG's at us from the sea. Our lighted window had made a nice target. A pity I no longer had my Union Jack in it as I had at Van Kiep.

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