I remember this fire base well because I helped build it. Kansas, Arty, myself and others filled a lot of sandbags! I was fed up. Kansas ans I built our “hootch”, or started to, three different times. Echo Co’s First Sgt. had us move the first one because it was on the “wrong side of the road”. Too close to the cooks and too far from the rest of Echo Co.
So we started building a new one, dragging our dirt filled mortar shell boxes and sandbags across the road. Once we had a good start and putting our culvert on top to finish, the Battalion SMG came walking down the road and said we needed to tear it down and “dress it right” with the other hootches. Well, you don’t argue with a Sergeant Major. I couldn’t imagine any good reason for doing so-rebuilding our shelter like that-other than it would give enemy gunners consistent targets if they wanted to “walk” some mortar rounds across the LZ. We torn it down and did it again.
That’s when I volunteered for Echo Co’s Recon platoon.
This is what I remember so well…Actuallly I remember very little of the patrol, so comment if you remember something else. Recon had walked off Ann on a relatively short patrol and came back in a few days later ( as I recall ).
This I do remember: There was no shortage of beer for the guys in Echo Recon. That night we were sitting on one of the mortar bunkers with everyone drinking and talking. We were listening to the Armed Forces Radio Network which played a lot of good music. Just then, they played a song by the Beatles. Arty jumped up and begged everyone to be quiet! The Beatles! Stop talking! The Beatles! I also tried to get everyone to quiet down, but quickly gave up. There was no way you guys were going to shut up. Poor Arty was beside himself…Later we moved over to Ace’s hooch while he played a song he had written about Recon.
(I’m sure there was a war on somewhere, but not on FSB Ann. Not that night.)
It had a continuing refrain that went, “Recon, recon , recon, etc.” We were all singing along with Ace. It was getting late by then and an officer came out of the nearby TOC (Tactical Operations Center) & told us to shut the fuck up! We were keeping the Colonel awake. We wandered off in the direction of the company hootches when Fred Corn came by on a captured bicycle, drunk as could be, wearing a helmet with no liner. He careened down the road and piled into the mess tent making a terrible clatter and racket as he knocked pots and pans flying. We pulled him out of there and tried to put things right.
I was laughing so hard, I had to lie down.
We were awakened early and told to get ready to move out. I think everyone on Ann was determined to get us back on patrol where we couldn’t cause so much trouble. Yes, I thought, I volunteered for this.