On my way out of Taipei following my R & R, I was walking through the customs free area in the airport and spotted a bottle of Kessler whiskey. Hell, that’s Martin’s preferred drink! I immediately purchased a bottle and stowed it in my bag.
After arriving back at FSB Nancy, I unpacked and placed that bottle on a shelf in the bunker that Cossey and I shared with Dob. The next morning we were informed the Colonel would be inspecting the men’s quarters. When the hell did the Battalion CO ever inspect the bunkers and hootches? Well, today was the day and he took my bottle of whiskey! I didn’t think to hide it; forgetting of course, that enlisted men were forbidden to possess hard liquor.
Damn it, but interestingly enough, I would later learn when the Colonel walked outside he handed that bottle to LT (Szczebak) and told him to, “Take care of it”. LT then gave it to Lt. Cosper and told him to, “Take care of it”. Later, Cosper (He was a good ol’ boy from Alabama) would head over to Martin’s bunker with the aforementioned bottle to take care of it…
Someone came to find me that night and told me to head over to Martin’s hootch. I stopped by and was pleasantly surprised to see Martin and the fellas with that bottle. I believe I had a nip myself that night. Those ol’ boys were “lit” by then and the conversation was lively. What I remember most is the warm glow of friendship in a dirty, sandbagged bunker in Viet Nam.
I raise my glass to the grunts of the 5th Cavalry!