Christmas in Vietnam. Unlike previous wars, WW1, WW2 and Korea where Christmas usually meant great privation due to cold weather, my Christmas in Vietnam was one of warmth and ease. I can’t speak for others who served in the Regiment who over the years, would have had the season of peace and goodwill out in the jungle. All I can do is talk about what it meant for me. Now that we were firmly ensconced in Vung Tau with its associated rigors and temptations, it could at least be enjoyed. There was the traditional gunfire tea where the officers and senior nco’s served the troops a morning cuppa with a dash of rum or scotch in it. *Raising an empty cup in the air from the comfort of one’s bed,* ‘Excuse me Sir, another wee drop wouldn’t go astray here.’
The gathering of the troops commenced and we hung around outside wondering where the bloody hell Santa was. As you can see by the disappointed faces he didn’t turn up. The general consensus of opinion was, that friendly fire from a Yank F4-Phatom, had brought him down over the Gulf of Tonkin. I did have a Xmas cake sent over by my Mum though, it arrived two days prior and tasted very nice.
Then after breakfast the Squadron performed a patrol of the base. Our vehicles were decked out in festive greetings and we spread good cheer amongst the masses. There seemed to be some indication then that Santa could have been a man of colour.
The pogoes are a reference to, personnel on garrison duties. Those who didn’t go out past the wire.
That classic Christmas song ‘Jingle Bells,’ artfully reworded to suit the occasion.
Once we had accomplished spreading cheer and goodwill I hit the surf. This next picture in no way represents me, my surfing prowess or even the beach at Vung Tau. It does however represent what many of us would have liked to have seen at the beach. I put it up because it looks nice. After numerous dumps in the crappy surf, I trudged back to our lines for lunch, stopping every hundred yards to empty the sand out of my swimmers.
Lunch was by way of a BBQ and we ate it in the mess hall. As you can see it was a cramped affair but who really cared, we had beer and food and nobody was mortaring the base.
Boxing Day went off well, I returned to the beach after breakfast and stayed until the afternoon. Made my way to the club and played pool. War is hell. The following day being my 20th birthday I went to town and celebrated in style. As you may notice my idea of style and that of others differs. The bloke in the middle is Zeradski (I think that was how he spelt it) then Phil. Of course there is always the obligatory photo bomb. At least he didn’t have a real bomb. For those observant enough, yes I am wearing a pinky ring, I bought it for me as a birthday present. It went with my pink pants and off white shirt. What a dresser!
The time flew up to New Years Eve: a few patrols, cleaning and packing equipment, the mundane and ordinary. I took a present with me for Suong as a new year gift and had a great night in the bar. There would be no going back to her place tonight, the Viet Cong had been threatening to bring their own idea of a good time to town. We were advised not to stay over anywhere that night. It didn’t stop the celebrations though, even if you had to be back in camp by 2300 hours. Christmas-New Year’s Eve was up until then the most interesting festive season I’d had. There have been better and worse but it will go down as the most interesting.
Note: All of the pictures except the surfer girl and my fashion shot are by persons unknown. If you recognise your work please contact me and I will tag it. Sorry about the quality of some of the pictures, see following excuses. You may notice the post is much shorter this week, stop cheering, I blame Christmas. I’ve been very busy indeed, editing my third novel, and because I’m feeling better getting out and doing some yard work. As you can see by next weeks offerings I’ll be back to normal. I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas or whatever it is that you maybe celebrating, and a Happy and Prosperous (in all ways) New year.
Next week: Ungifting and Never mind the V.C. we’re being attacked by Pthirus pubis.