YOU’RE IN THE ARMY NOW, part 35. Christmas in Vietnam.

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.’

Xmas coffee royale

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.

Xmas morn 2

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.

Apc 7

The pogoes are a reference to, personnel on garrison duties. Those who didn’t go out past the wire.

Apc 2

That classic Christmas song ‘Jingle Bells,’ artfully reworded to suit the occasion.

Apc 1

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.

surfer girl

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.

Xmas dinner 6

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!

page
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.
Cheers
Laurie.
Next week:  Ungifting and Never mind the V.C. we’re being attacked by Pthirus pubis.

18 thoughts on “YOU’RE IN THE ARMY NOW, part 35. Christmas in Vietnam.

  1. caronallan

    I was going to make a comment about the pants too – but decided you’d suffered enough! As always a fascinating insight! Good to hear about the third novel. Have a great Christmas & New Year.

    Like

    Reply
  2. nataliescarberry

    I didn’t realize you had been feeling poorly, Laurie. I’m so sorry and I’m glad to hear that you are feeling better and felt good enough to get outside and do some work. A third novel, you say?! I’m so impressed. Enjoyed the post as usual and glimpse of the very handsome guy in the pink pants! I wish you a Merry Christmas and prosperous new year as well. I’m looking forward to reading your posts and deepening our friendship. Blessings, Natalie🙂

    Like

    Reply
    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      I’ve had an ongoing lung problem for the past couple of years. I’m on top of it now though. It hasn’t stopped me writing, there’s not a lot of effort needed in tapping at a keyboard.🙂 Ah, those pants, you certainly couldn’t miss me walking through the markets let me tell you. Thanks Natalie I hope your Christmas and New year brings you much joy.
      Laurie.

      Like

      Reply
  3. Pagadan

    I enjoyed your Chritmas post, and I’m glad it was so calm and bright. (Must be the refection off those pink pants. Just kidding. My father had pink pants, and I still think he looked cool.) I’m glad you’re working outside again! We’ve got grass and weeds here too. It’s been mostly a warm winter; I’m looking forward to another cold front. Some rain would be welcome too.

    Like

    Reply
    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Thanks Joy, those pants were a blast. Yes it’s good to get up and about. I hope you get your cold front through soon, and buckets of rain. Then you don’t feel so bad eating when it’s cold.🙂

      Like

      Reply
  4. hitandrun1964

    Working in the yard????? Sure, my yard is covered in snow. Sigh. So you had a pretty nice Christmas in Nam, from the looks of it:) Nice pictures:) Looking forward to next installment:) Glad you feel better and that you are outside. Happy, happy on you for the holidays.

    Like

    Reply
    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      It’s summer at its best down under Gigi. The grass is growing, along with the weeds. Yes my Xmas in Vietnam was good, I couldn’t complain at all, except for the sand in my swimmers.🙂. Try to keep warm Gigi and all the very best for Xmas.
      Laurie. xx

      Like

      Reply
  5. Raani York

    Dear Laurie,
    This seems to have been nice and relaxing compared to other posts you had published from the war. Thanks for the pictures, some of them made me smile.
    And of course, you looked hot in your pink pants and dress shirt, Mr. Handsome!!🙂
    Merry Christmas!!🙂

    Like

    Reply
    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Mr Handsome! You really are my very best friend Raani.🙂
      I thought a little Xmas cheer wouldn’t go astray and of course it was celebrated as only men in uniform can do it. Now those pink pants were my favourite jeans. I know they look unfashionable now though. And a Merry Christmas to you Raani.

      Like

      Reply

Tell me what you think.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s