Ain’t Released Me Yet
Memoirs of a REMF
Copyright© 2016 by Robert B. Martin, IV
All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without express written permission from the copyright owner, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review or scholarly journal. I have attempted to recreate events, locales, and conversations from my memories of them.
When it Rains, it Pours
“I always like walking in the rain, so no one can see me crying.”........Charles Chaplin
September was relatively quiet at Camp Eagle. The monsoon season had begun and this tended to slow things down a bit. We received twenty-four inches of rain in September, beating the previous record of nineteen point seven inches for the most September rainfall in our area of Vietnam.
The 101st Airborne Division closed down all of its fire support bases in the A Shau Valley during the monsoon season. Everything was transported back to Camp Eagle or other base camps. They would return to the firebases after the monsoon season ended.
Vietnam was like Morton’s salt; when it rained it poured. During the monsoon season, the steady rain on the tin roofs was very loud. Shouting was necessary in order for someone across the room to hear you. At night you fell asleep in spite of the noise. After a while, you became accustomed to the din and it became more of a background noise.
In addition to the monsoons beginning in September, the leader of North Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh (“Uncle Ho”) died. We thought surely the war would be over soon. It wasn’t.
We received more incoming rounds in October along with the rain. In a letter home, I mentioned we were hit with five rounds of unknown caliber on October 7, 1969, without any injuries and only minor damage.
On October 10, 1969, it rained almost twenty-two inches in only a twenty-four-hour period, which was another record for recorded rainfall in Vietnam. Over a four- or five-day period, which included October 10, 1969, we were inundated with over forty inches of rain.
It was impossible to stay dry during the monsoon months. It would remain cold and wet until February or March. The rain was accompanied by heavy winds, which tore sheets of tin from the roofs of buildings that had no sand bags holding them down.
As far as flooding, our battalion area was fortunate to be located on the top of a hill. Units that were situated at the base of the hill were almost washed away. A soldier drowned when the truck he was driving slipped from a muddy road into a ditch. A total of more than sixty-two inches of rain fell on Camp Eagle during the month of October 1969.
Continued in Chapter 30, The Ups and Downs of the Job…