Friday, July 20, 2018

#CHINABEACH--Mamasan and Her Girls--- "DIS S...T" & BARRY COULTER


(LZ 410)-- Record of Service entries for the entire tour with the 27th RLT in Vietnam shows just five entries. On 14 March 1968, the entry shows "messman", there is no entry for R&R, neither the Taipei one , nor the one for China Beach. Administrative Remarks lists the Taipei R&R on 1Aug68:

"TAD in connection with R&R (Taipei) from 26July68 to 31Aug68. Rpt on UD #168-68/15201"

Obviously the 31Aug68 entry is incorrect as I did not spend a month on R&R in Taipei. I spent three days on R&R at China Beach in Danang after the Taepei leave, sometime in August. 
     Barry Coulter went with me to China Beach. Barry was a big African-American from radio platoon and possibly a wireman. Sometime that summer of '68, a new boot lieutenant thought he was going to pull a surprise inspection on the platoon and had us all in formation in front of the regimental COC. He waved a small bag in the air that contained some rolled marijuana cigarettes and announced he was looking for ,

"Dis shit.."

What the boot lieutenant didn't know was that we were the commo platoon and we always knew everything before everybody else. Everybody stashed the goods down in the bunker. Backing up a bit, there weren't that many of us who smoked; the white rednecks from the south in the hootch didn't, there were others who didn't. Turk Dowdell, the wiry black from Cincinnati smoked with me down in the bunker but not too many other people. It was a surprise that all of us were clean when the inspection went down, all of us except Barry Coulter. He didn't smoke, we drew the conclusion it was a setup, they stuffed a little bag of rolled joints in the bottom of his duffel bag and Barry was framed, for whatever reason other than to make the boot lieutenant look good. They couldn't bust a white boy so they busted Barry.

     We went to China Beach, I smoked there but Barry didn't. What we did do was go to the beach, drink a lot of Carling Black Label and one night we visited the mamasan and her girls. To get there we had to walk through the small ville adjacent to China Beach along a path that was laced with concertina wire on both sides. We passed an ARVN bunker fixed with a mounted machine gun and they waved us through in the dark. They knew we were going to see the mamasan. Nobody else in radio platoon would go visit mamasan, they were all worried about their girlfriends back home finding out. As if their girlfriends back in the world weren't out visiting papasan. True blue got you nothing, Barry knew it, I knew it.
    True to the scuttlebutt at China Beach, mamasan delivered the ladies for Barry and me and they delivered for us. The only photo I have from China Beach is included in this post. In the background is the water tower, the photo was taken by Barry; when we were transferred out after RLT 27 went back to the world, I never saw Barry again.


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