Saturday, October 23, 2010

USMC boot camp...and my 1st time

From the craziness of what I experienced in the Vietnam war
I find solace in music, and humour-Richard Pryor was the
greatest. Live in Long Beach may be the best stand-up
performance in history!

I'm reading and absorbing the data-war crimes, crimes
against humanity, crimes against the peace....torture,
genocide(for what else do you call the use of weapons
like Depleted Uranium, White Phosphorous[WP or Willy Peter
were the terms used in Vietnam-a sexual connotation] ...
even uranium residue is showing up in Fallujah. WP and DU,
and napalm were used in Fallujah. I will write more
separately on this.

But, for now, I am writing a bit about my boot camp experiences...
and my first time with a woman...that is all the way.

I think that one of the only noble things that happen in war
(Vietnam-for me) was the willingness to lay down your life for
another (I would've done it for 'Chief'[Paul] without a thought.
I respected him greatly, but also knew that he was more valuable
to the platoon-he'd saved my life once from being 'blown to bits'
-and his own as well:-) As for the good things, I would say the
friendships that were formed, some under the most horrendous
circumstances; others during the hell raising-getting-drunk and
into during my stay at Yokosuka, Naval hospital,

But, more so, for me, was the education that I received from the
Vietnamese people, and from being there. There was a certain
Vietnamese woman who sold Coca Cola when I was at Fire Support
Base (FSB) Charlie Three...when it was deconstructed, and I would
sit there with another fella overlooking the road. A sniper could
have taken us out anytime; we were sitting on top of a hill. This
woman was also at places I was at just over the Cam Lo river...on
the north side, and always accompanied by a couple of smaller
children (6-10 years?). What it did for me was to humanize the
people we were taught to hate. Many years later I realized that
she was doing political education on me, or educating me.

I didn't have hatred towards the Vietnamese, or hate in me, but
my training was rascist towards the Vietnamese, and taught hate,
and then, you run into all the things you hear from others, and
in Vietnam I met people with hardened attitudes towards the
Vietnamese people; they were there much longer than I. 'There but
for the grace of God go I'

This woman once asked me 'Why you come to Vietnam?' I didn't know
what to say, but I said 'Your President asked for our help. And, she
replied, 'He not our President; your President make him our President.'
Slowly, the few times we met...she worked on me;-) One of the worst
feelings I had was the realization that 'we aren't the good guys.'
There is more..later.

I did not feel normal when I came home, and I went back to Vietnam. I
felt guilty for leaving my team leader 'Chief' (Paul, and my squad,
and Platoon. But, I did not feel normal at home-back in America, or on
my street, or town...nor did I feel really alive (except when drunk and
going crazy-fights etc). I felt numbed and dead inside.

But this post one is a baring of me. My first time. You
see, one great thing that I remember about being in the Marines
during the war, or for that period of my life-in the Marines-
1968-1970 was the sex...and the craziness...getting drunk and into

It's something about war i think. I never had sex in Vietnam.
I didn't feel right about that. I felt that I was there to help
them. That was propaganda put into my head. But, I felt that to
have sex with someone there...didn't feel right. I also thought
that it could be dangerous. I didn't want to be in bed with a woman,
and hear someone rushing in, and see my rifle off in the corner...
and say to myself...oops. I f*cked up.

But, first...

As a boy of 17 I joined the U.S. Marine Corps, and was in boot
camp at Parris Island, South Carolina two weeks after my last
class(June 1968). Boot camp was very much as shown in the movie
‘Full Metal Jacket’, and worse. I was trained as a Marine Corps
rifleman (a ‘grunt’).

Marine Corps boot camp is really about human degredation, cruel
and inhumane treatment... but, mostly human degredation. We
graduated-that is I made it out alive-on 31 August 1968. That day
I went to Infintry Training Regiment(ITR) for Advanced Infintry
training (AIT) at Camp Lejeune. Most likely we were at Camp Geiger.
We were there between six and eight weeks.

I was blessed by God to have Eddy 'Frenchy' Merlet as my bunkmate
during both boot camp and AIT. French was from Montreal. He was
Black and spoke French. That blew my mind. Twas the first time
that I had met a black man who spoke French. And, it sounded nice.
My grandfather was French from Nova Scotia, but he sounded like he
was barking at you when he talked. I had lived in a housing project
(estate) with one black family, and it was in our U shaped quad? And,
my father had a black friend from work, Pete Fields(?) who came to play
chess. But, it was English, and accented of the area, outside of Boston.

But, 'Frenchy' was much, much, more mature even if not much older. God,
I don't know how he put up with me:-) I know that I probably seemed like
an immature...peckerhead? to him. Was. Frenchy was married, suave...a lady
killer, but only talked of his wife, not other women. and I learned to try
and act(if not be) more mature. Took a long while...years. Hello Frenchy.
I've searched for you without luck.

I also met Jim Nance, from New Jersey at AIT and we became good friends.
I'll always remember my 18th birthday thanks to Jim. When he found out
it was my birthday he told the others, and I got my Marine Corps Birthday
greeting: 18 punches by each man on each arm-triceps? So each man got 36
whacks. I think that Jim took full advantage to say 'Happy Birthday.';-)
I've searched for you, too without luck. Jim Nance was a Boston football player.

I could not have survived the whole platoon, or was usually a
certain amount of men. I regret that I wasn't able to say 'Happy Birthday'
to him:-) Jim and I met up again at Camp Pendleton in 'staging battalion.
I also met Daryll Ondo, from Canton Ohio, Nix, ?

I made PFC (Private First Class) at Camp Pendleton, and I was lucky that
I wasn't busted. One night I came back from my cousin, Bernadette's home
in Burbank. I went into a shop that sold militaty insignia in Oceanside,
the base town of Camp Pendleton, and I bought Brigadeer stars. A Brigadeer
General is a one star general. I gave myself an instant promotion.

I was in my civvies (civilian clothes), and put them on my shirt lapel and
boarded the bus back to return to the base. I had, by then consumed most of
a bottle of Tequila. You might say that I was quite Tequilerized:-) Before
the bus left for the base two MPs (Military Police) came aboard to check IDs.

There was some laughter because of me; I like to make people laugh:-)
When the MPs got to me they asked me for my ID and told me to take the
Brigadeer stars off. I told them that I didn't have my ID, and wasn't
in the habit of having corporals asking me for my ID, and that they had
forgotten to salute me. I asked them if they were in the habit of not
saluting Brigadeer Generals?

Everyone broke out laughing. Except those two MPs.

I told them that I like to be close to the troops, and that's why I always
take the bus. When they repeated what they had said I told them that they
should know who I was. I was the youngest Brigadeer General in the history
of the United States Marine Corps at 18.

Everyone on the bus was laughing their asses off, and even those two MPs
were trying to keep a straight face, but got exasperated...and I knew from
the first day of primary school if not earlier when to stop pushing it.

I gave them my ID (PFC), and said that I haven't received my new (Brigadeer)
ID, as I had received an 'instant promotion.' But would report this incident.
I decided not to report them:-)

After 'staging battalion' I went to Camp Hansen in Okinawa. It was the last
place before I landed in Da Nang Vietnam early on Christmas morning 1968.
Actually, it was Kadena Air Force Base (AFB) on Okinawa from which we flew
to Vietnam. It wasn't training, but getting shots...gamma globulin...and
tropical shots. We were there for maybe a week at most?

Outside of Camp Hansen was Kin Town, or Kin Ville...and loads of brothels.
We were not given liberty to go. The military was probably afraid that some
would go AWOL or desert to avoid going to Vietnam...and if they saw Kin Town...
they might decide to go AWOL and stay in Kin Town for a bit. Some would think
why go to vietnam?

We were allowed a good measure of free time to got to a place that I'll
never forget- 'The Animal Pit.' It was a very large bar-hall with cheap
beer,and champagne for a $1 a bottle. They just wanted us to get as drunk
as be passive, and stay on base. But, I had other ideas.

I was at a table with three other Marines, and I brought up the idea of
sneaking off base and going into Kin Ville as we called it. The man to my
left was already awaiting a Court Martial and going to the brig (military
prison) in Marine Corps, or Navy terms. He was afraid of getting caught,
and having a longer stay. He kept singing the same song over and over again:
'Simple Simon Says' by the 1910 Fruitgum Company, and I couldn't take too
much after an hour of that. He was moving his body around to the song...he
was cuckoo I thought.

His friend was no better.

I was there with a friend that I had only met on Okinawa, or maybe at Camp
Pendleton . In the military you sometimes make friends fast and loose. I
pressed him. If your going to chance getting busted, well better to have
some company. But, he said 'No.We're going to Vietnam. If they catch us
they'll throw us in the brig.'

I said something to the effect that 'We're going to Vietnam in two days
or less. We could be dead in 3-4 days!' I thought that I didn't want to
end up on the ground dying, and think 'I shoulda gone to....ahhh...dead!'

But, he wouldn't. I wasn't too drunk, and didn't want too drink anymore.
I would need my senses. So I started my way to the bathroom. I just saw men
puking at the bathrooms and walked out. I went back to my barracks- a small
quonset hut that maybe housed 24? Marines. It was empty,I showered, and I
changed into my civvies(civilian clothes), and then went outside. I figured
that if I couldn't sneak off base and get back unnoticed, then my training
was useless, or I was f*cked; I would be in Nam in days.

I saw that the main gate was about 50+ yards to my right. There was a small
road to cross in front of me; about 15 yards from where I stood was the grass.
I went back inside waited till I heard the MP truck go by. There was a small
culvert-drainige ditch, that was about four feet down from the road...a gradual slope down. There was grass about knee-high at most,then a hill rose from up.
It was about 15 feet up from the culvert in a sharp rise.

At the top was a 9 foot chain link fence with concertina wire (barbed or razor
wire) coils about knee-high that was meant to discourage people like me. But,
I was determined to get out and see a woman...before I went to Vietnam. And, I considered it a personal challenge to outsmart those who whose job it was too
keep us inside.

After I surveyed all that was in front, and on both sides of me I waited again
until the MPs had driven by and out of sight. Then, I casually crossed the
street, and walked down into the culvert ditch, and got into a push-up position
and waited. I could see the lights and hear the truck as it came from behind. I
lowered myself like I was doing a pushup, and held that position until the
truck was way past me. Then, pushed up a bit.

I counted from the time when the truck turned onto the road behind me until
it passed me, and turned out of my line of vision, and came from behind again. Several minutes. I chuckled to myself that I was just using my training, and I wanted to get out and back unseen. And, I thought that we should have
been taughted stuff like this.

I waited for two more passes. After the third time that the truck
passed by me, and was out of the way I got up; looked around. No one
was around, and the guards at the gate were too far away to notice me.
The only hitch was going up the fence. The guards could just happen to
notice me. but the biggest problem was separating the coils of wire without
getting cut to bits.

I scaled the fence in probably about 10 seconds; I had been drinking.
When I got to the top I took a quick look at the guard shack, and knew that
they hadn't seen me. Somehow I just parted the wire carefully, and jumped
down...9 feet. I was fine; my left knee got muddied and I wiped it off with
my hands and some leaves. Then went down the hill. If I was completely sober
I would've been more nervous, and maybe cut.

My next problem was that there would be MPs in the town checking IDs. I had
reasoned that I couldn't spend time checking out the town. I looked both
ways from a corner, and saw no MPs. Then calmy crossed the street. There
was a woman approaching me, not to come to me but there was a street a
side street on her right.

She was probably about my age, and she was very lovely, brown shoulder length
hair with golden streaks, and she looked like a very nice woman. It's the
eyes that tell But, she had an infant in her arms (and I've felt guilty about
that to this day). I asked her (it's called Boom Boom No.1 in the Marines;
romantic eh); I offered money, but I don't know what I said. She rubbed her
stomach, and I realized she meant the baby. She probably had the child weeks before(Ouch!! people are gonna hate me:-)

I doubled the money; I felt that if she did not want to then i should go, and
was about to, when she said 'wait.' She looked at me. She was looking to see
if I was okay(I realized later)., and said 'You come with me.' We went to the
end of the street, and into a large house- a brothel.

There seemed to be 6-8 women and they were saying hellos, hugging, and there
were several small children there..a day care in the brothel. Then, the woman
took me upstairs, and into a very large room. There was a large (King size)
bed at one corner, and she said to me "You get ready; I be right back."

As this was my first time...I didn't exactly know what 'get ready' meant. Do I
take all my clothes off and get into bed? Or, my shirt off, and sit on the edge
of the bed? Or what? I was in the room about 12 feet from the door. The bed was
on my right about three feet away. And, I started to undress. I was a bit shy and left my underwear on. I had been through training for almost six months in the Marines...and was used to taking orders. But, I was also shy. So, I was waiting
for her to come back and say what to do. (I have never in my life asked a kooker
to perform any sexual act).

She came up the stairs, opened the door and saw me standing there in my
underwear, and she turned her head slightly sideways and seemed to smile
a bit...and she said "You Cherry?" It was a question. I felt embarrassed,
and surprised( like God, how does she know?), and said in a much, much
deeper voice as I pointed to my clothes on the floor "No, No, I just didn't
know where you wanted me to put these."

She smiled, and said "You cherry boy?" I started to say no, but she was
smiling, and said "It's okay. You Cherry?" I finally nodded my head; I thought...she knows. And, she broke out into a big smile, and said "You wait
here I be right back." Then she ran downstairs. I realized that I wasn't
standing at 'attention'(well part of me was at attention:-) but I wasn't
relaxed. I was my first time.

I took off my underwear, and all of a sudden I heard the sound of many feet in
wooden shoes running up the stairs. As the door opened I put my underwear in
front of front of 'Mr. Horny'-for want of a better word. I was like whoa shit! There were six or so very lovely and nice women, who came into the room,
all smiling, and they all asked me "Are you cherry boy?" When I nodded they
oohed and aahhed, and said 'you nice.'-(I was in best shape of my life). One after another they said things like "You come back tomorow I see you for free. I teach you...we have nice, nice time"...and 'long time'(a term- short or long)I was embarrassed. That never happened to me before or after.

I was blushing...and pointed to the woman I was about to see and said 'but I'm seeing her' (like I would be cheating on her to say yes to what they said:-)
They all laughed, and said 'She no come back we have good time.' And,
the woman I was about to see was laughing too. I told them that I was going to Vietnam, and they told me to come back tomorrow. If only I had gone AWOL for a week....what a time I would've had:-)

Then, they went downstairs, and truthfully I don't remember what happened as
much from that point until we were in bed. Except, that she took my hand, and
drew me closer, and smiled while she undid her top. She put my hand on her
breast, and touched me. I didn't want to do anything...unless i knew it was okay...and I kissed her cheek...

The bed was a king size, and had a huge white quilt with a hole in the middle
cut in the shape of a heart. I didn't want to be a 'get-on-top-get-it-over-with-
quick-...jumping jack flash:-). When she got under the quilt I was looking
at her from her breasts to under her crotch...

To me, the human body is wonderous, sensual, and more than pleasurable. Words,
or mine, cannot do justice to what the Almighty has created.

I mostly touched, caressed, kissed and more, and I did not care about myself.
I wanted to be good for her; I put my head where you are not suppossed to with
a prostitute, and was there until her whole body began shaking, and she soon
pulled my up.

My drinking got in the way of my experiencing the same, but I didn't care.
Just being with her, and having that experience was one of the greatest pleasures
of my life. And, believe me, I spent a lot of time trying to duplicate what
happened that night. But, I realized that it was unique, and never to be
experienced like that again. It was hours of exploring and more.

We spent more time in bed, kissing, and talking, and she showed me how to hold,
and hug her. we both slept for a bit. Then she got up after awhile and went down stairs, and after a while she came back..., and later a few women came up too. They said that I was nice...and reminded me about tomorrow...which was today by then.

When I saw the time I realized that it had been over six hours since I stepped
out the door and ran to the grass to get off base. I knew that I had just over
two hours till reveille- wake up. Where did the time go?

I ran back to the fence, and watched for the MP truck, but I really didn't give
a f*ck if they caught me then. But, when the truck went by I scaled the fence.
It was harder because the was not much of a flat space, so I had to turn around
and climb down. I was unseen, and made my way to the barracks.

I like to be a wise we called it where I grew up. And when I entered the
quonset hut everyone was snoring and in I turned on the switch and
all the lights went on. I was 'walking on air.' Some people, well all, but me, weren't happy with that. So, I did something that I was known for at some places during my stay in the Marine Corps. I said that 'I just want to tell you all that's it's 2 hours till reveille, so go back and get some sleep.'

I think that Dave O'C could appreciate that one:-)

All the guys (except those who were really dead drunk) were yelling 'turn off the f*cking lights you a**hole' or words to that effect. It just made me smile;-)
So, I said 'Oh i'm sorry i'm disturbing your beauty sleep...oh, oh we go to bed
at 10pm or like the Sgt tells us. We have to be in bed by 10pm.'

I called them a bunch of p*ssies. Sorry fellas but I had to go out and get laid,
i'm not jumping into bed at 10pm. They were yelling...You f*cker, turn off the
lights. And, I did a shortened version of the above calling them a bad name,
and saying I got more important things to do. 'I had to go out and get laid like
a man.' I was taking off my clothess, and it was at that point that one of the married guys that I knew from the opposite end of the hut said 'Hey fellas, he
just broke his cherry.' 'How was it? did you like it?'...'How did it feel?'...
'Tell us about it.'

Someone said 'please turn the lights off you a**hole' But, it was the other man,
who then said 'Hey tell us all what it was like. Come on tell us what it what was like to break your cherry?' I shut the lights off quickly and got in bed so I wouldn't be identified:-) And, at first, I said 'f*ck you guys; I'm out there
every night getting laid.' But the other guy pushed it again, and I turned over
and made like I was snoring, because they were saying 'which bunk is he in...come
on, tell us.'

They shut me up:-) The next day one of the married fellas asked me 'was that you
who broke your cherry last night?' But, I said something like 'what was all that
racket about last night? Somebody woke everyone up.'

He just smiled knowingly. I played dumb...and thought of that beautiful woman.
Forty-eight hours later I was on my way to Da Nang, Vietnam, and I saw the reality
of war even before I had touched a rifle. I saw child victims of the war. I wrote
about it under the heading: 'The Girl I met on Christmas Day 1968-Dan Nang. '

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