"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Humor in Vietnam: by John Puzzo

John Puzzo
Things happen that make us aware of our humanity, even in the demanding world of an Army Ranger.

Nothing illustrates that better than when peculiar and strange things happened -- things that could have occurred in no other setting than a long-range patrol in the Highlands. They became all the more memorable for that very reason ...
Nicknames ...

I remember once, when lightning struck the side of a mountain where a team had set up an ambush. 

The lightning set off all of the Claymore mines the team had set, arced through the radio, down the handset held by our Lieutenant, and then exited through his jungle boots, singeing his skivvies, and leaving his hair smoking. 

'Lightning Bolt' was none the worse for wear, except for a new nickname, a few minor bruises, and some burnt hair, but the team had to be extracted because the radio was cooked.

On another mission, a team went on high alert and everyone grabbed the clackers to their Claymores, when the guy on night watch heard footsteps coming into their night position just before dawn. 

He roused the team, brought up the artillery net, air assets were mustered for gunship support and extraction and, just before things were about to get noisy, a rooster clucked into view.

We might have eaten the feathery beast under other circumstances. The whole experience earned our high alert team member the nickname: "Rooster".

Both Ways

by David Hamm

I joined the LRRP's in October, 1968. One of the ways we relieved the tension, boredom, and sometimes sheer terror of how we lived was through humor, often directed at ourselves. I can think of these things, even to this day and it makes me smile.

One of the incidents involved a Green Beret named Foster, who was assigned to our unit for a while. 

Our team was taking a break during a mission and monitoring the radio, when we heard Foster call Zero in a highly excited state. He said their team had found a high-speed trail that looked like it was heavily used. 

When the RTO back at Zero tried to get the location of the trail, there was a long pause. Foster didn't seem to understand what information was wanted and kept repeating that it was a high-speed trail.

Finally, the RTO got through to him by asking him which way the trail went. There was another long pause ... and Foster replied excitedly, "It goes both ways."

The RTO could hardly contain himself and asked him to say again which way the trail went. "Both ways! The trail goes both ways, sir."

By this time, our team was literally rolling on the ground, laughing (silently, of course). After this, when someone would ask you where you were going, you said, "Both ways, both ways."

John J. Puzzo
K Company (Ranger)
75th Infantry (Airborne)
United States Army 1968 - 1971

[Excerpts from the book, "The Highlanders In the Vietnam War", which was written by my good friend, John J. Puzzo. If you haven't read John's book yet, I suggest that you do.].

Other Articles by John Puzzo:

Poem, "Waves"
The Lantern

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do. And by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

Feel free to comment on this post. You are also invited to write about anything you feel comfortable sharing. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history, sharing the truth about the Vietnam veteran, and what it was like in Our War.

1 comment:

  1. John, your "both ways" story was great. I will have to contact you on a different site, because I would love it if we could exchange books; my MILITARY LIFE - SERVICE OR CAREER A SOLDIER'S PERSPECTIVE for your "The Highlanders In the Vietnam War". I know I would like yours. John


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