DON'T NEED YOUR HELP, MAMA-SAN!
Our troops were exposed to a culture
care one bit about being naked
was assigned to "A" battery FDC while they were on LZ English
Bong Son late January - early February 1968. I was an "FNG"*
Had a LOT to learn that was for sure. We were on "English " for a few days then packed up and conveyed off to a Special Forces camp that was perhaps 20 miles away down the coast. The SF camp had a runway which the venerable "Caribou" could land.
We spent one night on the edge of this runway - the next day we airlifted to a rocky abandoned fire base I believe was called "Meade". The ground was so hard and rocky digging down & filling sand bags was impossible. We spent a night or two on Meade then air lifted back to the Special Forces camp - LZ Pony. We spent another night on Pony - no action as yet. Beginning Day two on Pony, someone discovered that there was a nice river nearby that offered an opportunity for us to get cleaned up. And boy did we need it! We had dust & dirt caked on us from the day we left LZ English! A bunch of us hopped in the back of a "deuce & 1/2" went down to the river - dropped every stitch of clothes we had and ran in the river to wash up. (We did leave a few guards on shore to watch our stuff)
All well and good right?? Apparently there was a small Vietnamese village nearby and all the mama-sans ran out to the river to "help" us guys out. So here I am, a good, very shy protected, Catholic boy from small town Minnesota. I was naked as a jay bird and wondering just how I was going to get out of that river and protect my modesty. Mama-san was not impressed.
Closing note here: Steve hastens to add that, "The mama-sans were not a bunch of hookers attempting to sell their wares to a group of dusty-dirty GIs. They came to offer to wash our dirty fatigues. A few of the guys accepted that...but nothing else!
The next day we were off to Kontum and a interesting firebase called "LZ Incoming" - so much for good clean fun!
*"FNG" - Since the Pentagon sent over "replacements" after 13 months of service, the new guys were total strangers to their units and unit cohesion was greatly damaged as a result. Thus, they earned the nickname "F*****g New Guys...and it stuck.
Note: There was a lot of action at LZ Incoming. See "War Stories"
submitted by Bert Landau.}