This is another good illustration of infantry soldiers living in the field weeks at a time. This soldier’s unit is the 199th Infantry Brigade, the same Brigade my father served in 1966-1967. He is using C-4 to heat his c-rations. C-4 is a plastic explosive with a texture similar to modeling clay so can be molded into any desired shape. C-4 is stable, and an explosion can only be initiated by a shock wave from a detonator.
We each carried a half pound block of C-4 in our rucksacks, using it to heat our rations. The C-4 heated faster and more evenly across the cooking surface than a heating tab. This soldier isn’t using a “stove” to cook his rations. Most of our platoon members used a can opener to punch holes into the bottom edge of an empty c-ration can for ventilation as a makeshift stove. We put the C-4 into the stove, lit it, and placed the can on top. No need to hold the can by the lid. If we ran out of C-4 for cooking, we got some from the inside of a claymore mine.
This photograph shows the soldier wearing a uniform and boots that are wet and dirty. Some platoon members wore towels around their necks as protection from the rucksack straps cutting into their shoulders. His uniform does not fit well, with his sleeves too short for his arms. Photograph by combat photographer Art Jaeger
We flew by Huey helicopters from one location to another; occasionally we used Chinooks. A Combat Assault (CA) is when the platoon or company loads onto Hueys and flies to a new location expecting enemy resistance. As we approached the Landing Zone (LZ) the door gunners prepped the area with M-60 machine gun fire. When we received enemy fire it was called a “hot LZ,” and we would start jumping from the Huey before the skids touched the ground. This was dangerous because we jumped 3 to 5 feet from the ground with 60 pound rucksacks and weapons. I’m surprised we did not get injured more often. Unknown photographer.
The last photograph shows soldiers from the 199th Infantry Brigade crossing a stream. This task is common for infantry soldiers regardless of their assigned unit. The rushing water could carry a soldier downstream or he could get stuck in the mud in the bed of the creek. The leeches were another story. We would stay wet for days on end during the monsoon season. Photograph by combat photographer Art Jaeger.
When I Turned Nineteen Soldiering After the Vietnam War