When I left Vietnam I brought home few of the items I used during my tour. Even when I got to Fort Lewis, I didn’t keep my jungle fatigues or boots. I changed to the Class A uniform that Fort Lewis supply provided and discarded my other uniforms and boots. In hindsight I regret not keeping more of the military and personal items I used that year.
I do have the watch I purchased at the Chu Lai Post Exchange, April 1969, and wore during my tour and after I got home. That Seiko watch endured numerous hardships and saw me through many hours of guard duty. Its hands glowed at night making it easier to see the time. For the longest time I thought it did not keep time correctly because by the end of the guard shift it would be 15 to 20 minutes fast. Since my watch had the glowing hands it was often rotated among those on guard duty. I found some platoon members, while on guard, would set the time forward five minutes so they could get off shift and to sleep earlier. Being the last man on guard meant you might have an extra 15 or 20 minutes of guard duty.
My battery operated Norelco shaver was a gift from my mother. She gave Wayne, my brother, one too. Mine got little use because I shaved “maybe” once a week just to remove peach fuzz. While building FSB Hill 4-11 our Company Commander, Captain Tyson, got upset because I appeared unshaven. The platoon members who were present all broke out in laughter. Captain Tyson did not see the humor.
I wanted a peace-sign necklace but didn’t have cash with me. Paul Ponce, a platoon member, noticed my dilemma, approached the Coke girl, and purchased the necklace for me. I wore the peace sign throughout my tour, and it was my good luck charm. Every time I got scared, which was often, I rubbed it for good luck. It is a reminder of Paul too.
When I Turned Nineteen: A Vietnam War Memoir and Soldiering After the Vietnam War.