218th MP Co Letters (Reiter)
Fellow members of the 218th MP Company
In the interest of generating some discussion on our memories with the 218th MP Company, I thought I would start things off by writing down a few of mine. I know we have all had both good and bad memories of our time in Viet Nam so I think it appropriate at this time for me to only discuss some of those good memories or funny things I remember while working with my fellow MP’s. As many of us did, I landed in Cam Rahn Bay in April 68 and was taken to Nha Trang the next evening in a 2 ½ ton. We rookies were all scared to death as we were not issued a weapon, we were taken to Nha Trang at night and of course the old timers told us how we would probably be shot at on the way to Camp McDermott. Of course that didn’t happen but the old timers put us on mortar watch the rest of the night – we probably all got initiated that way on our first day or two at the 218th. I spent my year at Camp McDermott doing convoys to Ban Me Thuot, Tuy Hoa – town patrol, guard duty, desk clerk and finally as desk Sgt. My best memory of the 218th was the great MP’s that I had chance to meet and work with over that one year period time. My greatest regret is that I left in a hurry like most, didn’t get any addresses and finally realized after 40 years how important all those MP’s were to me during that short period of time in our lives. Thanks to Toms Simmons for getting things going to give us an opportunity to reunite and communicate with one another. The other sad part is all the pictures I have and I can’t put a name to most faces even though we worked closely together for a year – I hope to make that connection as this web site expands. I already had a chance to talk with Thomas Crowell and SSGT CL Thames who I worked with as desk clerk for awhile. Wayne Kirby even sent me a set of night orders in which I was the desk Sgt the night of Dec 31, 1968 and he was the Patrol Sgt. I have had a great time reminiscing with these guys. Here are a few of the non-violent things that I remember – maybe we will share the bad later on:
• Remember that awful smell of Viet Nam when we first arrived and yes the smell of fish heads and rice everyday when the mamasan’s came to clean the barracks?
• How about the mamasan’s squatting next to you in the latrine – initially was a shock but not bad when they showered with you – right??????
• Remember some of those 12 on 24 off shifts – we slept 12 drank 12 and worked 12 hours. After 12 hours of drinking, you couldn’t get through the top floor of the barracks – it looked like an aluminum recycling center.
• Remember when the ration cards ran out and we had to drink that Korean Root wine or that VN 33 beer
• Boy we had some good steak barbeques – one of the patrols would pick up a mess Sgt for speeding and con them out of a case of steaks for letting them go – sound familiar. I think the same was done for the medic’s who took care of the girls down town????
• Don’t remember the MP’s but several of us built a bar upstairs in the barracks – at some point it was commandeered by one of the SSGT’s – we had everything but the dancing girls
• I remember selling beer out of my small frig for $.10 per can and $.05 for pop. I don’t remember who ended up with that frig after I left – it was handed down to me by one of the MP’s who went up to Tuy Hoa
• Remember the little orphan we adopted – we outfitted him in an MP uniform and he went on many patrols and convoys with us. He talked to the girls downtown and always knew when VC were in town.
• Anyone remember the incident on a convoy when a “grease gun” disappeared from an RVN check point on a bridge north of Nha Trang – I remember the reports that came out from Saigon that said an MP physically took the weapon off the RVN –bull!! I think someone was actually teaching him a lesson for abandoning his weapon. The weapon was still in the roof of the barracks when I departed – it was too hot to touch for many months
• SSGT Thames will remember this – I was his desk clerk and one night 4 of our GI prisoners broke out of the small window in the PMO jail. When a head count was done they were missing. SSGT Thames had an idea where they were and sure enough we found them downtown in one of the bars. Had he not found them we probably would still be in jail. They told us they had broken out a bar on the cell window and had been routinely taking turns late at night going downtown, taking care of the girls then coming back to the cell. They done this for several weeks and with many desk SGT’s and Clerks. It just so happened that the night we were on, they all decided to leave at once.
• Anyone remember one of our Korean MP’s – Sung Hong Yim – I had his address for years then lost touch with him. He went into the Korean textile business and spent some time in Europe.
• Remember our barracks dog (One of few that wasn’t eaten by the locals) He had the mange so bad he only had hair on his tail. Everyone gave him orange vodka so he stayed lit up most of the time
I know we all have thousands of memories of our time in Viet Nam – I hope I didn’t bore you with this but just wanted to get folks talking and sharing some of their stories. Maybe down the road we can share some of those things that probably still haunt most of us to this day.
Thanks fellow MP’s for your friendship - if you haven’t read the book “Angel from Viet Nam” by Jim Stewart, I would recommend it – he has a web site if you browse “Military Police of the Viet Nam War”
This website is not approved or endorsed by, nor in any way affiliated with, the Department of Defense or the US Army Military Police Corps.
Copyright 2008-2013, The 218th Military Police Co in Vietnam, all rights to reproduction in whole or in part without express written consent is prohibited.