by Patrick Hayes

Ya'll probably know I went to Nam aboard a ship full of grunts — like, 7,000 of them. Let me tell ya's of a time I nearly went to the brig for laughing at a naval officer. 

Off the coast of Japan we hit a typhoon; guys below were puking their guts out. The smell was horrendous, so I managed my way topside and into the galley, where I saw a grunt friend to sit with and have lunch. 

Me and Voorhees got our lunch, sealegged our way over to a long table with those swing-out type seats. Wrap an arm around a pole, using its hand to hold tray and keep viddles from flying off tray. Use free hand to shovel chow into pie-hole. 

All was going well till we noticed several naval officers in a group by the chowline. We paid no attention to them — until the ship pitched so far to beam a porthole burst opened. Seawater was pressured in through that small opening as from a fire hydrant, hitting the group of squids smack dab in the middle of them. It flipped and tossed them into a heap in the corner, where they laid soaking wet. 

Me and Voorhees, of course, we busted out laughing. 

Well, those squids didn't like us laughing at them. One storms over and orders us to attention. We're told to stop laughing or he's going to write us up (and go to the brig?). 

Me and Voorhees looked at each other and puckered our pie-holes so no air could escape. Didn't work: we both burst out laughing again, further angering this officer, who was really pissed. 

I felt a hand grab the back of my ute collar and drag me back on my heels; same with Voorhees, he was moving rearward too. It was a gunnery sergeant with big mitts doing the grabbing and hollering at us to shut the fuff up while apologizing to the squid, vowing to kill us once outside. 

I thought we were dead meat — till the gunny busted out laughing as hard as we were. Funniest damned thing I ever saw
. . . nearly got me brig time. 

No chit, G.I. Would I lie to youse guys? 

*     *     * 
The author:
USMC 1964-1968
E-5 Sgt, honorable discharge
HMM-263: 1964 Dominican Republic
                crisis, 1965 LPH Boxer
1st MAW: G-2 Danang, clerk/driver, 1965
HMM-361: Ky Ha & Dong Ha, 1966-1967
VMO-5: Camp Pendleton, 1967
TAD-USAINTS: Fort Holibird, MD, 1967
1stMAW: G-2 photo-interpreter,
              El Toro, 1968

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