“Sergeant Bushmaster, everyone here on Firebase Ladybird has the upmost respect for you.”
“I heard you singlehandedly killed a platoon of NVA Regulars!
Is that true?”
“Yes it is Boot!”
“How did you do it?”
“I made a large pan of SOS and left it in the jungle overnight. The NVA found it and ate it. It was death within!”
“Now quiet down Boot and hand me my skillet!”
As a group of Marines stood in formation at Firebase Ladybird, Sergeant Bushmaster said, "All right! All you idiots fall out." As the rest of the squad wandered away, one Marine remained at attention.
Sergeant Bushmaster walked over until he was eye-to-eye with the boot, and then raised a single eyebrow. The Marine smiled and said, "Sure were a lot of 'em, huh, sir?"
Sergeant Bushmaster and the Boot were on a four day pass in Thua Thien - Hue, Vietnam just north of Camp Eagle. While sitting at the EM Club enjoying a cold adult beverage, the Boot asked, "Are you a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars?”
“Why yes Boot, I am. Are you?”
“I just got my card this week. I am glad to be a member!” Boot replied.
“Well, but are you a life member like me?” Sergeant Bushmaster pulled out his wallet and looked through his large sum of MPC's and retrieved his metal life membership card and dropped it on the bar. As it made the clanging noise that is the hallmark of respect for all life members, Boot looked in awe.
Boot pulled out his wallet and quickly got his paper annual membership card. He was able to locate it very quickly because he only had $2.00 in his wallet.
Sergeant Bushmaster shook his head and said, "Bartender, let me buy this boot a beer. He never has any money!"
The First Patrol
Lt. Shorttimer was in command of Sergeant Bushmaster’s platoon. Captain Desktop had just instructed him that he needed a squad of LRRP outside the firebase. HQ had passed down Intel that there were NVA patrols seen in the area.
“Sergeant Bushmaster, your squad will lead a patrol tonight. Meet me in the CP at 1630 hrs for briefing,” said Lt. Shorttimer.
“Roger that Sir,” said Sergeant Bushmaster.
After the briefing, Sergeant Bushmaster gave his squad mission briefing and reminded them of the proper equipment and supplies to bring. He left them with a final statement of…..”You keep your spacing and be sharp out there tonight. This ain’t no “diddybop” through the jungle. Things can happen fast in the dark! Don’t do anything stupid. We got a cherry on this mission, so you all look out for his young ass.
Watch your buddy’s six. Now, let’s go do this thing. Move out!
After they crossed the wire, Sergeant Bushmaster gave the last order, “Lock and load boys. We’re going to Indian country!”
The patrol went well. They had swung south to head back to Firebase Ladybird. They had not seen any LBMF’s tonight.
Almost back to base they stopped to take 10.
Boot was stepping off to relieve himself when he saw something white hanging in a tree. As he stepped closer Sergeant Bushmaster yelled, “Freeze Boot!” Sergeant Bushmaster slowly walked up to his position. Looking at the area that the squad leader was looking at, Boot could now see what all the excitement was about. He was about 2 inches from a trip wire!
After securing the area, Sergeant Bushmaster said, “Boot, you need to use your brain housing group for something other than carrying half your shaving kit. If you had taken one more step, we would have been picking your candy ass out of these trees for a week!! When you see something rigged to make you look up, look down quick!”
Well they all got back to Firebase Ladybird okay. Boot was relieved that he hadn’t gotten killed and glad he didn’t get anyone else hurt either. He knew that this was no place for daydreaming. How was he going to get through the next 11-½ months in this place?
Sergeant Bushmaster had other things on his mind. He realized that things had been quiet for about 3-½ weeks. This was a sign of trouble on the way. Now they would have to do things different if they wanted to save Firebase Ladybird…….and their own lives!
Captain Desktop called Firebase Ladybird to full alert. There was a Huey coming in with classified cargo. After the helicopter landed two people got off wearing jungle fatigues with no insignia and boonie hats. They carried only their weapons and 2 rucksacks.
“Who are they?” asked Boot.
“They are Army Special Forces Boot, Green Berets. They specialize in covert operation, counter insurgency, POW snatch and grab, and interrogations.” said Sergeant Bushmaster.
They are the best of the best.
“Are they tougher than Marines?” Instantly Boot had a horrid foul taste in his mouth! Licking the roof of his mouth rapidly like he had peanut butter stuck in it he said, “What is that?"
“That is the taste all Marines get in their mouth if they think anyone is tougher than a Marine! Now, go lick that dogs butt to get the taste out of your mouth and report back here immediately!"
Boot grabbed the MP’s dog by the tail and gave it 10 full tongue licks before the taste in his mouth was bearable again and reported back to Sergeant Bushmaster.
"Listen up Boot! We are Marines! We are not like the rest of the military. We don't bow to Green Berets! Because of professional courtesy we..............” seeing that the two Green Berets were coming through his AO he stopped himself short.
Boot snapped to.
While rendering a proper curtsey, Sergeant Bushmaster said, "Good morning Captain Killamall and good to see you again SSG Texacan!"
Both men said in unison, "Good morning boots!" After passing a few yards SSG Texacan yelled over his shoulder, "Reecoverrrrr!"
Sergeant Bushmaster returned to the upright position rapidly licking the roof of his mouth and said," Boot, go get me that dog!"
Truth-Sayers & Truth Seekers
Sergeant Bushmaster, “Do you have a mother? Boot asked.
“Well of course I do! How do you think I got into this world? Sergeant Bushmaster exclaimed.
“Private Runamuc from the 82nd Airborne said you hatched out of a seabag with only the help of your K-bar.”
“Don't listen to that Army puke. He jumps out of perfectly good airplanes. He is so screwed-up hell won't have him! If you want to know something, come and ask me. Now, what's on your mind boy…….?”
“My mother sent me a letter and asked what I do here.
What should I tell her…….that I am a Combat Marine and I am a population control expert?”
“No Boot. You tell her that you are a communications expert,” Sergeant Bushmaster said.
“You mean I should lie to her?” Boot said in astonishment.
“Of course not Boot. We are Truth-Sayer’s and Truth Seeker’s. Why just last week I saw you personally deliver a 7.62 mm message to that VC in the bush. The message said you should have run. This village belongs to the Marine Corps!"
“Sergeant Bushmaster, how do you tell who is VC?” Boot asked.
“That is easy. If he runs from you he is VC. If he doesn't run, he is a highly disciplined VC.”
“What do you tell your mother your job is?” Boot asked.
“I tell her that I'm a cook.
“Why do you tell her that?”
“Because I take a pound of bacon in the field, wrap it around the barrel of my M60 and fire it 200 times. It makes a great field breakfast. Haven't you seen me heat my C-rations with a pinch of C4? It cooks fast!” laughed Sergeant Bushmaster.
“Can I get some of your C4? I want to be a cook too!” Boot asked excitedly.
“I think you better stick to communications Boot. You might blow up the mess hall!”
"Boot, this is your lucky day," said Sergeant Bushmaster. "Captain Desktop and Lt. Shorttimer are at I Corps for the big doings for Gen. Westmoreland. I need these statements typed up for the Awards Recommendation Board. Go to Con Thien and get these back to me ASAP."
"But Sergeant Bushmaster, I don't know how to type," Boot replied.
“When you got to the Nam Boot there were a lot of things you didn't know. You couldn't speak Vietnamese, you knew nothing about survival in the bush, and you didn't even know you were a communications expert! It is time for you to Marine up! Adapt, improvise, and overcome. Now, get those two by's at a double-time and don't be stopping for a cold adult beverage either!”
Boot left quickly to fulfill his mission. As he got into Con Thien he saw a friend. "Long time no-see Boot, what are you up to?" asked Corp. Wobbles.
"I got to get some papers typed for Sergeant Bushmaster." Boot stated.
"Oh, you need a yeoman. Come with me."
"I would love one of those fancy drinks but I can't. Sergeant Bushmaster said no cold adult beverages!" Boot replied.
"No Boot. A yeoman is a navy clerk. I know a girl that will help you out. Come with me."
Corp. Wobbles introduced Boot to his yeoman friend Seaman Fox. Right away Boot noticed the sweetest smell he had ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
"WOW!! What is that?" he asks Seaman Fox.
"That must be my perfume. It's called Victoria’s Secret "Cashmere". Do you like it?" she said with a blush.
"Sure do! I wish Sergeant Bushmaster was here. He is always saying that there's nothing better than the smell of napalm in the morning. He should try a sniff of this!" Boot suggested as he noticed her blushing face.
“How about I type these papers for you and you buy me a drink after 1630? You owe me you know........”
"No can do. Sergeant Bushmaster always says, "Ask no quarter, give no quarter.” It's your job as a navy clerk to support the Combat Marines. So, just get those papers typed so I can get back to the bush. If you would like, I can go get someone with a heavier collar to help you decide............"
Boot impressed himself with this sergeant like tone of voice. Just maybe he was marine material after all.
"Ok Boot, maybe next time." After typing the papers she gave Boot a hug and small kiss on the cheek. "You are all Marine, Boot. Next time you get a pass, come and look me up and I'll buy you a drink!" smiling she walked away saying, "Ask no quarter, give no quarter Boot".
Reporting back to Sergeant Bushmaster with the papers in hand Boot was proud to be in the Marine Corps. Sergeant Bushmaster was proud of him too. He was going to be a good Marine in time. As Boot was walking away Sergeant Bushmaster said, “Boot, I can smell Charlie's fear from 300 yards. Go get a shower before you talk to the guys. Even they can smell Victoria’s Secret "Cashmere".
Beaches & Beer
“Boot, you and Private Slacker go to supply and requisition the items on this list. Cpl. Donaway and I will be there shortly.”
"Roger that!" Boot said leading the way to supply at a double-time with Private Slacker in tow.
After getting all the supplies on the list Boot and Slacker took interest in the repelling line they had procured. Sgt. Bushmaster and Cpl. Donaway came upon them and saw them trying to rope their rucksacks like they were horses. Cpl. Donaway said," What in the name of sweet Mother Mary are you two doing!"
Private Slacker responded, “Boot was showing me how to rope a horse. He is from Texas and he is good with a rope!"
"From Texas! Boot you're no Texacan. You two daydream so much you don't know if you found a rope or lost a horse! Boot, you are not from Texas. You were born at Camp Pendleton like the rest of us Marines! Now get these supplies loaded in those trucks. We're moving out!"
They were about to do some beach assaults and mountain training. Some of the men had little training on these things and Sgt. Bushmaster was a training beast. The men were offloaded in proper marine style at a remote beach in the Philippines. They were setup in squads to do the assault training on gun positions then advance to the mountains where those repelling lines would be useful. Sgt. Bushmaster would lead 1st and 2nd squad and Cpl. Donaway had 3rd Squad. 4th squad remained at Firebase Ladybird to maintain a defense for the camp.
1st and 2nd squad advance on the gun position and were checked off by the inspector as having no wounded or KIA. They advanced to the mountains as 3rd squad landed on the beach.
Cpl. Donaway noticed that the Seabees were off loading a tent and some supplies. "What are you doing there Seabee? This is a marine operation!"
"I am setting up a med station for the Corpsman in case one of you jarheads gets hurt. Then I am going to sit here and drink this skid of cold beer while you go play marine." said Seaman Davis.
"You mean all the injured are going to be here in this tent?" said Cpl. Donaway.
"Yes, and all that get tagged as wounded or KIA in the training. They will wait here till the operation is over. Then we will all go back to the ship."
Cpl. Donaway had an idea. "3rd squads assemble on me! We are going to attack that bunker over there but first everyone remove your magazine from your weapon. I don't want anyone getting hurt."
The men followed his directions and proceeded in the attack. Quickly the inspector stopped them and tagged them all KIA. "You are all dead so go to the tent and wait." the inspector said. "Never assault the enemy without a loaded weapon!"
At the tent Cpl. Donaway states, “This tent and all its content belongs to the Marine Corps and I am in command."
"Sorry jarhead but I am in charge here. The only thing you will ever be in charge of is a sink in the mess hall or maybe an American Legion Post if Sgt. Bushmaster doesn't kill you first for getting killed! But you all can have a beer. It might be your last."
The training operation was finished and everyone done a good job except Cpl. Donaway's squad. After the ship stopped for liberty, St. Bushmaster said, "Everyone assemble on me and I will show you the way to the Olongapo Zimbolis. Everyone but 3rd squad. KIA's don't need to see zimbolis."
“What are zimboli's?” asked Boot.
Zimboli's are the Philippines' way of thanking the Marine Corps for saving them from the Japanese in WWII. You just stick with me and I will lead the way."
"Ok Sgt. Bushmaster but I still don't know what a zimboli is," Boot replied.
"Oh you will Boot! You will," said Cpl. Donoway as he went to report for mess duty.