GULL HOIST pt. 2
That next Morning I was up and Moving early, I walked to the mess hall and had a good breakfast, something I haven’t had in a while. Breakfast at the Mess Hall in Danang was OK, but it was in a quote, “War Zone”. We had no Refrigeration early on in the conflict so Food luxuries were not on the Menu. Powder Eggs, Powdered Milk, and meals that had a hint of Cardboard seasoning were always on the menu.
It wasn’t till I say about the Spring of 1967 that there was Refrigeration in the Galleys of the Mess halls. After eating I made my way out to the curb and hailed a base cab and proceeded to the Warehouse and Storage Facilities were I asked to see the Captain and showed him my orders and required paperwork to secure a large shipment of crates and structures known as a Gull Hoist and make arrangements to have them shipped to Danang Naval Support Activity.
Danang had a fairly large Naval Repair Facility and although they didn’t handle large ships from the 7 Th. Fleet, they did maintain and repair most of the River Craft used in Vietnam. I received my go-head to acquire the Gull Hoist and was told that they would make arrangements to have it transported from Warehouse and Storage Facility yards and move it to the Staging area in Freeport under procurement Number da da dah. It would be up to me to make arrangements with the Bureau of Docks and Warehouses to have the Crates and Structures loaded on board a ship and transported to Danang Vietnam. The Navy is an extremely large Bureaucratic machine that rolls along unaware where it’s going and if it ever came to a stop, It would be totally destroyed by it own Ass. So my next stop is the Bureau of Warehouses and Docks and sit down with the Officer in charge and explain again what’s happening and what’s been appropriated so far and what needs to be done next and where he fits into the equation. I love this job! I travel, I meet new people and I see what a cluster f..k this whole thing is, But, It’s an Adventure and I love Adventures. It’s now 5 Pm and I’m Hungry , I’m tired, and I want a Coke. Everything is done. Given a good week, the gull Hoist will be loaded onto a LST and start the 5 day trip to Danang Vietnam and then I start the whole thing over again, but this time in reverse order. (The receiving processes) Check-offs and re-labeling crates and structures, making arrangements for shipping and storage until it’s assembled. Assembling copies of all the paperwork and hand delivering all copies to required individuals and departments. I believe there were 18 individual open metal structures, 40 some crates of parts, one Diesel Engine with a Generator Attached on a skid, and 8 Huge tires along with one crate of paper work that contained assembly instructions and instructions on how to destroy or incapacitate the Hoist if it were to fall into enemy hands.
On the way back to Transient Housing, I stopped at the Acey Duecy Club to grab a Coke and something to eat. I never cared for loud and boisterous Bars I would rather enjoy my food and drink in a more subdued atmosphere, But it was close to my housing. As I looked around most of the Sailors were drinking the local Brew called San Miguel so when asked, I order myself one of those along with something to eat that was american. I was a Miller High Life Beer drinker back home and trying to find a Miller High life overseas especially in the Pacific theater was impossible I usually drank what was local or drank my old standby Scotch on the Rocks. Lite beers as we know them weren’t around in 1966. San Miguel was not a bad tasting beer but after reading the label I concluded I don’t like beer brewed with Rice rather than Barley. Within two hours of having two Beers, I developed the worst headache and from then on , I refused Beers made with Rice. I’ll have a Coke instead.
I would end up going back to the Philippines two more times before my tour of duty was over. Major Construction came to a halt in the summer of 1968 in Vietnam just before the Tet Offensive. In my opinion the writing began to appear on the wall that we were not going to win this one, Politically and militarily.