Walt Smith outside the world renowned "Cookie 1 A-Go-Go"
Ration Exchange - from Walt Smith
|While at the 2002 reunion in San Antonio, Bill Holmes brought this to my attention and told me that Ned Elwell had told him. I did not know anyone knew about this other than the Sgt Frick, a couple of cooks and myself along with the CO and 1st Sgt.
Note: To better understand what went on, MACV advisors to the CIDG Montagnard forces drew rations with them from the Vietnamese Government (not American rations), these consisted mainly of dried fish and rice. So when given an opportunity to get decent rations MACV jumped at the chance.
MACV however, could get all the liquor they wanted.
Sgt. Frick had set a deal up with the MACV compound at Dakto to exchange decent rations for liquor. We would take MACV a hearty supply of meat, canned vegetables and fruit, and in turn we would receive beer whiskey and champagne (champagne being Frick's preference in the liquor category).
We in turn went to rations breakdown and left a case of beer or 2 and fifths of whiskey or so with the NCO in charge, which would load us down with more rations. Thus everyone benefited... especially us.
In the Autumn of 1967 (Autumn here anyway), the NVA hit the POL dump opposite our camp at Dakto. The first thing Sgt. Frick did was have me get 1/2 case of 2 different meats out of the freezer and some fruit and vegetables from storage and he and I went right by the POL and headed to MACV and unloaded and picked up a rather hefty supply of beer and whiskey then off we went to rations breakdown and exchanged beer and whiskey (of course we kept quite a bit of overage and we distributed it among the troops) for rations including sundry packs. That also was a pretty hefty order. Then back to camp we went with liquor and rations, right back by the burning POL dump.
We had just finished unloading when Top told Frick that the CO wanted to see him. I asked if we were in trouble. He just said don't worry about it. After he came back from the CO, I asked again, he said, just keep quite about it and not to worry. That was the last I heard about it and I never told anyone. So you can imagine my surprise when 35 years later Bill Holmes is sitting across the table telling his wife about the incident.
I guess it takes a little bit of guts to drive by a burning POL dump but we just did what we thought should be done in order to keep our troops in food. It took a while to get the POL in operation but our troops ate hot food 3 meals a day. However we did have to finagle a little fuel to cook with. That was done with Helicopter fuel.
I wonder how many more of you fellas from C Btry knew about this?
Walt Smith E4
C Btry Mess under Sgt. Frick
6/14 Feb. '67 - Feb. '68
Oasis - Dak To