War Stories


During conflicts the opportunity to have a meal on a steady basics can be intermittent to say the least. This shortage of having a meal at your time of need can be contributed to a number of unforeseen circumstances. Close proximity of the enemy and actions they take can cause a delay on you getting supplied. The weather can also play a part in your not be having a nourishing meal, because the choppers cannot fly under or over the foul weather front. There could be a mix up of the time and location of the supply drop that can also leave you wanting for a hunger ending meal.

During the TET my unit had the opportunity to discover a lot of little one can do to off set hunger. Pick Your Own

(1) Cut bananas from trees place on ruck for future consumption.
(2) Climb coconut trees get coconuts for pulp and liquid inside.
(3) Pick pomegranates for itís flavorful contents.
(4) Hand grenade fishing when fresh water stream found.
(5) Grub hunting in decaying logs for high protein larvae.
(6) Bamboo cutting for water found inside between knuckles.
(7) Liberate chickens and waterfowl for cooking when sacking a village.

These or just some of the things one can do to hold off the hunger monster that dwells within every infantryman. You can also try the local cuisine if you are not worried about little things such as powdered glass, poison, or some other element that will take you out of the fight. You would be surprised what you would eat when hungry, I wasnít.

My unit had been having constant contact with the NVA (101st Chu Chi regiment) and it was tough to be supplied when there are bullets flying all over the place. After a brief contact with the enemy, we swept through a rubber plantation looking for more of the elusive enemy. All this walking got to be very fatiguing and hunger began to raise its head.

We exited the plantation and immediately the out side perimeter of a village came into view. The word came down to also sweep through the village and continue to look for the enemy.

My company began it search while in a constant state of alert. Our movement was conducted from the outside to the inside of the Ville. This search pattern placed us in the vicinity of the village market place. We must have gotten there just in time for the market place was full of hustle and bustle. Venders were selling all kinds of wears, and food.

The smell of roasting meat was intoxicating and my stomach began to turn its self inside out. Something had to be done, and done quickly. This is when I spotted my chance to quell my hunger. Older women were slowly turning meat on a spit; this was too much for me to take considering the state I was in. I approached mama san, and in doing so I noticed that the meat being slow roasted, wasnít beef, nor pork but FIDO over a hot fire.

The dog was roasted to a golden brown. The paws, tail, fur, and intestines had been removed but the rest of the beast remained intact. I approached mama san, and asked her the price of having the privilege to indulge in the local cuisine. The answer to my query was 200 piasters. Two hundred piasters amounted to about 10 cents American, and with quickness I reached into my pocket in order to retrieve the necessary funds requested.

Mama San took the money; smiled at me showing me her beetle nut stained teeth and commenced to make me a dogwitch. First the women got a piece of French bread, about a foot long in leanth, sliced the bread in half and placed herb and spices on it. Then she walked over to the spit and sliced a generous piece of meat from the roasting carcass and placed it on the bread. The final touch she gave to my bowwow was to spread some foul smelling nuckmam sauce (fermented fish juice) on the sandwich before putting the halves together and handing it to me.

The first bite placed me in total bliss. Damn that was the best tasting sandwich I had ever eaten. I received a lot of comments about culinary delight, most were bad but guess what, my stomach was full and I had the chance to enjoy that moment of sweetness while in a bitter tasting war. The story continues.

William R. Hayes.