War Stories


Great Balls On Fire

William R Hayes

Doing any new job there is a break in process one has to go through in order to do the job at hand, and being an infantryman is no different.

In the year 1968, I was in my break in season. All the ins and outs were a constant companion of this young private E3. Learning had attached a curb that was rather high. This high learning curb could mean life or death or some rather high personal discomfort.

On this day we were conducting an offensive infantry sweep around our base camp. The surrounding terrain consisted of rice patties and hedgerows that happened to be filled with water. So this meant long walks in the water filled rice patties, which in turn caused all kinds of problems with your feet, plus the constant checking for leeches was the norm of the day. Anytime we would stop, a hunt for the bloodsuckers began. To dislodge these pests, the best two ways to do this without having the head of the leech stay in the wound and causing an infection, was to use a lit match or bug juice, a very caustic insect repellant.

During the sweep we {Company B} had a scout dog and handler with us. The dog had to be taken out of the field because of the attached leeches on the different parts of the body

For hours on end we searched the rice patties and slippery dikes for contraband of the enemy. There was a call to take a chow break, so out of the swollen rice patties we climbed. After about ten minutes I began to feel a burning in my crouch, I tried to ignore the sensation and eat my Css but the heat began to get intense. I reached into my left pants pocket to give my gonads a quick check, in doing so, I felt a plastic bottle and pulled it out. At this time I noticed that the cap was off the bottle which had been placed upside down, hence all of the contents of the bottle had leaked out onto my leg. I did not tkink to much of it until a great surge of intense heat began to engulf my private parts.

I was now in great pain, so I dropped my pants down and reached for my family jewels which were slimy from the insect repellent. .Now I began to writhe in pain. A medic came rushing over and asked what was going on. I told him I was having trouble with my nuts, they felt like they were on fire. The medic set me down and began to inspect my nads.

The look on his face told me a story of impending doom, because he let out a "oh shit" and stated that "you have second degree chemical burns." The medic went to the LT and told him my problem. The LT stated that I must have done this on purpose as a way to get out of the field, and that was not going to happen on his watch. So here Iím in the middle of enemy territory with my pants down and having a medic pull dead burned skin from my balls with tweezers. Every time I would stop the medic would set me down and do his duty. My fellow comrades had a field day with me, as I continued to perform my mission as an infantryman, while looking like I had a corn cob up my ass. I given the job as rear guard, but one can imagine how hard it was to keep up. To this day I wonder how a dog with a leech problem can be extracted from the field, while a person with a great balls on fire had to stay the course and endure the pain and complete the mission. I guess as the saying goes, you are expendable, has a ring of truth.