Guns & Moms & Grandmas

| July 14, 2020

I read this article on Cherries Writer’s blog yesterday, and really sympathized with this poor fellow.

It was January 1968. The Tet Offensive was well underway. There were firefights galore and Hell wanted its pay.

One of the Lieutenant’s three machine guns was down for repairs, so when he wrote his letter home to Mom, he included that he was short one machine gun in his letter. (I believe some of you gunners refer to this particular model as “a pig”. ) He forgot to include that it was in the repair shop having a spa day.

The result? Mom and Grandma get together on the phone, disturb a US Senator they both know in his sleep, demand that he “do something” about it, and before long, a helo with a Colonel dropped the new, but not cleaned up yet, machine gun in his lap. Meanwhile, his MIA 3rd machine gun had returned from the repair shop and when it was all over, the Army made him turn over the extra gun, the one which Grandma and Mom coerced (bullied) the Senator into sending to him in the field. In a shipping crate. Delivered by a colonel in a helicopter. Not cleaned up or usable out of the box. And he’s in the middle of some fierce turf disputes with Charlie & Co.

The full story is here, with photos. Enjoy it with a cold one, and if you were there, I’m glad you got back in mostly one piece.

https://cherrieswriter.com/2020/06/28/my-mothers-machine-gun/

Category: "The Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves", Army, Viet Nam, Vietnam

Comments (26)

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  1. Hack Stone says:

    Hack Stone was busy keeping The Iraqi Republican Guard at bay by sitting on his ass at the pier fixing radios for BSSG-7 during Desert Shield. Apparently some GI complained to a reporter that he did not have any toilet paper. Hack Stone receives a huge box from his sister, which contained, that’s right, rolls and rolls of toilet paper. When all that you have been consuming for the last three weeks are MRE’s, you are not spending a lot of time in the shitter. Hack still recalls his first Desert Shield MRE shit. It was like giving birth. Brings a tear to this old Marine’s eye. I wonder what he made of himself.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      The real question is “Did Hack Stone share his TP fortune with his close personal friends?”

    • Lthrnck1775 says:

      Hack… so were you at Jubail with 6th Comm by any chance? I routinely had to turn in our fried Mk-110 radios (RT-524?)

    • David says:

      “I wonder what he made of himself.” A Democrat politician.

    • USAFRetired says:

      I got a chuckle from this as my mobility bag included a four pack of Charmin. I later added some other things like a shoulder holster. Because I was deployed once during SOUTHERN WATCH and they thought it might be a good idea to selectively arm aircrew. It seems the “armory” had M9s to issue but no holsters. Carrying one in the leg pocket of a flight suit was a non-starter.

      My brother-in-law was a Army med log type when he was unpacking in country during DESERT SHIELD he discovered someone had shipped a couple dozen M9s and no magazines. My sister asked me to send him some in a Care package. Thereafter my personal mobility bag included magazines for those and for M16 for good measure. without mags those so called assault weapons are very clumsy single shot weapons.

      • Hack Stone says:

        Reminds Hack of Private Walker from Parr’s Island. Remember that cadence “I’m a stupid mother effervescent, I forgot my magazine”? He was in the same fighting position as Private Hack Stone, and he did not bring his magazines. Private Walker said that he could rapidly insert his rounds into the chamber, and he didn’t need magazines. Hack asked for a demonstration. Numb nuts couldn’t get even one round in there. He was one of the recruits that Sgt Jones said should have been smothered in his crib by his mother.

  2. OWB says:

    Yep. Moms can make very interesting things happen when they are inclined.

    Have a Mom and the Senator story of my own from a few decades ago. While not on this level of critical to sustaining life, it was equally dramatic. No guns, but it did involve a passport, a Senator, and the hand delivery of said passport. From a processing center nearly 1000 miles away. On a Sunday.

    Good mothers – it’s why we love them so.

    Great story. Thanks for sharing it, Ex-PH2.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      You are quit welcome!

    • 26Limabeans says:

      “Yep. Moms can make very interesting things happen when they are inclined”

      Had not written home for a few weeks. My mom somehow got a hold
      of someone and out of the blue I was ordered into the CO’s
      office where I had to sit there and write a letter to mom.

  3. Skyjumper says:

    Not a Mom story, but still in the family gettin’ things done story.

    My platoon’s “60” gunner never was issued a sidearm. Tried as our Lt. could, all of the 1911’s were “reserved” for base camp officers.

    He wrote his Dad and after awhile, in a “care package” from home, a .38 wheel gun (with a box of ammo or two) showed up while we were humping.

    How Dad ever got that thing thru via USPS to VN is beyond us. All I know is that our gunner had one huge grin on his face when he opened his package. (smile)

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      I’ll bet he did, Skyjumper. That’s a story for the campfires.

      • Skyjumper says:

        After posting that story Ex, I began reminiscing a bit.

        I remember when he rotated home (before I did), he was concerned about getting caught shipping it home or carrying it home in his duffle bag,so he “donated” it to our new gunner.

        Thanks for nudging some good memories of the guys I served with, Ex. (smile)

    • rgr769 says:

      For some reason, none of the M-60 gunners in my company in the Viet of the Nam had 1911’s. I suspect the powers that be decided it would motivate the gunners to keep their guns clean and operable. Plus, it likely reduced pistol mishaps. I only carried a 1911 when I was riding in a Jeep outside the wire.

      • USMC Steve says:

        That is entirely possible. I saw more than a few young junior Marines that I would not trust with a pistol of any kind, and particularly not an M1911A1. They do take some training to master.

    • 26Limabeans says:

      Bought a 1911 from a guy in DaNang but it did not have a
      thumb safety. Claw wasn’t handy so I wrote home to my
      dad and he bought one at a local shop and mailed it to me.

      • rgr769 says:

        During my Junior year in college, my father bought me a 1911A1 for $75.00 as a Xmas gift. When I arrived in the FGR (my first PCS duty station), it was in my duffel bag. The MP’s confiscated it because it had “U.S. Property” stamped on its frame. I was never able to recover it because I went 11 weeks without a day off to take my proof of purchase sent by my dad. When I finally made it to the MP station in Frankfurt, they said too bad, after 60 days we put them back in the supply system.

  4. SgtM says:

    My mom sent not one, but 2 huge boxes of home made banana bread and cookies to me in boot camp. The first time the DI’s were amused. The second time not so much. After screaming over and over again that I asked her to not do this the second time while doing mountain climbers etc for awhile. One of the DI’s screams out “who’s your mom, Betty F-n Crocker?” The other DI’s had to pull their covers over their faces cause they were all laughing.

    • timactual says:

      Consider yourself lucky that she didn’t send you jelly donuts.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Back in the Days of Bygone, when I was at the building that the CIA tore down and replaced with an ugly-ugly building, my mother decided to send me a package at work, with a loaf cake (chopped apple cake, good when fresh) that was wrapped in foil.
      It was hot, humid and the sky was threatening rain. It was the beginning of August, too. I opened that box, and found two loaves of chopped apple cake that had gone completely moldy and were unfit to even give to starving hogs.
      My division officer said that I should probably toss them out before someone tried to eat them, but I suggested returning them to my mother with a note to NOT send any more food to me, period. While he thought my idea was amusing, he said “No, toss them out”, so I did.
      And I sent a brief note to my mother telling her to NOT send me any more food, period.

      • Hack Stone says:

        Hack Stone was up at Camp Fuji with Delta Company 1st Tracked Vehicle Battalion. We were based out of Camp Schwab on Okinawa, but went to mainland for some live fire exercises. Hack Stone’s cousin, being the patriotic American that she is, sent this GI deployed overseas a Philadelphia care package, which consisted of Tastykakes, a couple issues of The Philadelphia Inquirer, and soft pretzels. Well, that package had to make its way across CONUS to the FPO point of departure, sent to Okinawa, reaches the Battalion Mail room, then forwarded to Camp Fuji. Probably in transit for two months or more. Hack opens the box, with the Usual Suspects hovering around to get a sample of what lies inside, and those soft pretzels had a green coat of mold on them. Throw them out? Hell no!!! We ate them. Besides, you never know when that penicillin might come in handy.

  5. 5th/77th FA says:

    The bride of a certain beloved Gun Bunny sent a letter to Senator Sam Nunn in re of an ongoing 6 months payroll problem concerning, not only allotment monies but also regular pay and allowances. The 2 star that transported said member of the E4 mafia to F&A was not amused when the Major said he was working on the problem and it was all caused by the transition to the new JUMPS and Fort Ben Harrison. 2 star told Major K that if he didn’t want to end up as a butter bar again that the “problem” would be fixed “while I wait right here.” On the way back to the Kaserne the 2 star had a little “chat” with said beloved gun bunny on how even unsponsered dependents of a Troop was the responsibility of the troop and the situation should have been handled by the local CoC. Upon proving to the 2 star that CoC was/and had been fully aware of the situation, he proceeded to have a little “chat” with them. A lot of “reply by endorsement” went on…for awhile. Seems like at some points in time, high ranking ossifers didn’t like getting an official inquiry from a member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee.

    Cool story Ex and Tanks for the Linky. I put him on my bookmark bar thingie. Gonna forward this to a Compatriot that is working an embellishers line of BS. Seems as if this story happened to this POS embellisher. Be kinda hard since the POS was in a GANG unit and the closest he got to VN was Fort Lost in the Woods.

  6. Old NFO says:

    Ah yes, pissed off mothers with ‘connections’… The stories are legend (and probably ALL true)

  7. timactual says:

    In late Jan. & early Feb. ’68 I was in the US on leave en route to Vietnam. Kind of harshed my mellow, ya know?

    A month or so after I got to Vietnam we were camping out in the boonies when the log bird came in and I was summoned to the CP, posthaste. When I got there I was told I had a visitor, a Catholic priest whom I had met a couple of times back in the states through a mutual friend. As you probably know, having visitors in the field is a fairly unusual occurrence and, him being a priest and all, I was a bit concerned.

    He drew me aside for a confidential chat and asked me if I was doing okay, if everything was alright. I was a little puzzled. I replied that aside from being in an infantry company on “active service” everything was just ducky. He then informed me that our mutual friend, who was like a mother to me, had asked him to check up on me.

    This poor guy (I can’t even remember his name) flew from Saigon to northern I corps and took a helicopter out into the woods just to check up on me for a friend. He wasn’t even a chaplain, he was some kind of civilian Priest. Never saw him again.

    Had he waited a couple of months I might have availed myself of whatever assistance he could have provided, divine and temporal.

    • rgr769 says:

      Welcome home, fellow Viet of the Nam rifle and rucksack humper. There are only a handful of us commenting on this site. I think I can count on only one hand the number of times I had a “sky pilot” (chaplain) come to the boonies to conduct a service. Except for higher-highers, I never had anyone come out to my company for a visit in the field. However, when I only had about four days left in country, I flew out on the “Hot A” flight to visit a fellow company commander in the bush.

      • Inbred Redneck says:

        Never had a sky pilot come to visit by we lucky guys in MRF did have Donut Dollies who would come out in the mud to cheer us up if we couldn’t get to Camp Bearcat where they were. Bless them girls.
        http://www.donutdolly.com/

        As for the 1911, we had a guy who carried a Thompson. Since all the ossifers carried .45’s there was plenty of ammo available. He had a couple of stick magazines, as I recall.