A&A missions is what I called them. At the time I was a Spec.4. Normally I was a crewchief/doorgunner, but in the Cav your MOS didn't mean all that much--you did whatever was needed at the time.This day I was driving a deuce and a half truck, running down to the beach and getting potable water. I liked this detail. It gave me an opportunity to screw off while at the beach, and at Phan Thiet we had a nice beach. As I drove out of the Company area down a road that was very sandy that ran alongside the air strip, I noticed an Air Force plane had landed, as so many did. I always took note of the tail numbers, the last 3 were the flight number. I saw the unloading of two pallets, one American beer, the other waxed boxes with that circle USDA on them. Oh my God, my heart stopped, as did my truck. A rather overweight airman, driving a fork lift just set them to the side and went back into his little Connex and continued to read his comic book. I was freaking. Without a plan, I just drove like a mad man around to the end of the runway and straight for those pallets. I started to formulate a plan in my mind. I took off my Army shirt and lowered the tail gate over the insignias of the truck. I screeched to a halt in front of the airman,  jumped out trying to act all worried and concerned as to where the cargo was that came off of the flight--whatever...(as if I didn't know). I started screaming "the Colonel is gonna be pissed. Where's it at!!!"

He said "the flight already took off and the cargo is here." I yelled, "Gsss, man get it loaded in the truck. He's really upset." I couldn't believe this guy. He went for it. He got on his forklift truck and loaded it on the back of mine. As he started to lift the tail gate, I said, "Don't bother. I'm late," and took off. I was grabbing gears like a mad man to get out of there, but noticed that as I was heading towards the Army location, he stared with a blank "Oh S***" look about him. I just kept driving. As I got into our Company area, I pulled up in front of our 1st Sgt.'s hex tent, a no nonsense type of guy. I yelled at him to get a detail and unload this cargo. He looked at me like he was gonna rip me out of the truck for talking to him that way. Then he saw the load. Without pause, he immediately got a detail going. We had everybody, including officers, helping unload this precious cargo, throwing it into a large bunker. The cooks were making 55 gallon drums into grills. We had way more than we could use, so we invited adjoining units--1st or 2nd of the 7th Cav and, I think, some Engineers, too. A jeep approached with an Air Force major and a Captain. We were like the cat with feathers around our mouths. But a captain of ours talked to them and should have gotten an Academy Award for his acting. Like..."What? Wow, that's too bad. We haven't seen it."

That day that turned into night was a wonderful thing. Everybody had beer and more steaks than we could eat. As I stood back and observed it all, everyone was smiling, feeling good. This was different from our everyday thing. It was good. I did nothing particularly brave or heroic, as so many did, but I sure felt good that I was able to make a bunch of guys smile and forget the war for a moment in time. It was good!  There are more stories I'll tell another time. I'd like to hear from all of you. I know you have these types of events from then. Let's hear them!

Shortly later I was promoted to buck five, not sure if this caper had anything to do with it, but it could have!

PS, I apologize to the United States Air Force. We love you guys, but damn, you had so much. I just borrowed it...



Originally posted on 1st Cavalry Association Guest Book, May 22, 2003
by, and included here with permission from R. Thom Jefferson.

İR. Thom Jefferson, 2009, All Rights Reserved.