What follows is an excerpt from “Sole Surviving Sons, a Marine Tanker in Vietnam“. The book is unpublished as of yet and is a Marine odyssey in Vietnam. Please comment if you would like to hear more…..
Additional excerpts…..
Although these short stories stand on their own, they suffer greatly from having the art and photos stripped out as well as being out of context. My book takes the form of months, not chapters and each month is prefaced by one letter that I sent home and paraphrasing of others….and then the real reality.



by D.

     Bugs, bugs, bugs. I think Vietnam held the patent on weird creatures big and

small. It had mosquitoes, leeches, flies, worms, beetles, spiders, centipedes, and assorted

critters no one had ever seen before. Not to mention the plants that glowed in the dark.

     One of my earliest experiences was with a spider. I had only been in country for

about a month. I opened my eyes one morning, wondering why my vision was

obstructed. There were these dark lines, like the fingers of a black hand, running across

my field of vision. I unconsciously brushed my hand over my eyes, and knocked the

biggest spider I have ever seen from my face.

     The furry bugger had decided to take a little nap on my face while I slept. He

must have been 9 or 10 inches across. The dark lines that I had been looking through

were his legs. Apparently, it was harmless, but it still managed to scare me shitless. I

was not accustomed to insects the size of dinner plates.

     Later, while posted at ASP (Ammo Supply Point #1), I would run into one of his cousins. I was sitting on

watch with my left arm resting on the top of the sandbag wall of the bunker. It was hot,

as usual, and I had my sleeves rolled up. I suddenly felt something crawling along my

arm. I looked down to see what appeared to be an African Chief’s tiger tooth necklace.

You know, one tooth facing up, the other down. This necklace was walking across my

arm. Only for a moment. I jumped up, freaked out, and chambered a round in my M-14

as I shook this example of the stone age off of me. The noise woke Roberts as I was

starting to seriously consider shooting that monstrous bug. He sat up and looked at the

thing on the bunker floor and said it was a centipede. It was like no centipede I’d ever

seen before and I wanted nothing further to do with it. I kicked it out of the bunker while

Roberts laughed.

     Our early patrols almost had us shooting up the landscaping. That is until we

grew used to the fact that this country had PLANTS that glowed in the dark, like a

luminous watch dial. You could walk down a trail and see these faint greenish glows up

ahead, off to the sides of the path. Until you saw patches of them a few times and felt

them to make sure they were real, it was spooky. You felt like you were walking the

moors, in some Hollywood movie, with the Wolf-man getting ready to howl not far off in

the distance.

      The final insult that the bugs gave me was to turn me into a Gook. I woke up one

morning and while shaving, I noticed that my eyelids had puffed up and the folds in them

had disappeared. The swelling had also slanted my eyes. I finished shaving and went up

to see the Corpsman. When I showed him my eyes he said, “Yeah, there’s a lot of that

goin’ around.” I gave him a dirty look and said, “Very funny, but what the hell caused

it?” He told me that he was serious about there being a lot of it. He had been seeing a lot

of cases, probably caused by insect bites. He gave me some antibiotics and said that the

swelling would probably go away in a day or so. It did, but in the interim, I was the

Battalion’s resident Caucasian Gook.

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11 thoughts on “BUGS AND OTHER LIFE FORMS”

  1. Yeah, but what do you use as a “Sheepdog” to wrangle them.
    Harry, only you could come up with a comment like this on such an off the wall story.
    I’ll leave the insect entrees to my chickens. Regards, D.

  2. D,
    My pit bulls seem to round up every nasty critter thay can find and leave it (abused, but often still living) on my porch. Let me see if they are up to herding centipedes.

    My oldest cousin was in Udorn (1972ish). He told stories of having a unit zoo consisting of various bugs such as you describe.

    BTW, it’s a pleasure to have one’s singular talents recognized. Really, it was a good post. Keep them coming.

  3. medic 66-67 Nam. Good post. Got me thinking (not always a good thing :)). You said M14 we must have been there about the same time. Welcome home!

  4. Theoldman:
    Yeah that venerable old bangstick dates me. I transitioned from the M14 to M16 around the end of 67 just before I went to a Gun Co. and life with a 1911 and greasegun and amtracs full of Chicom toys. Same to ya Doc!!!
    Regards, D.

  5. D, one of the good things about being a SeaBee was we got to swab the hootch floor with diesel fuel twice a week, it realy did keep the bug populatin down, John.

  6. Oh wow D ~ dish size spiders ~ gave me the eebie jeebies 🙂 I’d jump a yard too but then my curiosity would have me looking it over ~ friend or foe? Thank you for that insight. My first experience w oversized bugs was living in Maui. One morning I woke up, with my mate tapping me on my shoulder to turn over, but as I turned over, I saw he was across the room. Upon closer inspection what tapped me on my shoulder was still there and it was a roach the size of a thumb! Ahhh ~ even small size bugs had me rechecking where I walked and what may be sleeping in my bed that wasn’t welcome. As its Hawaii, I often walked around barefoot, not after I tried to pick up a stray black string that was on the floor; that supposed string, lifted its tail and was ready to strike my fingers. A scorpion! Everywhere one lives, there’ll be some sort of bug, critter etc ~ always best to investigate what’s in your area and if it may be friend or foe.


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