We’d only be reminded once; miss the boat coming back, guilty of not obeying the rules, considered on our own and most critical of all, placing ourselves at grave risk. Curfew is impressed upon us and well, bottom line, I had no interest in finding myself in this position.
For legitimate reasons, war zone dinner time was bumped up by about an hour. The best result of this in my mind was how it freed up the crew for the rest of the evening. We were eager young men looking for adventures. After clean-up and the next morning’s breakfast set-up, we readied ourselves to go ashore.
Our ship soldiers were fed dinner and ready for rotation with the swing shift. These morning Marines were also our ride into town. It would be the graveyard shift Marines who’d return us to the ship and we’d best be on their boat coming back this way.
Bright Lights & City Nights. The Marines installed for safety on our ship, these very large lamps. They’d burn bright, one forward, one aft, and aimed down at the water surrounding our ship, all night, every night. I must say I did feel rather unassailable with all that the Marines were doing to keep the ship, its contents, us included, safe, day and night.
Getting ahead of the story with a personal thought here; I wished I would carry an AK-47 with me whenever I went ashore. Man I tell ya, once the soldiers allowed myself and a couple of the other guys to hold and get a feel for their weapons which had become an extension of their own bodies.
Admittedly it grew on me real fast! They demonstrated the gun and then offered to let us shoot them. We were surprised but accepted the offer of course! The guys made certain we understood that we would only discharge the weapon into the ocean. I fired off a few rounds aimed at the sea.
For many reasons I’ll say here and now, what an insane time that was. War I mean and the way people’s thoughts change … doing things which under other circumstances may never have taken place?