The "hottest machine" put to the "coldest" use

When I became the FDO for "B" Battery,  we had a FADAC we called "Freddie".  We used it quite often, in fact, we did all our "intel" targets and H&I fires with it.  I became the "generator expert" by default and spent a lot of time trying to keep it running.  In fact, we had 2 generators: one we used for Freddie and the other for our radios.  Our Freddie had a very substantial protective case.  Typically we would remove the top of the case and put Freddie in one corner of the FDC still nestled in the bottom of the container. In early 69 we were on an LZ northwest of Pleiku and had been there quite a while, which is to say we were subject to a lot of visits from well meaning senior officers.  They delved into all manners of inspecting our defenses and pointing out the lack of initiative in our use of sandbags, etc.  Historically during these visits someone would become interested in Freddie and how it functioned.  Then, of course, they usually wanted a demonstration which meant that, no matter what was going on, we had to fire up the generator and invent a mission for them.  Prior to one of the visits myself and Russ Owen, the other FDO, decided we would be ahead of the game if we made Freddie "disappear" until the visit was over.  We instructed the FDC crew to box Freddie up and store it out of sight for a while. After several hours of searching, we couldn't find the lid for the container. The FDC guys were unusually quiet about the missing lid.  Finally, much later, the lid was found concealed underneath a cot and amazingly filled with ice and a case of honest, real world Budweiser. We were duly impressed with the guys in that they had somehow gotten a case of beer that wasn't Black Label or Falstaff and had the connections to keep a supply of ice for it. We were less impressed by the fact that they were using the protective case for Freddie as the storage for everything. Their defense was that they had done it before and Freddie still functioned as expected, which is to say it was slow, erratic and temperamental.  No one was willing to allow a case of Budweiser to suffer just to protect a machine.

I would have been more sympathetic if they had found an equally honorable use for that #!*#%&* generator.


Lt Don Blankin|