"Goodbye, Charlie"

There was a theory among "careerists", much better known as "lifers", that our stay in Vietnam would be brief.  Since we hadn't had a "war" in over a decade, and this is only one available at present, you had best get your "ticket punched".

Well, that was my "two-cents", anyway,  as to why an officer could only serve six months in a command position.  You got your "ticket punched" and gave someone else a turn.  "Combat Command" time was a powerful item posted on your 201 file.  Of course, you had to survive that command time and not be a danger to your troops in the process.

Well, Capt Charlie Murray not only "survived" his combat command time, he was a darned good Infantry company commander.  So, we felt some sadness and trepidation  when he relinquished his command at the end of six months.

Those six months came to an end on 11Jan67...in the field.   Being a Redleg, I was not even remotely familiar with the traditions of the Blue Cords when it came to farewell parties.   You could certainly scratch cake and ice cream, cuz' that wasn't gonna happen.  But, oh, yeah...there definitely was a farewell tradition!  Although not formally invited to the party, there wasn't anyplace I could go, so I became a bystander to the ceremony which was about to begin.

The "First Shirt" lined the Company up in formation.  With everyone standing at attention, he hollers out: "Let's sing Captain Murray a farewell hymn!  Ready?  He clears his throat and hums the "pitch-key" for all to follow.  And then he began: "HYMN! HYMN!   F**K  HIM!!"  I damned near fell down laughing.  But...there was more!  With the troops still at attention, the First Shirt shouts: "Now, it's time to sing HOD-JA!"  Not being an authority on military music or otherwise, I had no idea what kind of song "HOD-JA"  could be.  But, I was about to find out.

The whole company began singing: "HOD-JA!  oh-whoa-oh, HOD-JA,.... HOD-JA like to..... KISS MY ASS!"

That did it; I was on the ground laughing.  The "farewell" was more like "to heck with you for leaving us!"

When I departed from the Redlegs, the only thing I heard was "Hey, the Colonel's chopper is waitin' on ya!"   Good enough; sounded like a "song" to me!

Lt Dennis Dauphin