I'm not a stripper…but I shure got stripped!!
A new FO, Lt Don Keith, reports for duty

Got orders to report to B/1/35 as their new FO.  Was ready to load up and ship out. I ate breakfast and then went to the LZ to get a chopper to some unknown hill.  We waited most of the day for the fog to lift.  Then the pilot yelled, "We have an opening. Lets Go!"  We flew in patches of fog; looking out, all I could see was huge trees every now and then. The pilot must have told the doorgunner to get me ready.  I could not believe what I was seeing: he was just hovering and put one of the skids on what appeared to be a log dock built out of the side of this hill. I jumped out.

I walked up to the Captain Nealon, the Company Commander of B/1/35.   He looked at me and without even a handshake, he said, "Give me your canteens." I had 3 at that time. He took two of them, took a small drink, and handed both to the 1st Sergeant to give water to the group of grunts that had formed up to have a drink. I was told they had been out of water for days with no resupply due to being fogged in.  He then asked what else I had in my TWO packs.  One of the two was my old boy scout pack I had brought from home.  He emptied out the contents of both.  He called over a grunt from hell and said, "Here…now you now have pants." He then gave another grunt my extra boots. I stuck two socks full of C-rations to bring with me and, of course, those disappeared.  Nealon told me that "I was overloaded…that I could never hump the bush with that much stuff.  And, if push came to shove, I could never run if I really had to." (BS to that, but it made me think). I must have been a real sight for these guys…an FNG, one with clean clothing, bags of gear, food and water, and even a Bowie knife (see my Photo Gallery for the real one).  Either I was ripe for the picking or I looked like the S-4 who got sent to the field.  Found out later that the fog that delayed my Huey from shipping me out to these guys was the same reason that had not seen any resupply ships for days on end.  I was a walking resupply load.

Well now, I could just see myself writing my first letter home.  "Dear Ma, you wouldn't believe what happened to me!  After I reported for duty, the Captain of the company took all my stuff!  So, would you please send me another pair of boots, an extra pair of pants, and…"


Lt Don Keith
FO, B/

Back to War Stories