Proving once again that common sense
is very uncommon

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5; Yep!  That's Five.

I was in a Jeep with my Driver returning from the Pleiku Airport with three new Lieutenants who were just reporting in.  We were enroute to the 4th Div Base at Pleiku.  I was in the front seat with the Driver and the three Lieutenants were squeezed into the rear seat.  

Things went fine until we got to the Pleiku Base gate.  Upon arrival, a young MP steps out and says "You're overloaded, Lieutenant.  You'll have to let one of your men out if you want to enter the Base."  

About this time, a couple of 5-ton trucks were in the line to enter the Base behind us. The trucks were filled with Vietnamese locals, all crammed, shoulder to shoulder, into the bed of the trucks.  They were the janitors, housekeepers & cooks, etc., working as Contractors, ready to come to work.  The idea, of course, was to build "goodwill" with the local populace and give them good paying jobs.  A "win-win" situation for rear area troops (if they were properly vetted, of course.) 

I called the MP over and said: "You see those 5-ton trucks behind us?  They are filled and overloaded.  You may recognize them.  They are the civilian locals going to work for the General Staff, the Colonels, the Sergeant-Majors and all the 1st Sergeants."  

"Now, consider this, I continued: If I have to unload ONE Lieutenant from this Jeep, I am going to give you a direct order to unload those 5-ton trucks until they have the proper load of passengers.  That means that they cannot report for work until another vehicle arrives with space available." 

"Do you really want to unload those workers and make them wait until more vehicles arrive, soldier?"

He didn't have to think long about the ramifications of what I said.

He waved us through the Gate.


submitted by

Lt Don Keith


Webmaster's Note:  On  my first (and only visit) to the Pleiku Base under the command of the 4th Infantry Division, I witnessed, first-hand, the Commanding General's Headquarters.  It had a double-front glass door entrance to an air-conditioned building.  The streets surrounding the Headquarters were actually asphalt-paved. These "streets" had STOP signs.  The MP's were issuing DRs (delinquency reports) for an assortment of driving offenses.  Officers were NOT allowed to drive a military vehicle; it was required that enlisted be the Drivers.  It was the ultimate of "chickenshit" procedures found at stateside posts in the middle of a supposed "war zone".