H&S Company

Stories/Anecdotes

The Showers

When I first arrived at Reasoner in August, 1965 the Battalion shared a common shower.
A small stream trickled through the camp and some enterprising person had welded
106mm Rocket canisters together to form a culvert. This culvert diverted the stream
so it discharged downculvert. This culvert diverted in the face of a large cliff-like rock.
To take a shower, one stood on a scaffold-like bamboo platform under the waterfall.
Perhaps not the most sanitary shower but certainly ingenious. The platform was some
ten feet below the top of the rock and about fifteen feet above the bottom where a large,
soapy, scummy pond had formed. One day some Marines were poking around in the pond
and caught a fat, slimy, fresh water eel. The creature was about three feet long. They brought
it back to the C.P. area and gave it to our Vietnamese barber. The guy was absolutely delighted
with it as it meant fresh meat for his family. Later, after the Sea Bees had built "strong-back"
hooches for us, aircraft fuel tanks mounted on stands were used as showers
Semper Fi,
Jerry Giroldi

The Barber


A Vietnamese civilian, whose name I never knew, served as the Battalion
barber at Reasoner. He operated from a little stall set up in the middle of
the C.P. area across from the Armory. I think it cost 100P for a haircut. A
visit to this guy was quite an experience as his equipment was rather
rudimentary--a pair of hand clippers, a chipped, rusty straight razor and a
gap-toothed comb. Although the guy spoke no English, he chattered incessantly
as he clipped and scraped at our gourds. It was a little unnerving when he wielded
the razor; especially on eyelids and ears. I swear he would stick that damn razor
in your ear and twirl it. When the haircut was done he would rub some kind of liquid
called "Bellflower Gunfix" on your shorn locks. It smelled like banana cream pie and
even at a distance, you could tell if a person had just been to the barber. It was a courtesy
that the barber was able to supplement his family's daily munu. Everyday during noon
chow, as we lined up to get into the mess hall or wash our mess gear, the barbers wife
would appear carrying two-five gallon coffee cans suspended from a bamboo pole.
She would flash us a black toothed beetle-nut smile and start scooping scraps and swill
out of the G.I. cans and into her coffee cans.Needless to say, but in the 100 degree-plus
temperatures this quickly produced a strong, unpleasant odor and attracted swarms of flies,
not to mention the queasiness it caused in the recently fed, or about to be fed Marines.
Someone in authority finally decided that it would be prudent for the barber and his wife
to wait until everyone was long gone from the chow line before they did the grocery shopping.


Jerry Giroldi