B Battery Stories

The 1/92nd Field Artillery
Association - Vietnam

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The Book

by Jay Livesay

I did NOT want to become the battery recorder. I wanted to be on the guns, and that was it! I had spent three months on the guns out at Ben Het, and that is where I wanted to spend the rest of my tour. The First Sergeant had put in a good word for me, and so I unwillingly took over the recorders job. 

As I learned my duties, I was introduced to a 2nd Lieutenant's pet project, a three ring binder that contained all the pertinent data that concerned the running of the platoon at the firebase. It contained rounds fired, rounds on hand, personnel, and the Vietnamitization program. I might explain here that it was the lieutenant's project, but it was my duty to actually compile, and record the data in the book. I would write down the numbers, and try to make them come out right during the double check. The success rate was very low. 

We were at Ben Het a Montagnard stronghold, and there were darn few Vietnamese to be pacified, but the lieutenant kept after me to put something in the book under that heading. During one discussion, I asked him just what I should write, and he told me, "Everything we do for the Vietnamese!" 

Still unclear, I dutifully wrote my estimation of B Batteries vietnamese pacification program. My words remained unread until the day the Colonel showed up for a big inspection. 

I forget if he was from Battalion, or 52nd Group, but the Colonel, and all the entourage were there to check us out thoroughly. The lieutenant had been nervous for days waiting for the inspection, and now it was his time to shine. He pulled out The Book! He began reading from the pages about rounds expended, and fuses used, and the more he read, the more he liked it. The more he liked it, the more he read. He couldn't stop when he got to the Hearts and Minds page, and read to the Colonel, and his team what I had written in big bold letters as my estimation of what we had done for the vietnamese in the area, "GIVE CHOP-CHOP."

The rest of the inspection went downhill from there. Before the inspection team had left, the lieutenant found me, and in front of a group of fellow enlisted men asked me who had written GIVE CHOP-CHOP in HIS book! 

I acted dumbfounded, and asked in a clear voice, "B Batterie's Pacification Program says GIVE CHOP-CHOP?" 

Everyone broke into general laughter, except the lieutenant, who stomped back to his hooch, never to mention the incident again. I never had to put another piece of data into that book!


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