Vietnam Personal Accounts


Personal Air Conditioner in the M48a3

by Lloyd "Pappy" Reynolds © 2012


Some may remember that we had in the M48a3 tank “Protector Collective Tank, Three-Man” unit. I recall calling it the “Par-tic-u-later Unit” I don’t know how it got that name. The unit was designed to remove toxic gases, dust and aerosols to protect the crew.

Anyway there was two of them in the tank. One in the drivers compartment and one in the turret. Each one had connections for three hoses that would connect to the crews “Tank Protective Mask” (Gas Mask). The hoses, four one for each crew member (three six foot and one nine foot) were stored in the tank.

Not expecting any gas attacks in Vietnam, these were usually left in the sponson boxes.

In the summer dry season in Vietnam it got hot, really hot in the tanks. Well I don’t remember exactly how I figured this out, I think I just turned the unit on one day. I felt cool air coming out of it. Well as the driver I had one in the drivers compartment with three hose connections. Brilliant and sneaky guy that I am, when no one was looking I put three of the hoses in the drivers compartment.

The next time we went out I connected the hoses and put one up each trouser leg and one in my dungaree shirt. Turned on the unit and, wha-la cool air through out my uniform. I don’t remember how long it took the rest of the crew to catch on (maybe a few days). But when they were dripping sweat and I wasn’t they finally figured it out. Then they all wanted their hoses back and we all got hooked up. Now each one had his own cooling system as we went our merry way.

I wonder if any of the other tankers tried this.