Vietnam Personal Accounts


by Lloyd "Pappy" Reynolds

Pappy Reynolds

     As I recall this happened sometime in late 1967 at a Battalion position called “Payable” astride route 9 in northern I Corps. 

     I was with “B” Company, 3rd Tanks and I think we were attached to 2/9 at the time.  Well any way this has to do with showers.  There wasn’t any.  There was a river running along side the position but there was no shower facilities.  We were washing in the river and it was cold. 

     Now tankers being normal scroungers, and being able to carry more gear than the grunts, we unofficially agreed that when any of us got a chance to get to the rear at Dong Ha (our Battalion forward maintaince area) we would endeavor to acquire some shower building material. 

     Well it wasn’t long before we had enough wood to build a shower stall a little bigger than a phone booth.  With two pallets for the floor so we didn’t have to stand in the mud.  Even had a spring closing door.  Regular down home country living. 

     Next came two 55 gallon drums from some source and a 175mm metal powder canister.  We had our Battalion welder cut holes in the two drums and welded the canister between the two giving us the capacity of a 110 gallon shower.  (It was a sturdy shower building.)  A shower head with a pull release was (unknowingly) donated by the Sea Bees, and the Army mess hall at Dong Ha generously gave to the tankers hygiene effort (late one night) an immersion burner. 

     Now we had our shower.  Carefully fire up the burner,  wait about 5 to 10 minutes, shower, replace you water. 

Me and Ron Shuppy.  Our shower is 
just in red.

Shower in red, Tank slot just behind truck.

     All the above took about a month to accomplish.  Mean while the grunts were still washing in the cold river. 

     Well it wasn’t long before the word got out, and next thing you know the grunt Battalion Commander asked us if we could build “him” a shower.  Our industrious tankers managed to acquire “him” a shower head, immersion burner and one drum (from the same generous sources).  Now “he” had “his” own shower.  Mean while the grunts were still washing in the cold river. 

     Late one night “he” went out to take a shower.  Not having lights in the shower “he” took it in the dark, went back to his hootch and hit the rack.  In the morning, upon waking up and looking in the mirror to shave he saw a Smurf looking back at “him”.  It seem that some one had put a load of grape Cool Aid in the water and being hot it stained and stuck.  THE TANKERS DIDN’T DO IT. 

     Coincidence.  Maybe, but by the time the color wore off there was a hot shower unit in operation down by the river for the rest of the Battalion.