I recall one Christmas (I think) we were all gathered in the last tent (way
before wooden buildings) toward the LRRP company drinking and smoking.
Gill had been to ranger school or Special Forces school or something like
that and some of us called him the bug-eater as a result.
While we were all really hammered on one fashion or other a HUGE beetle
crawled in and someone was about to step on it when Gill said "No...I want
to eat that sucker!"
It was a little too late and the bug was stepped on whereupon a foul smell
filled the tent and our eyes started burning.
"Wow!" someone yelled...that thing smells awful.
About that time another soldier came in wearing a gas mask yelling through
the filters a muted "GAS!!!"
Shoot, most of us had never used a gas mask since basic training. I looked
around and found an aviation mask (with the hose and canister) which wasn't
mine but would do.... I put it on, blew out to clear the gas and took a deep
breath. The mask collapsed on my face from the vacuum I had created and no
air came through.
I jerked the mask off and looked in the hose...it was plugged with a plastic
bag of weed.
I ran outside and into the breeze with everyone else...met by a hand-fired
flare fired by someone from the LRRP Company who had rolled the gas grenade
outside the tent.
Once the tears stopped we all had a great laugh...a holiday I will never forget.
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