Send me Back!
by Terry Savely
In mid-August of 68 I arrived at Camp Enari and was assigned to the 2/35th as battalion RTO and sent to the battalion CP near Ban Me Thout. For the next nine months I stayed in the field on the forward fire bases supporting the line companies, never getting to go back to the rear. Finally, in May of 1969 I was told I could take my R&R and I was very excited. The only choice I was given was Taiwan but that was fine with me. All I wanted at that my moment of notification was to get to the rear for a hot shower and a hot meal in the mess hall. >>>>> I was choppered in to Enari, found 2/35th HQ and headed to the mess hall for the hot meal. To my surprise the battalion doctor was at the entrance and I assumed he was waiting to go in. Not so, he was inspecting hands for cleanliness. He inspected mine and would not allow me in until I scrubbed them, cleaned my nails and got clean fatigues. Man was I shocked, then pissed about such BS. But I did as told. There was a nice shower area and a clerk was able to find clean fatigues that fit. We not to the mess hall and ate a meal by myself.
Later that day I hooked up with a hometown buddy of mine who was a clerk in division headquarters. We went to the PX and drank beer for several hours until we were stumbling drunk. >>>>> As we were returning to our respective barracks we were rolled by four or five base camp commando's and they took all of our money. So now, I had no money for my R&R and was scheduled to leave the next day. When I made it back to the barracks (b 2/35 barracks) I told the guys what happened. Guess what they did... they pooled their money to around $400 so I was able to take my R&R.>>>>> When I returned from R&R, The first sergeant told me since I only had three months remaining I could stay in the rear if I wanted to. I told him there was no way I would stay in that division base camp because of all the BS, I wanted to go back out and be with my battalion brothers that were true soldiers. >>>>> He looked at me and said I was being foolish but he seemed to understand where I was coming from.