Not Your Ordinary Supply Run
By Gordon Delp
|I am not much at witting old stories, the
memory department does not work real well. But I think you will
remember whenever we pulled into Danang harbor, there was
usually only two ways to go ashore -- either to fetch the mail,
or with CS3 Delp to pickup food and supplies. Usually I was
permitted to take two shipmates with me on this detail. If my
memory is correct, almost everyone on board would volunteer just
to get a chance ashore, and they always knew that included a
lunch stop at the club. Sometimes I would go to the club on the
Danang Naval Station, and sometimes up to Monkey Mountain.
To retrieve these supplies became a real work of art. You
could not get anything without paying for it in coffee, steaks,
or ice cream. First stop was the mike boat landing where I would
have to make arrangements for a boat to take my truck load of
food back to the ship later that day. These fellows preferred a
20-pound can of coffee. Then on to the transportation depot to
get a truck. I never knew what kind of vehicle was waiting for
me, but after enough visits and bribes, it got to the point
where I could pick what I wanted. The truck I preferred was the
Army 6x6, and these guys preferred a case of steaks. Now my
working party and I would be off to the supply depot in Danang.
Now I know this is hard to believe, but to get my supplies at
the depot, I still had to pay off the supply personnel with
goodies, even though they had warehouses full of everything.
Normally we picked up about 10 to 12,000 pounds of food,
including meats, dry goods, produce and ice cream. Of course,
the ice cream was the last item at the end of the day. Once we
have our supply forms for pick up, then a Vietnamese checker
would be assigned to go with us. He had the keys for all the
refrigerated boxes, and would ensure that we pick up what is on
the forms. Well, one day we went to this freezer, and after
entering, I saw ground beef on one side of the box and lobster
tails on the other side. I told my crew that we were picking up
10 cases of ground beef, and I wanted them to try something --
take those cases on the other side of the box (lobster). As we
proceeded to carry out the cases, the checker counted one, two,
tree, four, and never noticed that the cases were lobster. What
a feast we had back on the Nox!
Next part of the story involved my regular lunch stop at a
club. On this particular day, I drove to Monkey Mountain. Along
with liquid refreshments and sandwiches, they always had go-go
girls on stage. Sorry to say I do not remember the fellows that
were with me that day, but if they happen to read this story, I
think they will remember. While we were enjoying our lunch, all
of a sudden sirens, whistles and horns began to blow. In front
of the club a fire truck and several other trucks pulled up. Men
ran in and hollered, "Fire on the mountain. We need all the
volunteers we can get" (or something to that effect). Here
is a room full of drunks filing out and loading on to the
trucks, including me and my shipmates. They drove us up the
mountain to the top. Everyone filed out of the trucks and were
handed shovels and rakes and then led over to a steep cliff wall
where ropes were hanging down. We had to climb to the top we
were told the brush fire was up there. Soldiers, sailors, and
marines followed orders.
When we got to the top we found ourselves in a raging forest
fire, with only rakes and shovels and no water. Obviously we
survived, but while fighting the fire, I bruised my foot badly
on a stone, could not wear my shoe for weeks. Of course I could
not tell the captain we were at the club on Monkey Mountain or
that we were heroes fighting a fire there, so I said I did it
while jumping from the truck loading supplies. To end a long
story, each time I went for supplies, my shipmates and I would
have a time of it. At least my memory tells me so.
By Gordon Delp
|Met a girl in Waikiki,
school teacher from LA. Went to visit her and her family for
Christmas 1969. She (name not remembered) and her family were
great. She suggested a couple days in Las Vegas. Shortly after
getting there I find out she wants to marry me. Packed my bag
and got out of town quickly. Got back to Pearl for New Years
Eve. Moose was using my old Rambler, I took my motorcycle and
went to a motorcycle club party, without a date.
After too much drinking, I decided I needed a woman. The
party was at a spot located behind the Air Port. About 10 miles
to Waikiki, my friends did not want to let me drive there, but
not many people stopped me from doing stupid things when I
wanted too. Headed for Waikiki, got down the road a piece, could
hardly see my head lights, thought about my friends, that I
treated poorly, only because they were concerned for me.
So I turned around and headed back to apologize. The road
behind the airport was a long curving road with big bushes
dividing two lanes of road. As usual I was flying at about 70
mph passing cars and going into sharp curve. I layed into it as
much as I could, and shure enough my wheels came out from under
me. Crashing through the bushes sliding a 100 ft. or so, did not
wear helmets then. Rolling very roughly over the road, shoes and
clothes all torn, skin torn off all over my body. First reaction
my bike engine was revving at high rpm, ran over and shut it
down, it was totaled.
The car I passed saw the accident and pulled over to help me,
took me to the army hospital just down the road (very convienent)
where they wrapped me up like a mummy with bandages. Hospital
personnel wanted to return me to the Noxubee, but I was on leave
and did not want to go back yet. You all know I had an apartment
in Waikiki, and an old car. Went back to ship had someone get my
car keys from Moose, now it is about 3 to 4 am, and like an
idiot, I drove back to the bikers party.
Had to go to the hospital to have the bandages changed daily
for a while. One night my friends Gary Hall and others, we were
out at our regular night spot Ruddies Italian Restaurant and
I was playing with the candle in the middle of the table. Lit a
little fire to my bandage. My friend Gary saw that it burned
slowly and suggested getting a picture of a war veteran on fire.
Lighting more of my bandages and having a good time taking some
pictures, I believe some other tourists joined in.
Next day had to go to hospital to have bandages changed,
medical staff could not believe their eyes, what had happened to
me. Oh nothing my friends just set me on fire for the fun of it.
Well anyway, the next month or so in the kitchen was very
difficult, the wounds were very sensitive to heat. I believe
that is the way it all happened, New Years Eve 1969.
Hope this story is entertaining to my shipmates, especially
those who participated in setting me afire. Thanks to all.