Another home for a while, was the back of a two and a half ton truck. My furniture consisted of two folding chairs, a packing crate for a desk and a camp cot. Just as my NCOs liked their privacy for entertaining, I could call the truck my one-man officer’s mess. Knowing that I had the luxury of private quarters, the artillery assistant quartermaster, “Papa” Dionne, visited me one evening bearing two bottles of NAAFI champagne. We popped the cork on one bottle and thought the wine quite pleasant, but without the kick of rye or gin. I was feeling a bit of a buzz by the time we got through the second bottle – just enough to put me to sleep as soon as my friend had left. Some time later, I was awakened by a thumping on the tailgate and Papa calling my name. The champagne had obviously got to him too, because he had driven his jeep off the road and needed rescuing. The incident could have been featured in Michael Green’s book, “The Art of Coarse Drinking.”
That particular encampment served as a Korean “storage in transit” site. I learned one day that the Koreans had some sort of local government when a couple of fellows, one sporting an armband, came into our campsite. They had a couple of shovels and gestured to me that they wanted to dig into an embankment that once might have been a dike around a rice paddy. When I nodded OK, they dug away in a precise location until they uncovered an Ali Baba-like earthenware crock about three feet high. I assumed that it contained a family’s treasures or a food supply and had been buried before enemy occupation. Both men looked pleased at their find, and while I empathized with their satisfaction, my curiosity was not strong enough for me to ask to see its contents. The fact that some civilians were gathering their belongings struck me as a hopeful sign that some peace was returning to that embattled land. It affirmed my faith in the Koreans and in the United Nations cause.