My First Introduction to Vietnam
By Don M. Brodie

Still Looking for
the Men's Room

I remember the flight from Oklahoma City to Vietnam in the summer of 1967. The trip on the C-130 was very rough, as well as very long. The thing I remember most about the flight was that when we were about three hours out of Vietnam, I needed to use the rest room in the worst way. When the plane landed in Da Nang, all I could think about was “where is the rest room.” When the back door on the C-130 dropped and I got my first view of South East Asia, it was nothing like I had been taught to expect. We had been led to believe that the country would be somewhat primitive. To my surprise, I discovered that Da Nang was the busiest place on the face of the earth, or at least the busiest place that I had ever seen. There were jets taking off three-abreast, trucks, buses, cars, jeeps, and people every where. But the thing that I needed most, I could not find -- a sign with the word "Men." I asked the first person I could where a man could relieve himself. With a point in the right direction, off I ran and made it just in time.

Just as I was feeling much better, I heard a voice. This was not just a voice of another G.I. Although the pitch of the voice might have seemed familiar, the voice was in a language I had never heard and it was getting closer to me with every word. While pondering what I should do, the door opened and a "women" asked me to move my feet so she could sweep the floor. I almost died -- Maybe this country was just as primitive as I had been led to believe. Come to find out, this was just one of the new ways of life that I would have to learn in order to live in Good old Vietnam.

It was not long afterward when I learned what "primitive" really meant. When arrived in Dong Ha, our only facilities were what we had brought with us. No longer would I search for the sign for "Men." We were relegated to using 175mm gun powder casings for urinals and old fashioned outhouses for other needs. Still though, I learned a lot that first day in country, some which I still use to this day, and others that I was more than glad to leave in Vietnam when I came home.

Don M. Brodie
Service Battery 67/68
S4 Section