LZ Margo and the DMZ (continued)

Jungle Life

During those days we rarely if ever bathed or shaved. Our clothing showed the wear and tear of operating in triple-canopy jungle.

 

Our boots held up surprisingly well. Each one bore the wearer's dog tag in its lacing. It wasn't lost on us that the tags' purpose there was to identify the leg in case it became detached from the rest of its owner.

Our bodies were covered with a film of grime. Any small cut from razor-sharp elephant grass or a spiny branch festered into jungle rot.

We drank from streams, and hoped the Halazone tablets would kill the bad stuff in the water. They usually did, although most of us experienced bouts of dysentery from drinking contaminated water at some point while in Vietnam.

The troops would catch long-tailed lizards sometimes, collar them with comm wire, and pit them against each other in little reptile battles.

Long-tailed lizards fight it out for bits of C-ration ham and lima beans, a meal only fit for feeding lizards. Note the dog tag in each boot's lacing. Photo courtesy of Alan Green.

We saw large, black, evil-looking millipedes skittering through the leaf litter underfoot. When night fell, we could hear them, or so we imagined.

 

And we saw snakes, and lizards that were almost snakes with long bodies and tiny, stubby feet.

(c) 2019, DMZ Rats of Battalion Landing Team 2/26. All rights reserved.