I got to DaNang via staging in Pendleton and through Okinawa. With a history of pneumonia already from the tear gas chamber at ITR in '67, my '69 arrival in Vietnam after the staging area training's own tear gas choral emsemble had my lungs blowing dark green chunkies. The Corpsman at the 2 day transition/gear storage shenanigans on Okinawa shrugged, handed me two 1000 mg Bayer aspirin, and quipped, "Can't help you here, kiddo. Go die in Danang... NEXT Marine!" I actually laughed. You had to be there to see the insanity and chaos... revisited on the way home 2 tours later. The Navy really is way-cool. My uncle was a Sailor in WWII. Besides, they're actually our mom. We're fed, clothed, taken to "after school games" and church. "She" also pimp-slaps our butts when naughty. If you were REALLY crazy, you were "grounded" in your room... at Portsmouth Naval Prison, NH. When I got to my unit after a day in the Danang runway transit barracks, with the self-cleaning and debugging screens from insects compliments to the chameleons skittering about all night, the MACS-4 "Doc" up on Monkey Mountain (Son Tra) scowled at the minute flecks of blood in my green chunked sputum sample, and hissed, "He said WHAT?" Our unit "limo," a '48 canvas topped weapons carrier, tossed me into the DaNang Navy Hospital down by Marble Mountain.
The Navy pulmonary physician laughed and told me I'd hit the jackpot for locations with my medical history. He said Son Tra is nicknamed the "Lungs of DaNang" because the botanicals yield an exceptional oxygen level year around. He added the precip there is like being inside a nebulizer from the saline in the sea breezes coupled with pure water in mist form from the daily "duty cloud" at 4 pm. He was correct. We lived pretty much outside in plywood two story SeaBee-built hootches with sideways storm rain, white-misted cloud, and critters everywhere. Axis deer, macaws, red-legged duoc langurs, birds, an entomologist's dream with insects, and ripped quads from running up and down steep grades and stairways like Hopi's on caffeine at Arizona's First Mesa. A book storage box of slides and print negatives has my grandkids going crazy. "Grandpa, why do you call the M3A1 Grease Gun sexy?" and "What's a blooper?" I'll just share some moments that still get me chokey. My lil' bro, who was a Marine tanker, just laughs it off as being "a Marine Thing." Semper Fi