Banana Rum

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From about July 68 to Apr. 69 I had the pleasure of being assigned to the ferry crossing of the Song-Tu-Bon located at “Liberty Bridge” about halfway between An-Hoa and Hill 37. From time to time,not often,we would venture into the Ville of Dai-Loc ,located near Hill 37 to purchase some services and other items. The Locals made a beverage made from bananas we called it banana rum, don’t know what they called it, but it was one of those drinks that you never really knew what the alcohol content was. It was like drinking Sloe Gin went down smooth but after a few drinks POW! Sit down,drink,but don,t get up to fast or you might fall. Banana Rum, the original Jungle Juice. What reminded me is that one of my buddies is making his version of Jungle Juice for the Super Bowl. Harry 1371

17 comments

I was with Delta 7th engineers on hill 37 in 67, 68. we swept road half way to AN HOA daily
crossing the Song-Tu-Bon via the ferry located at “Liberty Bridge. I remember hill 55 catching hell on night and 37 the next. There was no going outside the wire at night (unless on patrol) Let along going to Dia Lac. “Watch for the cooking fires to start going out”

A Smith,

Was at An HOA in ’70 and visited that Ville. We used to call it Tiger Piss, along with the Jap rice beer.
The area around An HOA was called Arizona Territory.
Never trusted that stuff.

Ed Ski,

Any comments about Dong Ha? I was With FLSG BRAVO.
We were on the south side of the base, up on a hill. i was 3516, mechanic, lots of action in 68 69. They blew up the ammo dump,
B52s flying to Khe San. incoming artillery. Seem like our shops were a target..

Rick Davidson,

I was in the tower @Liberty bridge just before tet 69, I was with 11th marines.

Jerry knavel,

Spent several months at An Hoa from Nov 69 until we turned over to the ARVNS. I remember when they told us we were surrounded by 5000 NVA regulars and the plan was they would have complete control of Liberty Bridge. The whole valley was lit up for three days and we drove across the bridge on our way back to Da Nang. I understand that An Hoa has now reverted back to the jungle, but I still remember having been shot at from inside the wire.
Suck a Lovely Place….

Sgt. T. Golden

Tom Golden,

Harry…..When you mentioned female services it brought back a memory of when I first arrived in Vietnam. I had only been in country a couple weeks and was on causeway guard detail south-east of Hue. Our outfit was on an island (Thuan An) just off the coast at the mouth of the Perfume River. There was a causeway that jutted out from the mainland and the navy would run a ferry between the mainland and the island during the day. Before sundown the last trip would be to ferry a six-man guard detail with a radio man and a Sgt to man bunkers on the mainland to protect the causeway during the night. On one particular evening an ARVN patrol went up the road by us. About an hour after dark one of the Marines in the detail who had been in country for few months came to the bunker where another Marine and I were and wanted me to go up the road about 100 yards to a house where a “lady friend” of his lived. I didn’t much want to go but I finally told him I would go with him but I would sit outside the doorway while he got his “quickie”. He had been inside for only a minute or so when the ARVN patrol got into a firefight further up the road from us. I yelled to my buddy that we need to get back to the bunkers. As I turned in the direction of the bunkers he came past me…..M-14 hanging around his neck….web gear over a shoulder…..and holding his trouser up just above the knees with both hands. After I got into the bunker and my heart finally stopped pounding the sight that had previously unfolded flashed through my mind. All I could do was lay back against the sandbags and have a good laugh. To this day it still gives me a good laugh when I think about that night some 53 years ago……Bob 1381.

Bob 1381,

Some good memories here. The fish sauce was named Nuoc Mam and mixed with other ingredients to make a family’s personal recipe of Nuoc Cham which they did eat at practically every meal. I still make and use my own Nuoc Cham today. Panther Piss was the usual name for the Vietnamese beer “33” or, in their language; Ba Mui Ba. Also heard that they included “embalming fluid” in that beer, but as an FMF Corpsman I insist that was never true.
The BEST booze ever in that nasty place was up in Khe Sanh 1966 before the siege and while it was still a Green Beanie camp. One of their mercenaries had a wonderful still and for a single C-Ratz meal you could bargain for as much as a half gallon of his moon shine hooch.
After many experiments, the best way to drink that stuff was to mix it with half water and some unsweetened grape cool-aid. It also burned well to heat morning coffee water… and you would NEED it, too!

Doc John P.,

Was on hill37 jan.69 til we moved to hill65 a1/7 ist mar. Never had banana rum but saw a lot of shjt dodge city and Oklahoma territory seems like yesterday demoed fi.

Keith settlements cpl,

rings a bell. We spent alot of time south of Da nang Dodge City. Some of the locals were a little sketchy but we still managed to obtain some of what you speak of. Bill 0331

Bill 0331,

All you say is true. While at An Hoa, we would watch the almost nightly fire fights at liberty bridge (tracers blue/red/green) from our vantage point. An Hoa had it’s share of after dark fun also. The road from Liberty Bridge to An Hoa was really bad on occasion.

The Deuce,

You are right Sgt. Liberty Bridge was always a hot area. The night time activity was way different than the daylight. We would never think of venturing out during the night. Like I said, it was not often.

Harry 1371,

I was at liberty Bridge Dec-Feb. 67-68. Not much time for panther piss, tiger beer, banana rum or joy girls. Spent most of the time dodging ambushes and rockets. During Tet 68, the area was known as the rocket belt
H 2/7

Sgt. Worden,

I wouldn’t doubt that…

MSgt Edd Prothro, USMC Ret. 1964-1984,

While on patrol once (1969) we stopped in a vill a couple clicks from N.A.C. (northeren artillery contonement) and while our corpman tended to some sick villagers our CO and SNCO visited with the village bossman. He passed out tiger piss and oreo cookies to celebrate the event. Didn’t take much of the TP to get me a buzz in the heat and humidity. Great times.

The Deuce,

The service a female type could provide. I do remember panther piss. Someone told me once that they used embalming fluid in it. Harry

Harry 1371,

That fish sauce was called “nuoc mam” and was eaten with everything. Harry, what kind of services did you get in Dai Loc? We often drank what we call “panther piss,” a really nasty tasting beer. 2/26 66-67, FLC 69-70 – Semper Fi!!

MSgt Edd Prothro, USMC Ret. 1964-1984,

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