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War Stories

LRRP Scrounging - Jun - Aug 1966

Gene Tucker

Who better to become experts at Scrounging. They had no TO&E and they didn't really exist on paper at that time.

Scrounging Fans, Scrounging a Generator, Scrounging Jeeps



The enterprising young soldiers of the 25th Infantry Division (LRRP) began to requisition and acquire equipment.

Let us begin with the 10 position (Switch) fans in our GP Medium tents. Once while on a trip to Saigon, Jerry Spicer, Hugh Howerton and I (Gene Tucker) visited the US Air force base at Ton Sonut just outside of Saigon.

While there we discovered that all airmen received ration pay each month and that they used it to support their lady friends in Saigon and other nearby villages. Using these funds for this purpose they missed many meals. Now being good LRRPs we decided to use this opportunity to our advantage. We happened upon this freak happenstance when one of the Air Force NCOs mentioned that they could use some “C” rations.

LRRPs being resourceful we decided to see just what we could get in trade for the “C” rations. The NCO said we could have just about anything that we wanted. He mentioned that he knew our GP medium tents we extremely hot and that he could get some fans for us to keep ourselves cool with. They were 10 position (Speed) fan. That sounded good for a start but then we mentioned that we did not have the electrical knowledge to install them He provided an electrician to install them for us. We went back to Cu Chi and began to get our “C” rations. Not many folks knew it but each “G” section at the Division Headquarters had a “Ration” card t be used at the ration control point and the ration control point also had a Class 6 (Liquor) outlet. I knew a Specialist 4 at the G2 office and was able to obtain the ration card. We purchased a few bottles of good Scotch and whiskey. Having these prized bottles we were able to trade them for about twenty cases of “C” rations. We traded the “C” rations for the fans and the ability to have them installed.

They sure did feel good.


After a couple of weeks we were approached by the First Sergeant of “D” Troop ¾ cav. It was the unit we were sort of attached to for rations and quarters. Now the First Sergeant said that we were draining or using too much power on their generator and that we were going to have to disconnect the fans. We of course did as requested.

So, down we go to the Air Force sergeant with a few more cases of “C” rations and ask for a generator. Well, he immediately said we did not have enough “C” rations for a generator. I feel sure that you now know the routine. Get the card from G2 and so on. Having forty or so cases of “C” rations off we go to the Air Force.
We had a jeep but were immediately told that we needed a 2 ½ ton truck to move the generator. We were used to a small gasoline generator being grunts. The NCO informed us this one we needed was considerably larger. When we went to check it out we then understood. It was a really large one on a trailer with all kinds of wiring. So we got the truck (that’s another story).

Once we acquired the truck the NCO took us back to the flight line. Once we arrived he just had us hook the trailer up to the generator. It was still running at the time. Away we drove pulling the wires loose form the junction box that it was connected to, I thought we were going to get a junction box also but alas we did not.

Now came the tricky part we had to go out the security gate at the air base. First we stopped the truck and stopped the generator from running. This is contrary to another version of the generator still running with the wires sparking as we drove up the MSR to Cu Chi. We did not think the Air Police (APs) would let us out the gate with the generator still running. They would have caught up with us in that 2 ½ ton truck in all the traffic of Saigon if we had run through the gate and then the caper would be up.

The Air Force Sergeant was riding shotgun and when we did stop at the gate the APs ask us where we were taking the generator. Well the sergeant told them it was not functioning and that it was need on the flight line quickly to keep the aircraft flying. He also said it was completely out of order and needed to be taken to “Long Ben” supply depot to be exchanged. Out the gate we went and off to the rally point for convoy to Cu Chi. We gave the sergeant a few piaster’s for a cyclo back to his base and off we were for Cu Chi.

Once hooked up the first Sergeant and Commander were happy. Soon after that the commander asked if he could use the generator as backup incase his went out. I cannot confirm it but I also heard that the Division TOC asked for an connection incase they had a power shortage.




Our team was walking past the docks in Saigon one day and we observed many brand new jeeps being off loaded from ships. They sure did look good to us and we thought the LRRP unit at Cu Chi should have a jeep or two. After carefully observing them being off loaded we discovered that we may be able to get two for our LRRP unit.

It was Hugh Howerton who came up with the idea. Some privates were going to a Master Sergeant and he would give them some directions. They then would go inside the ship and soon drive out with a jeep. The Master Sergeant would then tell them something else and away they would drive with a jeep. We figured we could have a couple of our guys do that easy enough. We then removed our rank from our uniforms and approached the Master Sergeant. He told us which Hold and how to get there for a jeep. We were to see him when we returned dockside. So me and Nathaniel Perry went inside and got two jeeps. The remainder of the team waited outside, close by incase something went wrong and we needed to get out of there in a hurry.

It couldn’t be as easy as this. When we got outside the Master Sergeant told me to go by this route to a parking area with my jeep. He told Perry to go to a different area. Well we stopped a few blocks down the street and conferred. We went straight to the rally area for Cu Chi and drove the jeeps with the other three team members to Cu Chi in the next convoy. We kept them hidden in the 1 – 27th Infantry area with a friend of mine until we could get the bumper markings on them, We never kept them in a motor pool area for fear of them being discovered but we did keep them parked close by our tents so we did not have to walk too far for transportation.

Sorry I was not involved in the tank or typewriter acquisitions or any other procurement for that matter. Well maybe a few others. But, I suffer from CRS when it comes to some things.

Gene Tucker
LRRP 1966
25th ID