By Major Joseph P. "Pat" Donovan, USMC (Vet)
On March 17, 1969. there was a call for Swift Medevac as "'twas ever thus." The Purple Foxes were on medevac call, but that was nothing unusual. The coordinants were "Gho Noi" Island and the zone brief was "mortars and hot." I don't recall who I was flying with, but I am pretty sure for one, it was Jerry Soukup. When we landed for the pick-up, the mortars were impacting all around us, they had us pinched. It took a while to get the medevacs and now there were more than a few new medevacs on board. But we waited. Finally, we lifted and in the "Give a Shit" fashion, quickly "Got the Hell out!" We disembarked the Medevacs at Charlie Med and returned to our Marble Mountain.
Our roommates, Mac Harg, Armenio, Nequette, and Doc Linkous had already set up an ammo box spread with towel instead of table cloth, and a spread of goodies for a "St. Patrick's Day" festivity in the hootch. We also had planned to celebrate the March 19, 1969 upcoming "St. Joseph's Day", with a the specialties of Bob Armenio's layout of his Mom's ( Mrs. Armenio's ) famous salami and stuffed olives. When the moment of cracking a cold can of Beer and sitting down, after a long day, arrived in the hootch, the siren "wail" then began. As I recall we had figured about 15 seconds from "Wail" to impact, so through the "hole in the floor to bunker" to our bunker we all scampered. Sitting in the under ground bunker until, 'All clear' was sounded, we returned up through the hootch floor "hatch" and resumed where we had been with the elements of "festivities".
It was then I broke out my Irish tapes and my portable tape recorder, used for sending Beba tapes, and we gathered onto the westside of the hootch on the plywood deck outside, and set the volume at "full", and with a mediocre can of beer in hand we all toasted "The Purple Foxes", playing the "Irish Rovers" and belted out our own rousing rendition of "Roddy MacAuley and the Bridge of Tume". I can still keep alive the moment, precious that it is: Mac Harg with his whiskey baritone voice joined with the melodious West Virginia voice of "Doc" Linkous, Milwaukee-Tom Nequette and me the Irish Tenor singing loudly and tauntingly at the prospect of more Viet Cong incoming to disrupt our revelry. That was "St. Patrick's Day 17 March 1969 at Marble Mountain!", as I remember it.
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