NIKE AJAX AND HERCULES
ORDNANCE SUPPORT UNIT
SHORT, TALL STORIES
Air Defense Artillery
Cooling the day room
By: Jim Corbett
Stories of the Army supply system abound. Sometimes it can frustrate a man with the patience of Job, but it works, particularly for those who understand it. For those who know the system, and also have a little larceny in their heart, anything is possible. This larcenous individual, to whom many GIís in the Nike Platoon of the 30th Ordnance Company were very grateful, was an unnamed Sergeant First Class.
My part in this was entirely innocent. I only drove the getaway truck, and besides, the statute of limitations has run out on this one.
We were living in temporary barracks constructed inside our maintenance shop. This arrangement was made after our barracks were given to the Infantry when post security was beefed up after the Pueblo was taken. When summer came, this concrete block building became an oven. Our dayroom was kind of a concession from the Army for making us spend most of our days and nights in one building. We had a refrigerator and beer coolers right there. Trouble was, after work, when we were supposed to be able to relax, our bodies would become as sweaty as the condensation covered beer cans.
I had been on the roster to make the weekly run to the Company area near Seoul. This was an all day round trip by Deuce and a half; complete with sack lunch from the mess hall.
I had been scheduled to be the driver, and another Platoon member the assistant driver. If you arenít familiar with the Army system, the driver is in charge of the vehicle, and sits on the right. The assistant driver sits behind the wheel. The rules at this time were for the driver to draw an M-14 rifle and ammunition when taking a vehicle off post. The day before the run, I looked at the bulletin board, as every good soldier does every day, and discovered that Sergeant First Class (letís call him Smith) was to be the driver, and I was now to be the assistant driver. Very strange! I didnít ask any questions, but I was very wary, SFCís donít pull this kind of duty.
We proceeded the next day to the Company area, exchanged paperwork, drew supplies and carried out all the errands this run was designed for. As we were about to leave the compound, Sergeant Smith said ďpull down this streetĒ, which I did. When we came to a huge hardstand area with an open gate and an MP guard, Sergeant Smith said ďpull in hereĒ. I stopped beside the guardhouse and handed down the paperwork that the Sergeant handed me, and was waved through. We passed up and down several rows of equipment until the good Sergeant spotted what he was looking for. He guided me back to a trailer mounted A/C unit identical to the ones used to cool the equipment in our shop vans. I didnít know that I was driving the getaway truck, I thought one of our units was being traded in or some such thing. When we arrived back at Camp Ames, I was told to pull around the building next to the day room, where we dropped the A/C unit.
In a few days we had cool air pumping into the day room in the evening, although we had to run a noisy 45KW generator to do it. Now, our T.O.E. didnít match the physical inventory. When an I.G. inspection came up, the A/C unit was sent I donít know where on TDY for a few days. I wonder whatever happened to that A/C unit?