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While serving as a security guard for the US Army at Long Binh in 1969, it was one of my duties to ride “shotgun” on every civilian tank truck that came to our little compound to fill our water tanks with fresh water from wells that were dug by the Army.


The local villages had very little, if any, fresh water supplies. They bathed, washed clothes, washed and watered their animals and drank of the water of the muddy Mekong River. As you can imagine, diseases and sicknesses were the result.


The reason that I had to guard these water tankers is that it was my duty to see to it that not one gallon of water was left on these trucks before they left, even if it had to be emptied on the ground. In man’s inhumanity to man, those who drove those trucks would take what little fresh water was left on the truck and sell it at exorbitant prices to the local villagers who could least afford to buy it. Sometimes the price would go for around $5 Piasters per gallon. That wasn’t much in our money. If I remember correctly, the US Dollar was worth approximately 130 Piasters. But, when you consider that the average income was less than $300 Piasters a month, that was a lot of money for one gallon of fresh water.

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