Chapter 9 – Part 3

“So who knows where you are? Where does the Army think you are?” asked Halftrack.

“I assume the Army thinks I’m in Saigon working for Adv. Team 126.”

“I wouldn’t count on that,” said Halftrack

“Where else would they think I am?”

“That depends on who you think ‘they’ is. Where do you get paid? I know for a fact that you don’t get paid by Suel.”

“Finance sends my pay to the bank in New Jersey.”

“So, for all Finance knows you’re at Ft. Monmouth. And your home unit thinks you’re in Saigon. Did you fill out any paperwork when you got here?”

“I didn’t know I needed to.”

“So your home unit released you for an extended TDY to somewhere in the MACV organization. Did your orders say who? How did you get on the plane that brought you to Saigon?”

“It was a military transport from Ft. Dix NJ. I just got on with the other GIs. I have blanket travel orders.”

“How did you know what to do when you got to Saigon?”

“That was a bit of a puzzle. Ft. Monmouth got a telex saying that we were supposed to be picked up by Adv. Team 126 personnel but it was money change day and they didn’t show. So we went to Long Bin replacement center and the officer there looked at my blanket travel orders and saw that they were signed by Col. Suel. So he called MACV looking for Col Suel. Suel knew we were supposed to be in his charge so he sent a guy over to pick us up and he took us to team 126 offices. Col Suel got us billeted at a hotel but I never filled out any paperwork.”

Halftrack said, “How long has it been since you heard from your home unit?”

“Months.”

“I rest my case. The Army has no fucking idea where you are but you’re not listed AWOL. And they are still paying you!

“You’re a free agent.”

“You clearly are and I’ve been wondering all morning what’s with the pallet of bags in the warehouse?”

“That’s a shipment waiting for some Australians to arrive. I should have it out of your way by late tomorrow.”

“Oh it’s not in my way, I just wondered what it is. I flew in with another shipment of yours on it’s way to Burma. Something heavy apparently, since I couldn’t bring any extra clothes.”

“How did you know that?”

“I overheard the pilot muttering about how pissed you’d be if all your stuff didn’t get on. He said they had put on extra gasoline because they were going to Rangoon.”

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