Susie (not her real name) was a Vietnamese teenager, maybe eighteen, or nineteen, living in the worst conditions imaginable. She lived in a two-room shack assembled from debris discarded by the United States Air Force at Da Nang Airbase. A few pieces of plywood stuck up and covered by corrugated tin covering a dirt floor, her parents, a grandmother, and three siblings.
They all survived on what Susie made turning tricks for the Air Force, Army, and Marines that were stationed in the area. Susie was probably cute by Vietnamese standards, but it would be hard to see, even if a GI took the time to look at her for other purposes. She wore dirty shiny black silk pants with a flower pattern top that loosely covered her unwashed skinny body. The only thing attracting any GI was her large breast, full of milk for her six-month-old baby. They moved back and forth as she walked around in front of customers negotiating her “boom boom” price.
“Fy dolla or cartn of Salam!” she insisted, while the GI tried and tried to get her to lower her price. The cost of her dignity was so low, you could by
or Kools at the BX for $2.50, but she had many mouths to feed. Salem
Susie sat down in a chair facing the fire in the middle of the largest room and folded her arms across her chest, resolute that was her bottom “dolla!” The big guy from
stood behind her, unzipped his pants, and began playing with himself while he continued to try and talk her down. Georgia
Susie did not know what he was doing until the instant something hot and sticky hit her in the back of the head. Jumping up and turning in his direction she flailed his hard chest and defending arms for all she was worth, but only succeeded in making him laugh. He turned and ran out of the hooch and into the darkness, heading back toward the guarded entrance of the airbase.
Susie cried and cussed the GI at the top of her lungs and the little ones moved closer to their grandmother. “He numba 10,000! He dinky-dao Merican!”
She left the room and I eased out the door feeling very ashamed to be an American. I was also not able to grasp how a woman could lower herself to turning tricks, or cleaning up in shower rooms full of naked GI’s, but America has never had to suffer such a degrading thing as having your country be at war on its own soil and be occupied by a foreign country. I suppose we all would do what we had to do to feed our children, but God help us, Americans would find it very difficult to transition into that mode.
I visited Susie sometime later and went through the motions of loosing my virginity! Yes, nineteen, remember I was too busy partying with the guys, but I knew the moves, just had never done the deed completely.
I handed her a carton of
cigarettes and she led me into a tiny room with a piece of thin cloth for a door. There on a ragged dirty little bed she striped down and laid full out before me, doing “come here” motions with each hand at the end of outstretched arms. Salem
I dropped my pants to my knees, unbuttoned my shirt, and walked to the edge of the bed.
You were always ready to run, so you never got completely undressed. Sometimes little kids who were part of the ruse would come running in after the money or cigarettes had been handed over and yell out, “MP come, MP come!”
GI’s would scatter like chickens from a fox and their money or cigarettes were gone without anything in return.
I remember one unfortunate fellow high-tailed it out of Susie’s and, in the dark, made the mistake of dashing into a little shed out back. He knew immediately, but much too late, that the little shack was actually an open trench outhouse!
Sometimes the MP’s did come, and this area was off limits, so you ran and hid without knowing if it was real or not.
However, this time Susie and I were alone, so to speak, separated from her family by a flimsy piece of cotton. In these situations, there is no kissing, there is no feeling around, or fooling with foreplay of any kind. You simply crawled on and got it over in as dignified a manner as you possibly could. There is no great conquest there, no feeling of nailing a prime piece of ass, just a little more than old-fashioned manual masturbation!
You pull up your pants sheepishly, flinging your condom to the corner, as she wipes herself on a rag that has served its purpose countless times before you. You are just the next “john” and the very next one is waiting impatiently on the other side of the cloth door.
I came back once more, but could only muster a request for oral sex. Remembering the dirty imprint of her body on my chest had ruined any further intercourse for me. However, the BJ did little for me and so, I returned to the base and to masturbation for the remainder of my tour.
On February 27, 1967, a round of fifty 122mm rockets, earmarked for the airbase, overshot us, for the most part, and hit this little shanty village. Susie and her family were all killed instantly from the Katyusha rocket’s fragmentation, or so we heard.
On the base, and just one hooch south of mine lived Airmen Fuller and Jones. They received their wounds at the same moment.
- Gary Leroy Fuller - The Plains,
– Married - 22 Years Old (Vietnam War Memorial Panel 15E Row 105) Ohio
- Robert Henry Osborn Jones -
– Single - 21 Years Old (Vietnam War Memorial Panel 15E – Row 106) Arlington, Virginia
Both died on February 27, 1967 at Da Nang Airbase,
In the dayroom, the next evening, where we gathered for what would now be called psychological counseling, we raised our warm Black Labels in honor of our fallen comrades, and, those of us that knew her, in “Susie’s honor!”
War is hell on many fronts!
To hear the rocket attack, go here: http://youtu.be/T5K7UFimao4