John Wayne rations

As an old Viet Nam vet and former Marine, I loved the letter to the editor by Mr. Dodd. He is correct in describing how our generation of soldiers liked to compare our version of fighting to that of the John Wayne bravado. His letter also brought back some funny remembrances. For example, we named things after John Wayne, such as:

John Wayne candy bars. They came in our C-Ration packets and were so tough that it took a Real Marine to eat one!

John Wayne can openers. These were the small metal hand-operated can openers that came in the C-Ration box. Military nomenclature was the P-38 can opener. I still carry the last one I used in Nam (40-plus years later) on my key chain and still use it some times.

John Wayne Stove. This was the stove we hand-made out of a small C-Ration can. It was the base can into which we placed a blue Heat Tablet. We then lit the heat tab and placed a larger can of C-Rats with our food in it on top of the “stove.” This was how we cooked our food in the field.

The test of a new guy was if he could cut the holes the right size and shape in the can. Knowing how to do this would allow the gas from the Heat Tab to escape without filling the air with eyeburning chemicals. One always knew if they had made a mistake!

My favorite was John Wayne Toilet Paper. It was rough and tough and didn’t take anything off anyone! This also came in our C-Ration packets.

Mark Brady mark_ brady_

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2011-11-24 digital edition

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