"Peaches and Pound
Ash and Trash Revisited
As a pilot for the 187 Assault Helicopter Company in Tay Ninh, Viet Nam, my job was to fly the UH-1. With turbine power, and room for 10 grunts, I loved my helicopter. The fact that it was a flying truck, I kept to myself.
Flying it flawlessly was my passion. Mistakes were almost always fatal. Re-supplying the grunts in the field was my daily job. We did our share of combat assaults, medevac, and courier work, but the day to day grind was to haul supplies for the men in the field.
Back and forth, pick up supplies, take them to the men in the field, pick up the mail, go back to the staging area, I was not too thrilled, ten hours of flying boxes and bullshit to the troops. We were bored to tears, no bullets, no new landing zones, no action. To top it all off we had to eat C-rats when they extended us past the close of the mess hall. I was in an evil mood.
There was only one thing that could lift me from the funk I was in. Peaches and Pound Cake. For a man with a sweet tooth, in a hot and humid country, the peaches and pound cake in the C-rats were as good as it gets. Only one small problem, there is only one can of peaches and pound cake in each case of C-rats.
We were parked in the staging area waiting on the grunts to setup a night perimeter, so we could take the last of the supplies to them. It consisted mainly of C-rats, water, and mail. The hand scrawled sign on the pallet of C-rats indicated it was going to the headquarters company, the very guys that were making me late for dinner.
I jumped out of my helicopter and started ripping through the cases of rations as fast as I could, only taking out the peaches and pound cake until I had a whole case of peaches and pound cake.
I re-staked the pallet and put my treasure under the seat. I felt guilty, but, army food. Oh well, I had other things to worry about.
I must have liberated at least one thousand tins of peaches and pound cake in my year in Vietnam. In fact I had a standing rule, I would haul anything but peaches and pound cake, I confiscated them as the tariff for the ride in my helicopter.
I had not thought of peaches and pound cake, until a group of Vietnam veterans were sitting around talking about food, and one of them, a grunt, said, I loved the peaches and pound cake, but they never seemed to make the flight to the field, I think the helicopter crews stole them.
Ouch, thirty years later.
©1997 Wayne R. "Crash" Coe
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