“Urchin Ball”…. An anecdote to “Purple Candy”

Discussion in 'Vietnam Memories Forum' started by Admin, Mar 15, 2003.

  1. Admin

    Admin Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    Mithrandir
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 248
    (4/11/02 10:05:41 am)
    “Urchin Ball”…. An anecdote to “Purple Candy”
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    SixTgunr’s “purple Candy” story does NOT stand alone in the world of “strange, possibly cruel but true”

    Our couriers ran every day from the far parts of Camp Evans, Camp Eagle and even down to Phu Bai and Da Nang… and also every part of the way were the incessant kids/children playing along the road or waylaying travelers for everything from rather spurious looking food to hawking rather suspicious looking baked goods…..

    Well… the military had this habit of supplying units with something called a “Supplement pack”. These packs had stuff in them that we could not find either at the PX (if there was one) or from other sources. Things that we constantly asked for from home but almost never got…Stuff like… shaving cream, razor blades, toothpaste, chewing gum, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, Hershey “Tropical” bars (specially made bars that would not melt in this damnable heat) and so forth… BUT it also contained the ever present and always loathed “life savers”

    Now…. I put the name in quotes because they WEREN’T lifesavers… they were something like them but tasted terrible. And, well…. No one liked them……even the ants wouldn’t eat them when we threw them out….and they wouldn’t melt in water and they wouldn’t burn…we tried all that…One guy made a necklace of them and tried to make them wet and sticky so the flies would go to them and not us..Even THAT didn’t work… VN flies liked blood more than sugar I guess…..

    It was decided that some military procurement department had contracted with the denizens of Hell to produce these damn things just to torment us!!!!!

    So…. the couriers had an idea…. why don’t we just throw them out to those kids that are always along the road… surely they would eat them… and probably LIKE them… ‘cause God knows we don’t. So it was decided and approved by the local powers that be that that was a fair idea…go do it…..

    We gathered up every one of the damn things we could find and gave them to the couriers…. They must have had 50 or 60 rolls of those things…. They had been piling up in the mess hall where everyone had been leaving them….the supplement packs had about ten of them in each pack, so we were guaranteed that many each week for distribution….

    The next morning, the couriers left and we all felt like we where helping make this corner of the world a slightly better place.

    Life in the camp of the followers of Mars was good…. It was peaceful… it was…

    OK..OK..so I’m rambling now….

    I had to go out that night, so I didn’t get in on the reports from our couriers until a few days later…

    IT WAS A DISASTER!!!!!!!

    Seems that when they threw them out to the kids,…. The older and bigger kids were beating the smaller ones into submission and taking the rolls of candy away from the little ones!!….

    The couriers said that the next day they actually stopped and handed them out to insure that the little ones got their fair share….(NOTE : it was forbidden from they to stop anywhere for any reason so they were in danger of violating SOPs).. this seem to work….

    Until they started to drive off…. then the bigger ones started beating the little ones again…

    A couple of days of this and the couriers were ready to shoot!!!!

    And we all know they couldn’t do that… no matter how much the bigger ones may have deserved it…

    On the third day, one of the couriers whose name I do not remember hit on an idea…… he would lean out of the ¾ and throw a roll at the bigger kids and then one of the guys in the back would throw more out to the littler ones while the bigger ones were picking up theirs….

    This didn’t work either… same results….

    The next day he was so mad, that when he threw a roll out… it was aimed at a bigger kids head…and lo and behold the roll of candy thrown at baseball speed hit the kid straight in the forehead and knocked him down with such force that the littler kids got their share and were able to escape with it without harm….

    Thus was borne “Urchin Ball”…. With the bigger ones getting nailed and the littler ones getting their fair share….

    Cruel???

    To a point….

    Justice??

    We though so…..

    It was just another way of getting the job done….they were not hurt enough to warrant aid… but they also learned fairly quickly that when one of us distributed something…. It was meant for ALL of them not just for the stronger or bigger ones…..

    Out…


    hope6970
    *VMBB Staff*
    Posts: 975
    (4/12/02 11:38:20 pm)
    Re: “Urchin Ball”…. An anecdote to “Purple Candy”
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    Enjoyed that story Mith. I can remember a few times of watching those older kids and some of their handy work. Glad to hear a few got theirs....lol - Hope

    Tac401
    Administrator
    Posts: 1925
    (4/13/02 10:21:08 pm)

    Re: “Urchin Ball”…. An anecdote to “Purple Candy”
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    :lol
    TFF VMBB Email Tac

    SixTGunr
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 197
    (4/14/02 12:36:06 am)
    Re: “Urchin Ball”…. An anecdote to “Purple Candy”
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    We'd "ding 'em" in the noggin' with one of them heavier cans of C-Rats and especially if its contents contained the "nasties" like them green watered down eggs and that nasty fruit cake.

    Now when your talkin about a can of peaches or poundcake ... well ... guys would kill for that stuff :) Six Out!

    "What more can I say ..... I was at the wrong place at the wrong time"

    Mithrandir
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 252
    (4/15/02 7:57:28 am)
    Re: “Urchin Ball”…. An anecdote to “Purple Candy”
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    those nasty eggs and fruitcake are what kept US nasty and nuttier than an fruitcake....


    we ate EVERYTHING that wasn't outright poison.....

    out....

    berto64
    *VMBB Staff*
    Posts: 371
    (4/15/02 8:53:13 pm)

    Re: “Urchin Ball”…. An anecdote to “Purple Candy”
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    You guys had to bring up the canned eggs, didn't ya. YuuuuCH!

    berto


    Endeaver to Persevere

    Mithrandir
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 253
    (4/16/02 9:34:48 am)
    Re: “Urchin Ball”…. An anecdote to “Purple Candy”
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    WHAT!!!!!

    YOU DON'T LIKE THOSE CANNED EGGS???!?!



    well...... you are not the only one..

    and why do you think that they have been putting Tabasco sauce in the MRE's for a while now.....

    just to put SOME taste to those eggs.....


    BTW... the most popular cookbook in I Corp was what ?????


    The Beetle Bailey Cook Book......


    unfortunatly I lost mine crossing a river......



    out...







    SixTGunr
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 206
    (4/16/02 11:43:23 am)
    Re: “Urchin Ball”…. An anecdote to “Purple Candy”
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    GOT ONE TOO! :)

    "What more can I say ..... I was at the wrong place at the wrong time"

    106RR196LIB
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 219
    (4/21/02 7:42:33 pm)
    Re: “Urchin Ball”…. An anecdote to “Purple Candy”
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    My gunjeep was assigned to patrol Thunder Road from our base camp to the south China Sea. It was only a few miles.
    We were on the peninsula south of Chu Lai in 67. The village was very friendly to the US and we knew many of the villagers.
    We provided security for the unloading of a landing craft full of marines who were headed up to a CAC Team. The CAC Team had spent 6 months building the confidence of the villagers.
    After the marines passed through the vill, we drove after them.
    We found a group of terrified kids screaming for help. A marine had thrown a large C ration can into a childs face from a speeding 3/4 ton truck. His face looked like a cantaloupe that had been smashed against pavement.
    We had no way to get him medical care. Our army medics would not treat asian civilians. We took the kid up to the CAC team base and demanded first aid and a dustoff. They had a Navy medic who reluctantly gave first aid. A marine Lt called a dustoff very reluctantly. (white huey with a red cross on the side not a normal medevac) We remained at the CAC Team base until the chopper was out of sight and the dustoff called in a secure landing at the hospital. This was to prevent them from throwing the kid into the South China Sea. We then demanded the perp - the marines refused --it was a standoff. They agreed to "take care" of the guy themselves. We left.
    I never mentioned this incident to civilians because I don't think it reflects the behavior of the average marine. Most of the Marines with whom I served were courageous and patriotic guys.
    Mike

    106RR196LIB
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 220
    (4/21/02 7:52:41 pm)
    Re: “Urchin Ball”…. An anecdote to “Purple Candy”
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    I was running convoy security from the beach to an outlying company in my gunjeep. I stopped in a friendly area to give some C rats to a starving kid. His belly was swollen from malnutrion. I opened the can so it could not be sold or given to Charlie.
    A woman stood nearby nursing a baby. She walked over and smacked the starving kid in the head and took the C rats. I did not want to start trouble with a nursing mother so I called the interpreter up to my jeep and asked him to straighten it out. He talked to them and then explained to me that it was alright because the starving child was her kid but he was adopted. The baby she was nursing was biological and hence more important to her. She had decide to starve the adopted one. She was busily wolfing down the food while nursing.
    This IS Vietnam. Makes you wonder about their values.
    Mike

    Tac401
    Administrator
    Posts: 1944
    (4/21/02 8:12:38 pm)

    Re: “Urchin Ball”…. An anecdote to “Purple Candy”
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    Good to see you again 106!
    TFF VMBB Email Tac

    SixTGunr
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 218
    (4/21/02 9:57:20 pm)
    Re: “Urchin Ball”…. An anecdote to “Purple Candy”
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    Quote:
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    After the marines passed through the vill, we drove after them.
    We found a group of terrified kids screaming for help. A marine had thrown a large C ration can into a childs face from a speeding 3/4 ton truck. His face looked like a cantaloupe that had been smashed against pavement.
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    All I can say is that I and a lot of others are alive today because I'd much rather ding them as opposed to having them ding us with letting them get close enough to toss in an explosive device into a truckload of Marines. Might sound cruel and inhumane but then I was'nt there for any public relations and they did'nt teach me any of that in boot camp. If I had to do it over again ..... I'd do the same thing.

    Guess I'm guilty ..... But at least I'm alive! Six Out!


    "What more can I say ..... I was at the wrong place at the wrong time"

    106RR196LIB
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 221
    (4/22/02 1:42:30 am)
    Re: “Urchin Ball”…. An anecdote to “Purple Candy”
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    Thanks TAC!
    SixTGunner;
    Don't worry about it. Part of the problem was that we had no communication from one unit to the next. When we pull into a vill in our own AO, we already know if they are friendly. When my unit pulls out and is replaced by a new unit, they have absolutely no idea what to expect.
    When we moved onto the peninsula south of Chu Lai our command was told that there was no trouble there. We found a human foot still encased in a combat boot by the side of Thunder Road. It later turnd out that the USMC had fought Operation Starlite, StarliteII, and StarliteIII all on that same ground. There were bomb craters and mine holes all over the place.
    Our first clue that the people of An Hoa were super hostile was the attempted poisoning of our guy. No one had warned us that it was a total NVA support area.
    Mike
    BTW -- an easier way to control the urchins is to give a pack of that lousy pseudo lifesaver candy to the head urchin. He will control the others. Vietnam is a funny place. There is no moral way to do things.