Billy R. Whisenant
Sgt, FO, 2nd Bn, 9th Mar Regt, 3rd Mar Div/ E Coy, 2nd Bn, 12th Mar Regt, USMC
We were crossing a rice paddy in the z. The z is what we called the dmz or demilitarized zone. It was far from being that, a scary place that if you had ever been you would never forget. We were up to our ankles and beyond in the goo that is a rice paddy when the officer that I worked with turned to me and said that I needed to camouflage myself when we got past the paddy. I told the officer that I was six foot six , had a ten foot antenna on my back, was in the middle of an open field and asked what difference a bunch of twigs stuck in my helmet would do to keep me from being less obvious than I already was. He insisted on being an officer and ordering me to camouflage anyway. When we got through the paddy I past by a large leafed tropical plant. The leaves were as large as I was so the idea came to me to cut one of the leaves off the plant, cut two eye holes in the leaf and put the stalk of the leaf in the rubber band that most of us had for our helmets to put our cigarettes and pencils and whatever we could carry in that strap on our helmets. I did all of this as we were continuing to go through the jungle with the officer still in front of me. I pulled out my pistol and with it in one hand and my k bar in the other I began to act as if I were sneaking along behind the officer. I would suddenly turn to imaginary enemy and make motions with the pistol and k bar from behind this large leaf. I waited for the moment that the officer would turn around to see me, and that moment came when the men behind mes laughter became so obvious that the officer had to turn to see what was so funny. When he did turn we made eye contact and from his view it was a pair of eyes behind a large leaf with a pistol in one hand and a k bar in the other. I could tell by his look that he wanted very much to burst out laughing, but he did not and said Whiznuts which is what he called me instead of my real name, I thought that I told you to camoflage. I almost screamed from behind the leaf from my eye holes sir you mean you can see me sir, I am camoflauged. The officer never broke into the laughter that I believe would have broken most men, and turned back away from me to continue on the trail. I walked for several more yards behind him and finally grew tired of the game I was playing and threw the leaf beside the trail and continued on that mission. The officer whose name was Cory Hart never again during our tour of duty asked me to camoflage.
I served 8 of my 13 months in Vietnam with the 2/9 as a forward observer radio operator for artillery. I received two field promotions while in Vietnam from October 1967 through October 1968. I was discharged as a sergeant in 1970.
----- Billy R. Whisenant USMC 66-70
Vietnam 2/9 10/67-10/68
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