Korea-1969-1974: The way it was…

The Author, 1972

An Extract from Punchy Company; the author’s first impression when first confronting the Camp Red Cloud Officers Club: “It’s delightful,” I thought, “especially the conformance in style and finish everywhere; matching designs; heavy leather on every surface for resting one’s forearms; brass rails for feet, and matching bar stools enclosing the bar’s “U” shape with seating for 24 patrons (I counted them).  I saw too that the bartenders were uniformed in a style and color complementing their surroundings.  Each wore a black bow tie and red leather arm band, and shirts and slacks, likewise, color-coordinated. They were all neatly and professionally groomed with close-cropped hair.  But they paid me no heed.  They were busy.  The boom of the band started again but with a vengeance.  It was louder now, powerfully so, even on this side of the two remaining muffling doors.  It shook the very walls of the building, rattling glasses both on bar shelves and overhead glass hangers.  I stepped to the doors and pressed the right door slowly open allowing me to peer inside. It was breathtaking; bizarre! It most certainly was so for an unwashed, largely innocent young officer not previously witness to such wild revelry.  At the head table, red-faced, jovially inebriated, with two very racy, young, exotic, beautiful Korean women under each of his outstretched arms was the Commander of 2d Bn (HAWK) 71st ADA!  But he was nothing like colonels I’d previously met: all business; serious and reserved.  He was flanked by staff officers similarly engaged and equally red-faced; jovial and chattering excitedly like fraternity boys on their first drunk.  A lieutenant shook a bottle of Champagne — it seemed a fitting act — and pointed it over his shoulder to the table immediately behind popping the cork.  “Fire!” he screamed, and the cork, propelled by a gush of Champagne, sprayed everything and everyone in its path.  His victims were equally giddy, chattering and giggling boyishly as well.  They laughed harder when struck, uncontrollably so shaking their Champagne and popping their corks in retaliation, “Return fire!”   The women, heavily made up and very alluring were moving suggestively, protected from the spray by their men who were all the while hugging, groping, and kissing them in mutual delight.  The laughter and the non-stop drinking went on for the remainder of the night; at least three more hours.  Witnessing this I mused, “Well, maybe the Army isn’t so bad after all!”

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PUNCHY COMPANY, A Memoir of the Cold War

 

About Michael

Retired military officer; retired Air Force civil servant; retired executive, DS Information Systems Corporation; writer; researcher; reader and avid yachtsman.
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