This Bud is for U

In late September 1972, we were on the gunline just off the coast of South Vietnam. We had been at sea since mid-August and everyone was more than ready to get a little R & R in Hong Kong in early October. Following lunch that hot afternoon, I walked out on the fantail. There were three or four shipmates standing around smoking cigarettes before we had to turn-two. The sea was calm and everything was quiet. Then, I noticed a Huey approaching from the coast. The chopper overflew the Towers and slowly positioned itself in a hover to the starboard side, just off the fantail at about a 40-degree elevation. The door gunner waved at us to get our attention and then he reach down and picked up a can of beer from what appeared to be an ice chest. With his helmet on, I could only see his big grin. The first thing that came to my mind as he waved that beer around was that he was "screwing" with us because he knew we didn't have any ice cold beer on board. I looked at my shipmates standing slack-jawed nearby, and it appeared that they were also at a loss as to this grunt's intent.

I looked up toward the bridge and, by now, Captain Brisbois was standing out on the starboard wing taking a real interest in these guys. It was at that instant that I figured out that the door gunner was actually offering us a beer. I began to wave my arms wildly and I saw the gunner telling the pilot to move in closer. The Army helicopter moved within 35 to 40 feet,
and the door gunner tossed the beer in an underhanded throw. I could tell that the beer was falling short of the main deck. I reached down in a desperate attempt to catch the beer, but it hit my hand, bounced off the side of the ship and fell in the sea. I looked back up at the gunner and he held his index finger in the air as if to say "hold on" and he reached back down in the ice chest, pulled out another beer and threw it again. The second throw was also a little short, but the beer hit my hand and fell onto the deck. I reached down, picked up my treasure and ran as fast as I could down the port side with a couple of thirsty shipmates in pursuit.

I took the Budwieser and hid it in a sock in my locker so that on the way to Hong Kong, I could ice it down and share it with SN Pat Richardson and a few of my friends. However, after we left the gunline we were unfortunate enough to hit a typhoon and I forgot all about that can of beer.

When we returned to San Diego from our cruise, I was cleaning out my locker getting ready to go home to Texas on a two week leave. I found the Budwieser still hidden in the sock and brought it home.

Twenty eight years later, I still have that unopened can of Budwieser. I keep it in my office desk at work and take it out when I can tell that somebody needs a good sea story about life on the Towers.

Ted R. Krueger
GMMSN '72- '74
 

 

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