Vietnam War
History of the United States

What were the living conditions for the American troops in the Vietnam War?



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For Grunts (Infantrymen), Tank Crewmen, and Mechanized Grunts (Mechanized Infantrymen): Having a dirt soaked uniform, mixed with sweat, and normal body oils for weeks at a time...due to all roads (except parts of Highway 1, parts of Highway 19, Route 9, the big cites such as Pleiku, Phu Bai, Hue, Saigon, etc.) were DIRT! Rivers or creeks were used for bathing and laundry (swimming with your uniform on accomplished both at once). This, combined with extreme humidity, heat; sleeping daily/nightly with leeches, snakes (snakes swimming in the rivers), mosquitos, spiders, rats are abundant in DRY rice fields...never getting a good nights sleep, usually sleeping in the day time (cat naps) and worst of all...always eating cold "C" rations; unless it was day time, then you could heat up your meal with some plastic demolitions (C4). Night time was "light discipline time", light drew enemy you had to eat your food cold. Carrying a 21 pound M-60 machine gun with 300 rounds of belted .308 (7.62mm) ammunition is heavy enough, added to the other gear...but when walking up a jungle hillside with no trail or a very narrow bad one, the jungle vines grab your weapon and tries to pull it away from you, this, combined with going UP HILL makes the whole experience miserable. When you get near the top of the hill, someone shoots, the gunfire doesn't sound's AK fire; Contact! (the fights on). Hopefully choppers will be able to fly in to extract the men when the fights over, rather than having to grunt our way back down thru the jungle again.