What a Long Strange Trip . . .
27th Surg, Chu Lai

Photos and information provided by Chris Banigan

The Halloween we burned down the nurses quarters.

The official report was faulty wiring, but as memory serves, it was the night after Halloween in 1970 and there had been quite a party.  I believe that actual source of the fire was burning candles and parachute silk ... the whole blaze was a fiasco. I was in the OR when the fire broke out and was relieved form scrubbing to respond to the fire ... I ran up the stairs and into the fire to salvage my typewriter for without it, I wouldn't be able to write home. Fortunately, others had the presence of mind to try and retrieve more useful items. The Vietnamese fire department responded to the blaze and it was like a page from the Keystone Cops ... these little Vietnamese in Texas firegear ... they came racing with the fire trucks ...jumped off and ran valiantly with the hoses, but unfortunately, no water pressure ... we didn't have fire extinguishers because we used them the night before in a water fight. It was a raucous party ... at one point, we were on alert so we put on gas masks but the party continued ... it was a wild and crazy night.

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