We were on our way from Sa Dec to Cat Lo, our base near Vung Tau. As we broke from the mouth of the river, we could see a Market Time Coast Guard ship out on the horizon. Feeling a hankerin' for ice cream, we decided to head out to visit the Coasties and see if they had some we could cumshaw*.

Seems they had a spare 5 gallon tub, and were willing to part with it for a price ..... after a bit of barter, the agreed upon price was a bottle of VO. Imagine that ... a Swiftboat with alcohol on board (how'd that get here?). Well, after a little chit-chat with the cook, we got underway with our tub o' ice cream.

We cleaned out the freezer, tossing out that shit we didn't need, such as steak, shrimp, fish, veggies, etc. We made room for the tub, figuring it would take us a week or so to eat it all. Well, wouldn't you know it, no sooner had we closed the freezer door .... the generator quit! Shit, no freezer! Now what?

No sweat, GI. We had spoons. We tied up pierside in Cat Lo just as the freezer was starting to puddle in the main cabin. So we pulled the tub out to the fan-tail and began to eat. Before you know it, the word spread, and we had about 20 guys from the other boat crews over for a visit, spoons in hand. We managed to get the whole thing ate before it melted, and during our "ice cream social", we managed to cumshaw the parts we needed for our generator and got it repaired.

Just another little "non-war" story from my time in the Nam.

*cumshaw - a Navy term meaning barter, trade or otherwise acquire what you need, usually in exchange for something the other trader needs. Cumshaw is an art, and there is usually one Sailor in every group who is a master of the art.

Click HERE to go back to the stories.