REMF is usually a derogatory term, literally translated to mean Rear Echelon Mother Fucker. Some use it as a term for anyone who was not in the front, going toe-to-toe with Charlie. My interpretation is a little bit different, however. I view a REMF as a person with no experience, but enough rank to make decisions, who sits back at some headquarters unit dreaming up stuff for the front line troopers to do. The worst kind of REMF is the Saigon Warrior. They are the REMFs who come to the field just to earn their Combat Action Ribbon or other medals, then return to their cozy office for the rest of their tour, dreaming up more silly shit for the troops to do.

The problem was, every now and then, a REMF would come out visit the boats, giving a bunch of stick and rudder about tactics or the Rules of Engagement (ROE) when they had no clue what was going on. I remember a Saigon Warrior coming to Cat Lo and giving us a mission where his ROE was to keep our guns covered (so as not to show aggression) and go up a small canal between two islands whose names escape me. There was total VC control on one side, and only suspected VC control on the other. We were supposed to try and win their hearts and minds by taking a 3 boat patrol through the canal, then turn around and come back down through the same canal "in a non-threatening manner".

Our Commander told this REMF he would be glad to send his boats on that mission, but only if the REMF would ride along on the middle boat. Well, as it turned out, he had forgotten he had some important shit to do back in Saigon, so he wasn't able to participate.

About a week later, we did send a patrol through that canal, but with guns at the ready. On the way up, we saw and heard nothing, but on the way back down, all shit broke loose. We were attacked three separate times from both sides of the canal. No casualties, but we burned up a lot of ammo and had to patch a few holes in the boat.

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