Erick W. Miller

Stand down is supposed to be a safe, happy time. This was the middle of December , 1969 at Camp Eagle. I was brand new to the company and only knew one man so far. The company just got in from the bush and they were too busy getting drunk to bother with the new guys.

Nearly everyone in the platoon tent was passed out from exhaustion or booze or whatever. I was too scared to sleep. They don’t let you keep your weapons in the rear because everyone is fried. There I was in Vietnam at night without a gun, nervous as hell.

Soon two large men entered the tent. One was white and one was black. They had their arms over each other’s shoulders. They weren’t gay, just good friends. They were laughing and appeared very drunk.

Since I was awake and coherent, they decided to share their secret with the new guy.
During our conversation, they intimated that they had each consumed a half of a jar of’ Monday Monday’. For those of you who may have forgotten, those are the large anti-malarial pills, each one is a weekly dose, taken every Monday. Their reasoning was that they would get malaria and not have to go back to the jungle.

I told the two men to take a deep breath through their noses. I asked them if they could smell blood. Both men agreed that they could. I said, “That’s because you’re hemorrhaging! Go to the aid station!” They both died on the way, one after having crawled most of the distance. I didn’t realize the seriousness of the situation. The damage was already done and I believe that nothing could have saved them.

That scared me to see two big, sturdy, veteran troopers try something like that to avoid the jungle. I found out soon enough just how awful what they tried to avoid really was.

Erick W. Miller 9 Aug 1997