Pachyderm Stories


Ray Shell:  Funny story


I think it was around April-May 1970 when I had to pull an all-nighter of bunker guard on the perimeter of  "A" company 159th Aviation BN. The night was pretty uneventful except for an occasional flare going off from the neighboring bunkers.


The next morning as I waited for the truck to pick me up I browsed through a pocket of my gas mask pouch (which I had never looked in before.  I found something strange. It was about the size of a lipstick tube. Red on one end and green on the other. It was enclosed in a sealed clear plastic bag. On the side it had some instructions on how to use. As I was reading the instructions a needle shot out and into my thumb. I immediately threw the damn thing down and inspected my thumb. When the truck finally arrived I told the driver "You have to get me to Phu Bai hospital asap cause a needle from my gas mask pouch shot out and injected into my thumb."


Enroute to the hospital my thumb swelled an my mouth became extremely dry.  I'm thinking 'Oh God...what have I I going to die...what the hell is this stuff?'  When I arrived at the hospital I explained to the doctor what had happened as he examined my thumb. He wanted to know if I was trying to get high or buzzed by intentionally injecting myself with this chemical.  "Hell no I wasn't trying to get high...what the hell is this stuff...why is my mouth dry..I don't have any spit..." He explained that the needle is used in the event of a nerve gas attack. I had no idea what the needle was for, nor did I have any training how to use it.  After the affects of the needle wore off they let me go back to my unit.