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sarge_257 12-18-2010 04:27 AM

How honest are you?
How honest are you?

Have you ever been tested? Have you ever been tempted? What is your personal limit of temptation? Well Sarge found out his limit of temptation one day long ago. And he has never regretted his decision. It happened like this:

In the middle 1970's when the Vietnam war was ending and the USArmy retreated out of Vietnam there was pandemonium and the people that lived in that country knew what would happen when the North Vietnamese would take over. The USA air lifted all they could when they pulled out. Some helicopters could barely lift off from the weight of the refuges that held on to anything even the sides of the aircraft to escape the NVA. And they that did manage to leave, brought with them all they owned on their back or in a pitiful small suitcases or bags. These refuges were taken to Fort Chaffee Ark. for repatrioting. And also the escaping Army units were sent there to guard and control the refuges. Because it was well known that amongst the legitimate refuges were infiltrators from Red China and North Vietnam. These spies and terrorists were sent to our country to do what ever they could to discredit the United States.
And here we see Sarge, and his unit, the 1139th MP Company. Sent to Fort Chaffee to control and guard the refuges and ferret out the criminals and spies. Sarge was a SPC which means Specialist,in this case Military Intelligence was his area of expertise. But like all soldiers he had to do yoman work too. Patrolling the base to watch for the criminals preying on their fellow Vietnamese and guarding the post against black market criminals that would rip the warehouses off in a minute.
One week Sarge was detailed to spend the days at the bank. The bank was a temporary building (trailer house) that housed the government bank so that the Viet's could have a safe place for their money or valuables. This was 'cush' duty and Sarge enjoyed it immensely. All he had to do was stand near the door and give anyone coming in the 'going over' look and scare the bad guys out. And to top it all off there was free coffee and donuts all day. What a tough job.
And then the Bank Manager called Sarge to the back room. This room was reserved for private deposits by people that did not want their identity or amount of wealth known. There the Manager told Sarge to lock the door and take his gun out of the holster and guard the door and the people inside. Sarge did as he was told. Inside the room besides the Manager was a little old Vietnamese man and a little old Vietnamese woman. The man was stooped and bent over and his wife was a copy of him. She was a chubby woman but had a thin face. They had two old cardboard suitcases with them and they held on them like it was their precious children. The Manager sit down and told them that they now could make their deposit. As Sarge watched with widening eyes they opened the two old suitcases and revealed that each was full of American currency. Stacks of 100 dollar bills all banded and crowded into the cheap cardboard suitcases. The bank Manager counted out the money and gave the two their receipts. Then the little old lady pulled her dress up to reveal an undergarmet of old rice sacks and it was lumpy. The man handed her a knife and she cut the lumps out and started to hand the Manager gold plates and lumps of silver. The old man was by then cutting the lining of his shapeless coat and he was placing on the table emerals, rubies and other precious gems. The pile of shiny metals and gems grew until it was three inches high and a foot around. The Manager weighed on a scale each piece of gold and each gem. The gems would be put in a safe deposit box and the bank would buy the gold and silver converting it to American money.
All told the hoard they managed to bring out of Vietnam added up to 1 million dollars plus the gems. The money and gold lay there on the table. And Sarge was the only one in the room with a gun. Yes the thought ran through his mind that he was the only one with a gun. And that much money in one place he would never ever see again. But the ethics and morals his parents taught him said that the money was not his. It was his job to guard it and the owners. And that is what he did. For the next 2 hours until the armored truck could arrive, Sarge sat in the room with all that money and gold and gems. The little old lady could not speak any English but the man was fluent. He and Sarge talked about their country and what it was like to have to leave it and be in a new and strange country. The little Vietnamese that Sarge knew allowed him to say "Worry not Grandmother, you are safe" to the little old lady and she soon lost the frightened and stressed look on her face and even smiled at her husband's occasional joke. Then the truck came and the money was transfered and the old Man stood at attention and saluted Sarge and then shook his hand. The little old lady gave him a hug and said thank you in Vietnamese.
Sarge went back to his station at the door and continued doing his job as he had been trained to do. And he had one new thing to think about. He now knew the limit of his honesty.

skullcrusher 12-18-2010 04:40 AM

I'm honest enough to say that I (notice I did not say skullcrusher) have enough sense of mind to do what is right when right must be done. I (again, not in the first person) have been tempted enough to know the difference. I would have taken Saddam's gold AK had I been the one to find it. How's that for my honesty? I love pronouns, too.

sarge_257 12-18-2010 08:12 PM

Sadams AK
I will have to agree with you on that one. War trophies are earned not stolen in my opinion. I have a SKS that was taken that way and brought back in a duffle bag. But these people had undoubtably earned their treasures and it was all they had in the world. Maybe they ran a brothel, or robbed someone to get the money, but I doubt. It was theirs and not mine.

Neophyte1 12-19-2010 08:45 AM

Right Thing
sarge_257; Sir, I read this a couple of times. It is strange how some of the
"Montagard's'' (Yards) got out of Vietnam with what that they did. The early arrivals, were by and large the ?rich?, the ones that I have worked with {currently} are from the fields and mountains.
We are all tested by the Devil, he lost this battle with you. Don't despair, he will try again and again. Be proud, that you can be proud of oneself, doing the right thing once again.

c3shooter 12-19-2010 02:30 PM

Sarge- remember back in the 60's when Army payday meant CASH money? Had friend that was a Class A Pay Agent at Ft. Huachuca. Talking over a beer at the club. He said, just thinking- here I am- right next to Mexico, with a loaded 45, and 1.5 million in $20 bills. Naw- the water sux. :p

sarge_257 12-20-2010 01:43 AM


Originally Posted by c3shooter (Post 405796)
Sarge- remember back in the 60's when Army payday meant CASH money? Had friend that was a Class A Pay Agent at Ft. Huachuca. Talking over a beer at the club. He said, just thinking- here I am- right next to Mexico, with a loaded 45, and 1.5 million in $20 bills. Naw- the water sux. :p

C3 he was right. It takes a lot of hot chili to keep from getting sick drinking the water down there. I remember three trips we took to Mexico as a young child. Mom wanted to see if she could find some of her relatives. The only thing I have to remind me of those trips is a switchblade knife that I bought with my own money and without my folks knowing about it. I was the only kid in JR High that had one. LOL I still got it too. Cheap damn thing. LOL

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