The Marines of HMM-364 not only fought a war, they also fought for even the smallest comforts of an everyday existence. One of the pleasures of life was the first "MK-1 Shower" produced by the ingenuity of Cpl. Thomas E. Curtis and Sgt. Ron Knight. This shower was a barrel supported above the ground by an old almost inoperable forklift. The forklift was another "unauthorized" piece of equipment that the Marines of HMM-364 had "acquired." It required a crew of two to operate it, one person to operate the clutch, brakes and throttle but it took two to turn the steering wheel. The lift mechanism was fouled up and it required one of the operators to loop a chain over the frame to hold the forks in the up and tilted position. Never-the-less the "Purple Foxes" were always capable of moving their heavy loads while the others had to wait for the heavy forklifts of MABS-36 to get their gear moved from the logistical receiving point to the squadron area.
ladder (of sorts) was constructed which allowed water to be carried up
to the barrel. Each user was then required to bring five gallons
of water, which he carried up the ladder and poured into the barrel, to
guarantee his eligibility for a "douche". Dave Magee states, "I
recall walking through the monsoon mud with my 5 gallon fee to get a shower
and then walking back through the mud to again wash my feet before getting
dressed. This, and other memories, remind me of how much we loved
and helped each other . . . even closer than brothers."
A short time later the "MK-2 Shower" was engineered
by the Marines and is shown below constructed from a fixed wing aircraft
fuel drop tank and bomb racks.
"Upon returning to Ky Ha in July '66, after three months aboard the USS Princeton, HMM-364 did not fare so well in billeting. We were assigned general purpose tents in the area close to the "new" mess hall. The good points to the area were, we were close to the flight line, the mess hall and we had a delightful ocean view. We also had wooden pallets for flooring in the tents. The second community shower in the picture is as I recall it. There was a water buffalo close by and the fee for the shower was at least five gallons of water to be hauled up onto the platform and poured into the drop tank. It was not a pleasant sight - a bunch of naked guys scrambling atop the platform paying their dues, but it was a great shower."
Another "unauthorized" piece of equipment was an old
washing machine. It would not work as originally intended from electrical
power because either there was not sufficient power available or the electric
motor was inoperative. Marine ingenuity again came into play and
the men from Ground Support Equipment, with the help of the Metal Shop,
rigged up a 115/145 (fuel used in UH-34) gasoline auxiliary power unit
to operate it.
Information provided by:
Dave Magee, MSgt. USMC (Ret)
Ronald A. Knight, GySgt. USMC (Ret)
Ronald A. Lay, SSgt. USMC (Ret)
James G. Hall, former Sgt. USMC
Jimmie Harris, former Sgt. USMC
Barney Espinoza, former Sgt. USMC
Tom A. Peevers, former Sgt. USMC
'65 - '66 Cruise Book
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