Soldiers from the 1st Battalion 6th Inantry had the opportunity about
every two months for a chance
to relax and get cleaned up at the 198th Infantry Brigade Stand Down Area, located on the beach
at the sprawling Chu Lai base. After weeks of patrolling and setting ambushes, the chance for
rest and relaxation at the "Refit" area was a welcomed break from the reality of war in 1970-71.
"Through these portals pass the best soldiers in the world. 198th LIB stand down area." 1970 photo provided by
Terry Ivey (C/1-6 Inf) 1969-70.
Two days at the Refit area was supposed to allow time to get a haircut,
eat some grilled food, go for
a swim, visit the PX and see what was on the shelves that had not been stolen for the black market,
stop in at the USO to call home on the MARS radio system (no satellite links in those days), drink a
few too many beers, watch a couple of movies, or enjoy a live floor show or band with girls from
Thailand or the Phillipines.
SGT Louis Miller, writing in the Americal Division newspaper, the Southern
Cross, described "Refit"
in a November 6, 1970 article entitled 'Refit' is welcome break from field.
LZ BAYONET (198th INF BDE PIO) - Tired, dirty and sweaty, but full of
smiles and anticipation
about the next several days of rest, recreation and relaxation is how "refit" begins for infantrymen of
the divisions's 198th Infantry Brigade.
Refit is scheduled periodically to allow the infantrymen from the line units time to leave the field
and spend several days at Chu Lai, where they can rest and attend to some of the things that cannot
be taken care of in the field. In refit, steaks replace C-rations, hot showers replace steel pot baths,
and floor shows replace patrols.
"The thing I enjoy is having running water and being able to turn it on and off," explained Staff
Sergeant David Fuller, Binghampton, N.Y., Alpha Company, 1st Battalion 6th Infantry.
Another pleasure is wearing new, clean uniforms. Haircuts are another must and the men have a
chance to visit the dentist and submit, reluctantly, to having their shot records updated. Other
administrative items are also completed, including having dog tags and identification cards made up,
and having finance records looked over.
But what the men really enjoy during their refit is doing nothing. The 198th Infantry Brigade's refit
area is located on the beach at Chu Lai. Here the tired troopers spend most of their time sleeping,
sunning, and swimming, and all without having to worry about setting up a defensive perimeter. And
there is time for touch football, card playing, and letter writing.
The men also spend a great deal of their time commuting between the refit area and the main PX
where they get the chance to buy items they could only think about in the field.
The entertainment highlight is the daily floor show, which is held early in the afternoon. The men can
enjoy the music and dancing that were just thoughts out in the "bush."
On other popular service available on refit comes from the Army MARS station where radio-telephone
calls can be placed back to the "world." But the three minutes of conversation seems to last only a few
seconds. Private First Class Soloman Whitman, Chicago, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion 6th Infantry,
remembered, "Everyone was so happy to hear from me that all I listened to was three minutes of crying."
The least awaited event of refit is the inevitable final morning when the men have to return to the field.
"Sometimes you're more tired when you leave than when you got in," recalled Specialist Four Allen
Greenman, Marshal, Mich.
[End of article.]
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