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Hooch Living
Hooch life was better than living in a tent. The best way to describe hooch living was like spending a year in a chicken coop or in a screened carport. Depending on rank the hooch housed 6 to 10 people. Personal space consisted of a bed, wall and/or footlockers, and in most a few small tables for writing. Alcohol was not allowed in the hooch but most personnel found ways around this prohibition. The hooch décor was up to the people living in it. Many were fancy with bamboo or straw mat rugs on the floor bought in Phan Rang or Thap Cham. Some people fashioned bookcases and dressers out of wooden boxes. A few found scrounged parachutes and were able to create a ceiling buffer between the living area and the tent roof to keep the hooch interior cooler. A bar area was usually found in most hooches including a refrigerator for cold drinks (beer). Playboy centerfold pictures (many in some and in others only a few) adorned the hooch walls. Squadron Commanders and First Sergeants conducted weekly or periodic hooch (barracks) inspections. Hooch members as a group contracted maid service through the Base Civilian Personnel Office. The maids cleaned and dusted the hooch and did laundry. Some did ironing if an iron and ironing board were available. Later we had a BX facility where all kinds of items could be purchased. A few CONEX boxes served as the BX for early Phan Rang Gray Eagle personnel and the inventory was extremely limited to only sundry type items for personal care. Anyone who went to Saigon on business during the early to mid 1966 period usually had a big shopping list of items needed by others.

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