“…Seven months earlier, when Captain Wilson offered us entry into his ‘on the job’ training program, we had no idea what to expect, but were so flattered by the offer, we would have agreed to anything.  In truth, we were blinded by the honor.  There were conditions we agreed to, and either one could have washed us out of the program if we were State side.  The worst of them was the requirement we give up our diet and eat strictly Vietnamese Cuisine; and the second was extending our tour for training by an extra six months.  But that first provision of his program was so difficult, it almost washed us out within the first couple of weeks….”

“….He did allow us to go and get our gear, after the competition.  We returned the next day, and then he told us about his rules for us, for the entire time we were with him.  We were not the only ones who found it the most common objection to life in the Special Forces camps.  The food served was not satisfying and we were required to eat it, no matter what we thought of it.  We were placed on a strict diet of native cuisine that consisted of grey rice and fish heads, and we hated it.  We called it “gook food”.  The idea was, if we ate the same as our enemy, we’d smell the same.  Naturally, we thought that was bullshit; but after two weeks of being starved for Democracy, and heaping every curse imaginable on Vietnamese everything, we shut up.  It took our bodies time to change.  Then we realized the horrible smell we kept picking up was the regular American troops in the jungle.  One whiff and our litany of complaints ceased.  Despite feeling dissatisfied after a hearty meal of gray rice and fish heads, we accepted the diet, believing it would make us less detectable in the bush, and that above all, was what we most desired.  The regulars stunk like zoo carnivores.  We had experienced the smell of western men, first hand, and we were now convinced the army might be right in changing our diet.  It was also a bit embarrassing, every time we encountered it, because we knew a couple of weeks back, we smelled just like them….”

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