~ 720th Military Police Battalion Reunion Association Vietnam History Project ~
The Scrounger, The Colonel And The Slap Flare
New Years Eve 1968 

   On 31 December 1968, New Years Eve, I was the officer in charge of the C Company platoon at Di An in support of the 1st Infantry Division. CPT Kirchoffner, our commanding officer, brought us a case of Champagne, we had our beer, and we were having a BBQ that night to bring in the new year.

   My "SCROUNGE", who obtained anything we needed for the platoon was SP/4 Mike Quagliano of New York City. Mike made me promise him early in the evening that no matter what happened, at midnight I would make sure he was facing east so he could blow a kiss to his girlfriend in the states. Of Course with the festivities, the booze did its job so at midnight I had to do mine.

   Mike was wasted and in his sack sound asleep. I got Mike out of his bunk, semi carried him outside, and faced him east. He blew his kiss, and at the same time someone in the platoon popped a slap flare, a parachute flare, to celebrate the new year, the only flare fired over Di An that night.

   I got Mike back to his rack just about the time a "Bird Colonel", the Commanding Officer of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, came roaring into our area in his jeep demanding the head of whoever fired the flare.

   Now it should be noted that the sky in all directions was lit up, but not at Di An. The colonel was "hot" and proceeded to take a piece of my ass and ended his tirade by ordering me to be in his office at 0700 sharp the next morning. As he turned to go, he yelled at SSG John Savage to "get his butt to bed." Savage told him,"you can order me to do many things colonel, but not when to go to bed." So that didn't help my situation any. What a way to start the new year.

   The next morning I was in his office as ordered, waiting for the worst. As he was reaming me a new butt about not following his directive on the use of flares, I suddenly realized that we had never received it. So I interrupted his ass chewing and told him. Apparently we were not on his distribution list. In fact, he didn't even know we were on his base until the flare went up and he came rushing over to investigate.

   The colonel immediately called in his command sergeant major, and told him to check it out. I stood there at attention hoping we weren't on that damn list. The CSM came back in and said it was true, that we were not on the distribution list. The colonel, a true follower of the rules and regulations had lost his steam. His apology was, "well you got me with my socks down, don't let it happen again!"

   I heard from Mike Quagliano about 5 years ago, and he had been a New York City cop, on the Mounted Horse Detail for years.

   1LT Herb W. Bradley, III, C Company.

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