Incineration of Excrements

The Sanitization of Latrines

A Place for Reflection, for Contemplation

I was sitting there minding my own business when I heard a strange noise beneath me. I glanced down between my legs, and could see daylight and a face staring upward. Needless to say I was a bit startled, and I think that made two of us! It was mama-san pulling out the waste container from the back side of the latrine. These containers were usually sawed off fifty-five gallon drums and its contents were burned nearby with the help of either gasoline or kerosene.

The US Government typically hired local village people for this task.

I recall having that detail just once when I first got ‘In-Country’ either at 90th Replacement or First Team Academy and that was enough…

Robert (Dutch) Florez, Frank (Amigo) Alameda 

This photo was taken on the west side of the ‘Blues’ hooches.
The containers located behind these two Charlie Troopers were used for waste disposal.

Photo by Chris Bussells


Filed under Vietnam War

14 responses to “Incineration of Excrements

  1. Steve Nance

    As I recall, the malaria “pill” was taken on Monday (causing the GI Blues) so the burnings began on Tuesday. I remember flying into Tan San Nhut from the Phillipines at dusk and most of us newbies thought the airfield was under attack when we later learned it was merely the barrels on fire.

  2. I make brief mention of the burning of said item in my book. Back at base camp in Ahn Khe, I remember pulling that discusting detail at least once, if not twice. The smell of kerosine and waste is not forgotten over the years.
    Nothing like recalling the good “bad old days.”

  3. jesuspdlr

    I had never heard about this issue.
    Many thanks for sharing your experiences.

  4. Yes I know all about burning shit, because I became one of the best in my unit at doing that smokey task. You haven`t lived until you have to take a shower and wash your clothes and blow your nose on a constant basis in order to remove black charcoled human waste from your body. One hell of a job. I have a story about this subject on my web site. If you have time check it out. AIRBORNE

  5. usastruck

    Crappy job indeed!

  6. Albert Corbin (called the gook) from Guam

    At Phuoc Vinh. When we get incoming, we would get on the top of the hooch and use a compass to locate the flash from the mortor tubes firing. Well, this FNG hollowed, ” Get down from there.” It was to me and an other crew chief. I told him to” Shut the XXX up.”: and went back to looking for the flash in the fields. Well, later the first shirt told me that the man I told to shut up was the new commander. The first shirt told him, he, the first shirt will deal with me. I was told I will be burning shit for the time the Vietnam women were on Tet vacation. I did not eat much that week…

  7. usastruck

    Albert, you were much braver than me; I would be hightailing for the nearest bunker…

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