Note: This is part of a series. Read part one here. Dawn cracks in the Republic of Korea (ROK) and 10,000 roosters crow. My auditory senses are awakened. I stare at the olive drab of the tent canvas above my cot. Visual acquisition and, wait for it…wait for it…ah, there it is—olfactory perforation by rotton cabbage, coupled with burning rubber and feces. Gooooood morning, ROK!

My Green Beret A-team is housed all together in a cramped, general-purpose medium tent, one each. Most of us are sitting up now in our cots; swaddled in poncho liners, we blink at each other by the dawn’s early light. By now the click-clack-click of jungle boots on wooden pallet sidewalks indicates that morning chow is afoot. The wafting of green eggs and ham from the land of the big PX confirms that chow is indeed on, Sam I am.

In the chow tent, our “team sergeant,” Buck, tells us that we will have an opportunity to conduct some live fire and demolitions training on one of the Korean range fire facilities. This would be a good day. Something to do besides watch massive formations of Korean soldiers performing synchronized Tae Kwon Do katas, or work out with the Fred Flintstone weight sets that were ubiquitous in the ROK military. They were large, #10 soup cans filled with concrete on each end of a five-foot pole, and served as curl bars. You could really feel the burn around repetition 900.



We loaded a few vehicles with weapons and other kit, drove to the field-expedient ammunition supply point (ASP), and loaded a respectable consignment of blow to take to the demolitions range. As we loaded ourselves for departure on the short drive to the range, it appeared I would not get away without giving one more singing performance of the Korean national folksong “Arirang” to the new group of soldiers my buddy Sgt. Park had herded up to hear me sing. Damn me for ever learning it in the first place. I had become a measure of novelty to the Koreans, the round-eye who could sing Arirang. That or a circus freak of sorts.

“Let’er rip and lets get moving, Elvis!” someone called out. I cleared my throat and belted out the first verse of the folk song, which was followed by a token golf clap and appreciative nods. I felt like Side Show Bob as I mounted our Range Rover. Off then, to rock down to Electric Avenue and shake the Korean countryside.

Our first order of business was some demolitions training. We had, among other sundries in our load of blow, quite a stack of block C-4 “plastic” explosive, a high-explosive charge that expanded at a rate of 23,000 feet per second, and was regarded as a primary steel cutting charge. We had no steel, but plenty of timber in the form of deadfall and standing trees.