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Arnold Dyre
 
Commentary by Arnold Dyre

    When I was in the Navy, I used to write home and share with my mother and father much of what I experienced to the extent it did not violate the security restrictions I was under as a Navy Radioman.
    Although the radio communication from which I learned about the ingenuity of the Viet Cong enemy’s making grenade launchers out of hollowed-out bamboo was likely classified, I passed on the information to Daddy.
   When I got home after my first deployment to Vietnam aboard the Navy destroyer USS Ernest G. Small, Daddy proudly showed me the tin can “bazooka” he had made using the information I had provided.
    Utilizing a tennis ball as a “grenade” and a bit of lighter fluid, Daddy could launch a tennis ball quite a distance, and the noise produced each time the contraption was fired off was very similar to the “pop” of a Viet Cong bamboo mortar.
    Proudly demonstrating his “bazooka” as he called it, Daddy explained that the creek bank cane available to him was not big enough to do the job, so he had switched the specifications from bamboo to tin cans. Of course, a good deal of duct tape was utilized in the construction, and Daddy had even fashioned a handle by fastening on a portion of an old metal wheelbarrow handle with a rubber grip.
    Daddy said that the mortar would work on either lighter fluid or kerosene, but that lighter fluid in a squirt bottle was easier and cleaner than kerosene. Wisely, I suspect, he said that he had not tried gasoline. Fortunately, Daddy had no grenades!
    It is funny that I have remembered this after all these years. I lost my father a good many years ago. I have his compass, several of his knives, his favorite deer rifle, and several homemade turkey calls. I wonder whatever happened to Daddy’s bazooka.


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