Paul was one of the first people I remember as I came into the squad as a replacement.  He was one of the older guys in the platoon and he was married, a real anomaly, and his wife had a baby which he had only seen once.  Everyone instinctively was sympathetic, because we knew how it affected us single guys, then to be separated from someone you had a close emotional tie to, and a baby on top of that.   He was quiet and would often occupy himself, cleaning his camera, arranging his pictures or his ”stuff”, or just hanging out and talking with Rodgers and Barron, while some of us  single guys would be out trying to score some beer, especially in the earlier Rach Kien before the club was built.

When Jerry Cotton, the demolition man in the squad, was wounded and evacuated, it was Paul who took over his role.  It was not a job that attracted too many volunteers, first of all, it entailed carrying explosives on your back, even if it was the relatively safe C-4.  Second, just the extra load you had to carry, since rifle, ammo, water, grenades etc.  were already enough of a load to carry under these conditions.  Explosives were our main tool of destruction, blowing bunkers, hooches and sampans. Since Search and Destroy was the name of our game, someone had to carry the tools, and Paul wouldn’t say no.

    Many in the squad would carry a 1 pound slab of C-4, a white, Play-Do like explosive which came in handy for heating C-Rations, since a small marble size piece could be lit and it would burn at an extremely high temperature and would heat a can of beef and potatoes or similar canned delicacy.  It also came in handy for heating a bucket of water at least to the tepid stage, for taking a shower.  If our supply of C-4 ran out, Claymore mines, which had a slab of C-4 inside them to produce the lethal explosion, would be opened and rendered inoperable to retrieve the utile plastic substance.  Cold  c-rations just didn’t make it.