Part of my duties as company clerk consisted of typing up the results of accident investigations. This is a parody of one of those reports that I wrote in late 1968. Any drivers who were unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident will surely recognize some of this, especially the "reverse" military nomenclature.
On or about 2400 hours 31 November 1968, PVT Drummond Fyffe, RA 12345678, 151st Transportation Company (Light Truck), was operating a vehicle, truck, 2 1/2 ton, M35A2, 6X6, USA #4Q2000, in a northbound direction on highway, asphalt, Vietnamese, 50' wide, at an approximate speed of 150 MPH. Approximately 1000 meters north of the Thu Duc intersection, he saw a bike, motor, Honda, 50cc, red, in front of his vehicle.
When he attempted to stop, however, his wheels locked and he skidded into the back of the Honda. The military vehicle was listed as a total loss and the Honda sustained a bent rear license plate frame and a torn rear mudguard.
Neither the driver of the Honda, Ngo Can Du, or the passenger on the Honda, Hu Phuk Dup, were injured. PVT Drummond Fyffe received a scratched left nostril and a sprained right hangnail when a bunch of bananas came through the canvas roof of the cab of his truck. A dustoff mission was called in to medivac him to the 93rd Evan Hospital, where he was listed in fair condition.
An accident investigation was conducted immediately after the occurence by 1LT Thomas J. Brezovec of the 151st Trans Co, who was dragged bodily out of bed for the occasion by the company commander, 1LT Joseph H. Bennett, who was exercising his command jurisdiction by the prudent delegation of authority.
LT Brezovec determined, on the basis of his investigation, that the accident was NON-DRIVER FAULT. His findings revealed that, although the truck was traveling at a high rate of speed, PVT Fyffe was merely keeping up with what he thought was the traffic, since the Air Force had been conducting some unscheduled low-level bombing and panty raids in the immediate area and he had seen several F-111's pass him by and was under the impression that they were other vehicles on the road.
It was also ascertained that the driver of the Honda, Ngo Can Du, was engaged in illegal smuggling bananas, illicitly produced in Communist Mongolia, from Thu Duc to Long Binh at the time of the accident. The passenger on the Honda, Hu Phuk Dup, an escapee from the Vung Tau Center for the Mentally and Physically Insane, had been eating bananas six at a time and throwing the peels onto the pavement in the path of Fyffe's vehicle.
Although Fyffe had seen the Honda from a distance that ordinarily would have given him more than enough stopping time, when he actually attempted to apply the brakes on his truck, his tires skidded on six banana peels and he lost control of the vehicle.
SGT Ray D'Atre of the 33rd MP Company at Thu Duc investigated the accident (see attached DA Form 19-32) and cited the driver of the Honda for failure to maintain a proper interval between himself and the vehicle to the rear, and for leaving the scene of an accident since he was found face-down in a ditch approximately 100 meters away. The passenger on the vehicle was cited for littering a public thoroughfare and, since he was still holding the bananas when they came through the roof of the truck, for breaking and entering.
SUMMARY OF ACTION TAKEN:
A company formation was held in the 151st Trans Co motor pool during motor stables and the inherent dangers of eating bananas on the roads of Vietnam were pointed out. Also reiterated were the more important aspects of keeping personnel in top hygienic condition, since this accident would have had no casualties if the driver had not been careless in his physical condition to the extent of allowing himself to hve a protruding hangnail.
No disciplinary action was taken against PVT Fyffe under the UCMJ, although he was given a verbal reprimand by LT Bennett and ordered to have his hangnail surgically removed as soon as it is out of the cast.