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A young 20 year old recruit cannot escape the grueling 10-12 hour day of peeling potatoes in Vietnam while awaiting assignment in a processing center.
Following two days of back breaking potato peeling he decides to fake sick call and as a result purchases metal sergeant pins for his collar.
Noticed by the duty sergeant he is called forward only to learn they are on upside down. No penalty!
For two consecutive days the duty sergeant indiscriminately sweeps his hand over the left side of the 200 man formation and the right side and sends them to their respective assignments.
Following a painful second day of working in the mess hall, the young man fakes sick call and convinces a doctor to allow him rest for the day.
When he awakens from a much needed four hour sleep he walks into a tailor shop operated by the Vietnamese and purchases two metal sergeant chevrons to be affixed to his collar.
With the young soldier now stangding in formation wearing his newly acquired rank, the duty sergeant notices him and calls him up to the podium where the old timer whispers that he has the chevrons on "upside down" properly corrects them and allows the fake sergeant back to formation where he is eventually selected for the ice water detail for the day - thus avoiding the grueling 10 hour back breaking day in the mess hall. True story! Nice read.