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Do soldiers really laugh at strange or morbid things in combat?

I was infantry in VietNam and we took “humor” wherever it could be found and in many bizarre forms.

  • Once, going down the trail, one of the guys yelled and gyrated and began to rip off his pants. We, of course, hit the ground in total fear and confusion, assuming an ambush or booby trap. But, a leech had gotten on to the dude’s penis and was trying to crawl into his urethra ( grunts never wore underwear). For days afterward, Johnson (his real name) endured endless comments of - “Hey, Johnson, man, how was that leech ?”, “Hey Johnson, that leech got any sisters ?” and, “That leech really bring her own lube , Johnson ?”, and other similar comments.
  • One of the guys awoke at dawn (not his turn for guard duty) and began swearing and spitting and gagging with a fury. Yep, he’d slept with his mouth open…another leech.
  • Another time, the guys ahead of us going down the trail came upon a recently killed enemy body and, without telling any of us behind, propped it against the tree with legs crossed and a lighted cigarette in its hand. Funny for them as they waited and watched for us who, one by one, came around the bend in the trail to confront it.
  • Mid-day in the jungle, we took a break for chow. Suddenly two of the guys across the clearing began swearing and jumping around and wiping themselves furiously. A very large snake was in the tree above them and shit all over them.
  • Night vision was not yet perfected, but we had “Starlight” scopes which did give fairly good night vision. . We also had hand launched flares, star clusters, sort of like Roman candles/ bottle rockets. They could be fired as easily horizontally as vertically. I was on guard duty very late one rainy night. I looked over to a distant bunker and saw the guard there masturbating. I could not resist.
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