There was about 15 former “Lighthorse” Cavalry troopers, mostly with enough alcohol in them to feel no pain, sitting around telling war stories when Mike Rasbury announced,
After some hooting and cheering...
Mike Hano... Skull!? It was the Fuckin Loving Cup! (More cheers of agreement.)
Mike R... Ok! The history of the Loving Cup!
There was a day when a flight of Crusader Cobras were flying out near a large triangular area. They were just screwing around and somebody shot off a pair of rockets for the hell of it. Unbeknownst to the guns pilots there was a whole shit load of Dinks hiding in the area. All of a sudden every fuckin body and their fuckin dog decided they’d get up and run because they thought they had been discovered. The little bastards had actually hidden themselves quite well but were fucked when they started running. All hell broke loose, Cobras everywhere! And when the dust had finally cleared there were some 130 confirmed kills. The story is told by Chuck Nole in the book, “Snake Driver”.
A couple of months later, Ace Cozalio and JB West happen to be back in the same area where all those sons-a bitches had been killed. He was low level and saw this dog eating on a body and the head mostly falling off. He had an idea about how he could use something like that. He landed, picked up the stinking thing and brought it back to the unit because his hootch maid was stealing shit from his refrigerator. Ace says, “No more problem, I’ll break her of stealing, I’ll put this fuckin skull in my refrigerator”! He stood out of sight an listened as mamasan came in to clean up his room. It wasn’t long before she opens up the fridge and there’s this skull staring at her, she screams, “Choy Oi”!! and goes screaming out of the hootch.
Ace kept the skull out of sight for the next several weeks
and he hid it in different places. He put it under his bunk, he put it
in his locker, he kept it all over the place. His hootch maid would
only come in when she thought the skull was not in the room.
One evening he got it out and stuck a candle on top of it and used it as an ornament. Well a bunch of us got drunker than shit one night and there was this goddamned “ornament” sitting there begging for attention. There was a hole on the bottom side of it and Ace grabbed hold of the skull and he says, ”I wonder how much Budweiser it’ll hold”?! He discovered that the “Loving Cup” held two 12 ounce Buds. It tasted a little flat and had chunks of meat in it but it wasn’t bad. With this “enlightenment”, the guys stumbled to the bunker, introduced some other guys to the new “cup”. They all got really drunk.
Probably for two or three weeks there was always little bits of stinky, chewy meat inside. It was really nasty. But if you were a newguy you just didn’t have the guts NOT to drink out of it. You’d say, “Fill it up.. I’ll have another one”! If you were lucky maybe you’d get a tooth!
And that’s the story of the origin of the skull, where it came from, who got it and what we used it for. Pretty soon it was out of Ace’s room and stayed up in the rafters in the bunker.
Unknown 1... When I came in country in January of 70 I had to drink out of it. Was that skull number one or number two?
Mike R..... That was number one... there was only one skull. There just wasn’t much meat left in by then.<bag>
Unknown 2... I remember there was a saying you had to recite and if you didn’t get I right you had to keep drinking out of it until you got it.
Claude S... If you puked they filled it up
again! I remember they used to dump all kinds of booze and pieces
of food in it.
The Skull remained in the unit and was passed around among the platoons. When D Troop moved from Dong Tam to Vinh Long, the skull went too. Eventually, D Troopers would earn their Yellow Cavalry Scarves by drinking from the Skull. Due to a drinking accident the skull became nearly unusable in the fall of 1970. Some people thought I had taken the skull with me when I DEROSed in May 1971. Not True.
We had switched unit designations at
the beginning of that year and most of us “old” guys resented the new designation
of C Troop 3rd of the 17th Cavalry. Apparently the skull disappeared shortly
after I left and although I considered it, although we actually
had nothing to do with the demise of the former "occupant" of the skull.
I did not bring it back due to the emphasis on war crimes and the fear
of getting caught with it. Shortly after reaching Ft. Rucker I located
an anatomically correct plastic model that was used for “CAV get togethers”
there. I’ve dragged it around for years and it has been to of the Light
Horse reunions. The present “pseudo skull” is over 30 years old.
At the 1998 Reunion the Skull was drank from for the first time in 25 years. Imbibers included wives, a female active duty Major and one of our own former WO now Ltc. who was is still on A/D. What a great time and celebration as we toasted our fallen fellow Troopers.
My 22yo daughter drank from it at the 2000 reunion.
My son has agreed to preserve this replica of a bit of our unit’s darker history and to look after it when I head for “Fiddler’s Green”.
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