Fred Swan Says:

Fall out for Shit Detail!!

Unknown Soldier on Shit Detail

In the military, there is no other detail more dreaded than the shit detail. Walking point, listening post, filling sand bags came close. But the mother load of all shit details, was and still is "The Shit Detail ". In Vietnam, this prestigious position was usually filled by the meat; the the new man. Yep, they all had their turn in the barrel, so when the new-bee came on board, his indoctrination, to earn his spot with the veterans, was to do his duty on your shit and it was his detail.

The Shit Detail consisted of outdoor potties being cleaned. It's a shitty job, but someone had to do it. You were given gloves and that's it. Behind the shitter is a trap door. Raise the trap door, there you would see a couple of 55 gal drums cut in half. By the way they would be full and stink and would be heavy, cause they are filled with diesel fuel and shit. Pull the drum out, while it sloshed all over you. Diesel fuel, crap, piss, spit, chewing tobacco, and puke, sometimes your own while doing this duty. Just about the time you think this duty is over, HA! You have to drag, carry this drum to a open clear area. Now you had to light and burn the contents. After that smoked shit filled the air, grab a drum that has been burned, and fill it with fresh diesel, drag, carry it back to the shitter, lift it and place it back in its hole. Again, it would splash on you to get this done.

Yep, there was more dangerous jobs and details in the military, but nothing compares to the shit detail. Goof off, be late, talk back, be a slacker, and you will be in a world of shit.

Fred Swan, USMC (and former shit burner)


Kent M. Herrick, Editor in Chief, 2011


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