Clancy of the Salmon
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Canyon Shuffle
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the journal of Grand Canyon River Guides, Inc.
volume 9    number 3 summer 1996
   
 
Wesley

wesley smith - grand canyon boatman was in the infantry. I was a private when I got there, about two weeks before the Tet Offensive in 1968. I worked on the Mekong Delta. The company I went into had 130 men. I left it in eight months and we had gone through 520 men to maintain 130-men strength. There were like 12 people, 6, 2, somebody killed every day. Sometimes hundreds of people stacked up. So I was just really lucky, the way booby traps would misfire, one thing or another. I was there for a few months and then I was in charge of the group that was there. But, you know, the turnover was so fast and everything, that’s not very uncommon at all.
So anyway, I got out of there and got back to school. I got an early out to go back to college. So I was in a firefight and then I was in a classroom about fifteen days later. And my teachers told me that I couldn’t concentrate! (ironic laugh) So I skipped out of education for a while and was just hanging out… wasn’t ever going to work again in my life.
My younger brother worked at a gas station in Williams where ARTA drove through and filled up their gas trucks. He said, “Hey, my brother’s a bum. Will you give him a job?” (laughs) A few weeks later, they

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