Poc Time
by Robert Pryor

 

 
I will give my observations based on my brief time there.
 
I imagine that the way poc time was observed varied from area to area.  I only served at Bunard, so I can only relate to it as it was observed in my AO.
 
Poc time was a tradition that I found to be only one manifestation of an overall cultural bias.  Perhaps some would call it laziness but I am sure that there are things which are ingrained in our culture which they would call laziness but we accept as a necessary part of our way of life.
 
Poc time was part of the Vietnamese and Steing Montagnard peoples' ability to find a good reason to take a break.  When I was at Bunard, the indigenous took every holiday off, no exceptions.  I wasn't there for Chanukah, but I have no doubt that they took it off.  I know for a fact that they took off such important days to their heritage as Ground Hog Day, Lincoln's birthday, Washington's birthday, April Fools Day, and of course, Cinco de Mayo.
 
Then there were the traditional Buddhist observances such as St. Valentine's Day, Ash Wednesday, St. Patrick's Day, The Annunciation, Islamic New Year, Palm Sunday/Passover, Good Friday, and of course, Easter.  These days off were sprinkled in with a host of other official holidays which were clearly more localized such as Tet.  The typical work week was only four days at best due to all the holidays, and it was not all that unusual to only have a three day work week.  I do not recall ever having a full five day work week.  There were just too many observed holidays in my AO.
 
Of course, they observed the Sabbath.  Everybody's Sabbath, Jewish and Christian alike.  We must have had a large contingent of Seventh Day Adventists or Jews among our 'Yards, in addition to Catholics and other Protestant denominations,  because both Saturdays and Sundays were their Sabbaths.
 
It is with this basic cultural understanding that we must look at poc time.  You can't take half the week off to observe official and unofficial holidays, and then expect folks to put in long hours on their limited work days.  Poc time was the solution to this situation.  Every afternoon, for two to three hours, everything came to a screeching halt.  That was time to eat, sometimes bathe, and take a nap.
 
This even took place on patrols.  Sure, we would put out guards to protect the operation, but they took poc time just like everybody else.  We were effectively defenseless during poc time.  Fortunately, Sir Charles was part of that same culture, so we were 100% safe during poc time.
 
I was never involved in a contact when poc time rolled around, but I would have expected that all hostilities would have ceased.  Both sides would have needed their rest.  Some things are much more important than some silly war you know.
 
By the way, last Friday, July 20th, was Marine Day in Japan.  I am sure the Montagnards of Bunard did a real bang up day celebrating on their day off...
 
Robert Pryor