It is strange to me that the soldier would carry his brass cleaning rod in such a fashion.
Yes and maybe he had just used it and something else caught his attention.
Found this: South vietnam Soldier in Village of Tia My after battle with the Viet Congs.VIETNAM - MARCH 01: South vietnam Soldier in Village of Tia My after battle with the Viet Congs. (Photo by Larry Burrows/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)He is a Ranger and I'd guess it was early in the war.
It could be that or he was cleaning his Thompson and had to "go". One thing about him too is that he is "loaded for bear" in the grenade department.
Looks like he has a bandage on but don't understand how it was attached.
It looks like it is held in place by his helmet chinstrap with a couple of rubberbands.
Good eyes! :) When I was searching, there was a link which listed it as one of the 20 best Thompson pictures. That's another one I had to leave in Vietnam. :(