October.. It’s still hot as can be… just got off the plane.. walked into a wall of air so thick you can feel it pressing on you… I was waiting in the replacement hooch for a ride upcountry to our Darrs unit.
Some guy in faded fatigues and a 3 day growth on his chin drove up in a M151A jeep. He was our ride. Our fatigues were bright green, as opposed to his, faded, rotted around the collar.. and stained where you sweat. This guy looked like he’d been here for a hundred years, tho in reality he was just finishing up his one year tour.
“You guys going to Hue?”… We nodded yes, and got in the jeep. “Those guns loaded? This ain’t exactly Disneyland, you know…” Now I was freaked out. He took off while we scrambled through our duffel bags looking for our bandoliers…
I heard a machine gun empty next to my head! Both of us new guys were out of the jeep before we knew what hit us… I was laying on my back, looking up at the sun wondering what the hell happened… when the old guy came into view over me… smiling… “We’re never gonna get back if you guys keep falling out of the jeep!” That son of a bitch aimed his M-16 at the sky and empied a clip while we were scrambling for ammo..
A year later… I had to go down to Phu Bai to pick a up new guy for our Darrs unit. I had a 3 day growth of beard and my fatigues were practically rotted off me. This kid looked like he was in grade school… “That gun loaded?…”