EXCERPT FROM “HEIRS OF HONOR” – ‘HIDDEN DANGERS’


“…We moved at a crawl for another two hours, before our problems began.  The guys were north of me and had passed a clearing that was a notch between hills.  It took them an hour.  They were moving very slow because their wounds were stiffening their muscles.  While they were hobbling along that half open ground, I climbed onto some rocks for a bird’s eye view of the valley adjacent to the forest I’d been moving through.  From those few boulders, the panorama took my breath away.  There were at least two regiments of NVA troops concentrating there.  As I looked over the valley, troop movement was everywhere.  It didn’t take long for me to become so afraid I couldn’t watch, fearing some psychic trooper would sense my presence and spot me.  My nerves failed and forced me to catch up with the team.  It was a great mistake, because my concentration lapsed in the urgency, and I made a couple of mistakes.  The headcount for my CO was very inaccurate, and purely an estimate.  I struggled for the correct military terminology that said thousands and thousands of the little mothers.  I finally settled on two regiments.  My conclusion was simple.  It was time to run.  I decided to run up to their hill, before trying to make contact.  We had to let the army know a large number of NVA was in the area.  There were two to three thousand men assembling in that valley.  We had moved through the nearby forest, without noticing.

I climbed down and started after the team.  The clearing I had to cross was considerably smaller than theirs, and I did so without trouble.  Half way up the hill to where they should be, a hissing, fluttering, whispering snap hit the tree trunk I was passing.  Dirt and tree bark stung my face and filled my eyes, but they were minor discomforts, compared to the heart stopping sound of the Kalishnikoff rifle bolt ringing in my ears.  That fucking AK47, it came in dozens of models, all of them deadly, and some bastard had just fired one at me.  I threw myself backwards into an out of control back roll, down the jungle-covered slope.  On the border of panic, knowing the motherfucker was close, I tumbled wildly for fifty feet, before the heavy undergrowth stopped my fall.  There I remained motionless, taking inventory of myself, and my weapons.  Our sniper was back, and he was between the team and me….”

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