EXCERPT FROM “HEIRS OF HONOR” – ‘THE ASSAULT’


 

“…..We had no idea of how many men were in the trees.  The enemy was there and strong enough, as we found out over the radio, to drive off our infantry.  Artillery and air strikes were called in all along the jungle front, in the lower valley.  The entire jungle for miles down into the valley had become an inferno.  Big shells and napalm thudded in, doing their murderous best to uproot the NVA residents.  From our position, it was a monumental fireworks display, but the only effect was to cover us with ash.  Mortars kept falling, and bullets continued to rip into us every time someone stuck out a nose.  We sweated through the long afternoon hours, hiding in the mud, and praying the assault wouldn’t come before we were able to get out.  Our isolation was a death sentence…”

“….Just before sunset, word came over the radio, “Fall back, at any cost!”  The scratchy radio voice took on an urgency that was almost a scream.  “Take your chances, or die there!….”

“….I realized the mortars had stopped hitting our position.  Looking out over the open ground, I glimpsed the most spectacular military sight of my two tours.  It was something I’d been expecting since enlisting, and here it was, at last.  It was not at all what I expected.  There was a terrifying beauty charging at us, and it was filled with deadly intent.  Explosions were hitting the field, adding death to the panorama.  A huge, fast moving infantry assault was streaming out of the jungle toward us.  The mortars that had been showering us all day were now dropping into the camp above.  Our shells fell among the charging troops in reply.  The effect was negligible.  The assault kept rushing our way, and we had to run, or be killed….”

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