It was a cool gray morning, the sunrise soon to be.
Trip flares are set off throughout the night.
Then it happens.
You hear some sporadic gunfire at another side of the perimeter that you
Then it starts to intensify with the unmistakable crack of the enemyís
Your heart rate goes up, you wake up your buddy in the foxhole with you,
and you wait and hope and pray that they donít attack your side.
Fear is starting to set in.
Everyone is alert now.
The smell of fear permeating over the ground from one foxhole to another.
Then it starts again, itís still dark so that it just intensifies the fear.
The screaming of the incoming artillery is more than you can bear.
Knowing that the one you donít hear will be the one to get you.
As the shells land, there is a terrific explosion and the sound of the
shrapnel whistling through the air trying to stick into your flesh.
Sometimes it just slices you, other times it gashes you, like someone
pushing a jagged piece of glass in your body.
The pain is not sudden because the blunt blow to your body has numbed you.
Soon though the pain starts like someone screwing a corkscrew into your belly.
The pain is different when a bullet punctures you.
Itís more of a searing pain, like someone putting a hot steel rod into
So war is exciting and fun is it?
The fear, the stench of fresh blood being spilled out of a human body onto
They are coming up off to my right and now my left.
Itís getting lighter now, dawn is starting to come about.
Now you can see the buggers coming up the hill.
We lay our line of gunfire on the ones across the hill, so that we can
stop their reinforcements from coming to help them.
There is the feeling of killing someone.
It doesnít affect you until you are forced to do it in hand to hand at
Then and only then do you really know the fear of all fears.
Actually fighting for your life, not by shooting, but by actually touching
them and they you.
The smell of your enemy, the feel of his clothes and his skin as you try
your damndest to kill him and he tries to kill you.
The sweat because of the fear, the heart pounding, the eyes Ė those beady
little brown eyes, scared as hell, just as you are, knowing only one of us
is going to survive this.
The Grim Reaper has come to watch, to see whom he takes next.
The smell, the feel of the fresh hot blood spilling out of his belly and
The color is a deep red, hot and sticky, with a smell that you never forget.
Some of the fear is relieved that it wasnít me.
Before the killing was far away and impersonal, just shooting somebody at
Now it is a living soul, a human being.
Sgt. Allen Gadberry U.S.M.C.
S-2 Scout RVN Dec.67- Dec.68
I WAS ALONE WHEN I LEFT THE STATES TO FLY TO DA NANG VIETNAM WITH THE
OTHER MARINES. WAS I ?
I WAS ALONE MY FIRST NIGHT IN VIETNAM IN A TENT WITH OTHER MARINES WHEN A
ROCKET ATTACK HIT DA NANG. WAS I ?
I WAS ALONE WHEN THE C-130 LANDED AT DONG HA AIRSTRIP AND WE HAD TO RUSH
OUT OF THE BACK OF THE PLANE AND RUN TO THE TRENCHES BECAUSE OF INCOMING
ARTILLERY. WAS I ?
I WAS ALONE TWO WEEKS LATER WHEN I WENT ON MY FIRST PATROL IN THE DMZ. WE
WERE ADVANCING ON THE ENEMY ON LINE TO ATTACK THEM IN THEIR FORTIFIED
BUNKERS WHEN THE MARINES ON BOTH SIDES OF ME WAS SHOT. WAS I ?
I WASN'T ALONE ANYMORE .
HAD BECOME MY FRIEND. ALWAYS THERE, NEVER FORSAKING ME.
HE WAS THERE WHETHER I WANTED HIM TO BE OR NOT. HE GAVE ME STRENGTH TO
RUN FASTER AND TO FIGHT HARDER.
TO THIS DAY AFTER 30 YEARS HE IS STILL HERE WITH ME.
IN MY DREAMS MY THOUGHTS AND MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY FAMILY AND OTHER PEOPLE.
I TRY TO HIDE MY SICK FRIEND BY MINIMIZING THINGS.
BUT HE STILL LURKS THERE, ALWAYS PRESENT.
THERE WHERE TIMES WHEN I THOUGHT I WOULD GET RID OF HIM WITH A BULLET
THROUGH MY HEAD.
I AM SURE THAT WOULD GET RID OF HIM.
BUT WOULD IT ?
HE WOULD PROBABLY FOLLOW ME TO THE PITS OF HELL OR WORSE YET STAY AROUND
MY FAMILY TO TORMENT THEM.
FOR NOW I WILL JUST HAVE TO REALIZE HE IS WITH ME TO STAY.
I AM NOT ALONE !
SGT. ALLEN GADBERRY
U.S.M.C. SEMPER FI
VIETNAM DEC. 67 - DEC. 68
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