Walk in the dark
Written by a Vietnam Veteran
I am so proud to have served my country. I would have done it again if called. I had just turned 19 when the call came for service. Went to training for 11bravo in California. Sent to Nam and landed 14 July 1969. I felt the heat and the smell, oh my God the smell.
Now I was taken to the unit were I was assigned. 1 week orientation then out to (FSB) Normandy III. Next day my intro to C-Rations as the "newbe" lima beans. Next came my first ride on a chopper. 20 minutes from take off to LZ it seem like a lot less. The bird never touched down we just jumped and headed for the bush, all 7 of us. I remember asking myself “where the hell is everyone else why are we only 7?”
We walked down a small trail for a few minutes, whatever it took us to go 150 to 200 yards. Then there was gun fire all over the place, I hit the ground watched in to the bush for a few seconds.
An enemy soldier landed next to me, with his face maybe a foot from me. Our eyes locked as life left his body.
To this day can still see him, as if he were talking to me, or trying to reach out to me. The fire fight ended just like it started. We checked to see if anyone else was hit...nope all clear. We just walked away and left him there. I just couldn’t make myself look back at him.
I had to learn to hold my feeling and emotions in side of me. And I still do.
Late at night he walks into my bedroom and I get up and walk into the living room never turning on a light. Hoping at times to speak to him and knowing I can’t, so most time I just drink some water and lie down again. But sleep rarely comes. It is hard for me to walk in the dark now at my age.
After the 10 day operation we went to Hq area and it hit: How the hell did that gook get so dam close to me? Who was watching my back? The more I thought about the angrier I became. I kept in and determined not to let it happen again. I trusted no one. This has taken its toll on me. I spend a lot of time alone and have for the last 50 or so yrs. I will help you but it is hard for me to trust. I have very few friends (2) and my family stays away because I’m to straight forward. And now you know.
I have found peace in helping other vets with their struggles. I know my God has given me this struggle so I could help my brother find peace.
The Lord is my peace and when I am down, He is there to hold me. I was called to do what I do. I never wanted anything to do with this helping other thing. But now I love it so, to the point that I hurt when it seems that I have failed to reach my brother that is hurting.
(correction: edit "enemy soldier" was made to correct edit to veteran's letter)