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(3/19/01 7:23:38 pm)
The smell of death started to fill the cool, night air. It began as insidiously as one would
begin smelling grass being mown--or bread being baked--toast beginning to brown. The
purtid, rotting, gutt wrenching odor of decomposing human flesh. As the intensity of the foul
smell increased, there began to be discerned, heavy grunting and snorting sounds. Then
the scratching and scraping sounds of something or someone picking it’s way through the
brush and tangled heaps of the discarded junk pile of war wrecks.
A human figure that was in a prone firing position nearby, sensed the rancid smell--then the
gutteral sounds of something alive, and finally the movements and the noise. Navy Seal
Jack Apperson made no movement--no sound. Up to the time that the smells started,
anyone capable of peering in from the darkness, would have observed the covert sniper in
an almost sensual, ‘holding-onto-the-Earth’ firing position. The young marksman was laying
on his special deodorized ground cover, face foward to the target, body at a comfortable
angle, ankles and feet flat down on the rubberized cover. A soft jungle hat covered his
head and down on the forehead to his eyebrows. He had been sighting through a special,
light amplified spotters scope at the bonfire burning down in the distant valley. The big
sniper rifle was was propped up on pliable items that seemed to be almost like bicycle inner
tubes. The weapon seemed to be overly long at a quick glance--then one would notice
the sound suppressor attached to the muzzle--then the eye would catch the overly large
scope--My God, the eyepiece looked as big as a dinner plate.
Apperson still had not moved. Through his specially provided (top secret) spotter scope, his
right eye held onto the sight pattern around the bonfire down below his concealed position.
Movements around the fire were not sheltered. It was as if those in attendance had no
worry of attack or discovery. Every once in a while, the flames would leap high into the
night sky, accompanied by firey sparks when someone would throw more combustible fuel
on the fire. Apperson had already spotted his prey--his assigned target--all of the photos
and details that had come in the CIA’s courier pouch had listed features and identifiable
things about this vicious killer. Claiming to be a North Vietnamese general, he was nohing
but a sadistic killer of village elders, women, and the clergy--even children were
slaughtered on his orders, when it suited his whims. Apperson had the strongest inkling that
this man was the Devil reincarnated--he surmised that this evil man looked like the old
oriental actor in the Charlie Chan movies. Most of the gear Apperson wore or carried on
these covert missions, was not availble to line troops. The big M-21 rifle was so designated
by The Agency--the monstor scope--military jargon, LL-2 --the little light amplified spotter
scope was a marvel of ingenuity--not the green, garish muddle that one would see through
regular issue night vision lenses, but daylight clear--that’s how Apperson could spot old
Charlie Chan so easily. Old J.C. back at the F.B.I. training facility in Quantico, had a large
part in devising these magic buttons-- Spook Gear he called it. He was the one staff
instructor Apperson remembered so fondly by his name--every expression by the old
instructor, and for it’s added emphasis it seemed, was preceeded by a Jesus Aich Christ, thus
his nickname for years was J.C. Apperson remembered the time when old J.C. praised him
for his stealth and cunning in a field exercise--that was when he had forcibly stated, “Jesus
Aich Christ Apperson---you are like a Gawd-damned ghost--I have never, in my forty years of
teaching you young whelps, seen the likes of you --- I bet you can walk right through this
Gawd-damed wall”--.
The grunting and snorting sounds now had come closer--significantly so--and the stench of
decaying flesh had become overpowering. The occasional silence as if the thing
approaching was stopping--listening--then it would begin again--the breaking of the grass
and brush--the snorts and the----yes, it was a raspy, uneven intake of breath. The heavy
breathing--sounds as if a patient with terminal emphysema. Apperson still had the small
spotter scope up to his right eye, with that locked onto the flame flickering target far
below--the left eye closed tight shut---. The sounds now were almost on top of his
concealed position--the rank smell, terrible as it was, had got no worse, but the young
sniper now could sense hot blowing breath--the heat of a laboring body-now the sounds of
slobbering and chewing mixed with the blowing of breath. Iron-nerved as the young Navy
Seal professed to be, his left eye popped open--at the same exact micro-second,
Apperson’s bare eyeball must have reflected the flames shooting skyward from fresh fuel
being added to the already towering flames. That other set of eyes--the eyes of the
marauding Messenger of Death--at that some precise instant, that purveyor of the odor of
the long dead, must have seen the terror reflected there in the coiled mans eyes. The
sound emitted by the creature was not unlike the death squeel of a hog being slaughted--.
The clandestinely secret spotter scope, was not good for close up vision. Apperson had to
get an eyeball on this thing that had suddenly startled him so badly, as he hurled the small,
pocket sized scope aside. The acuity of Apperson’s night vision was at the maximum. The
creature he was staring at was not more than four foot away. The quick, calculating mind of
of the young assassin determined that this horrible creature was indeed a cruel abortion of
nature. It appeared to be a cross between a Mid-American wolverine and perhaps an
oriental mongoose--he had seen a mongoose one time on the island of Okinawa--it was pit
fighting with a cobra snake--natural enemies Jack remembered--there had been no winner
that day--the mongoose killed the snake but in a few minutes had tettered off and died
itself. The animal, whatever species it was, uttered another squalling sound, whirled and
went crashing away in the darkenss--it seemed to be wallowing as it ran--from the rear it
looked like a fat hog or a hippopotamus. Apperson’s heart was pounding as if it was going
to explode--his mouth had dried--the crackers he had eaten hours before, choked in his
throat-- the burning stomach acid tore at his taste buds. Apperson realized unconsciously
that his intense sniper discipline had cut in--in his mind he was threshing and tearing at
things--but not so--he was as cool headed as any old western hangman. It was then he
surmised the whole event had only caused him to open that eye and lay the spotter scope
aside. He peered down into the valley again--from Hill 881 South the view was
magnificant--the flames on the bonfire were dying down a bit--not causing the reflected
figures to dance and move around so much--moving only his head, he peered into the big,
pre-set LL-2 rifle scope--the sight pattern was suddenly and greatly magnified--crystal bright
and he could see Charlie Chan as clear as if he were on the movie screen back home in
Wisconsin--wonder if they still have Charlie Chan movies, Apperson mused--he’s sure be an
old bastard now--a smart old Chineeman--solving all those complex murder mysteries--a
flicker of a smile tugged at the corner of the young Seal’s handsome mouth--. Time had
passed so evenly this mission--wish they all were like that --so smoothly since his insertion into
the field by the small, moth like, Bell chopper--as soon as Jack Apperson would ‘burn’ the
target, he was required to activate a small beeper device--that would commence
extraction procedures from the target site. “Jesus aich Christ you shooters--go for a head
shot--just like you been tought--you can never tell if they are wearing armor--even if they are
buck naked as the day they were hatched--still go for a head shot--you loose if you hit a
rib--or a button--just like you been tought--you’ll feel good when you squeeze off that round
if it looks like it was with those watermelons you practiced on--that red, hazy looking mist flies
and you can say without a doubt, I rung his bell for him”.
I bet that smell that come from that dumb, stinking, nasty animal--whatever kind of animal it
was--I kinda think that he’s been foraging on dead Vietnamese bodies that are buried here
in and around Khe Sanh--and Hill 881 South--the ones the ARC-LIGHTS nailed--or the
Jarheads and the Grunts killed when they were defending this ‘shit-hole’--they never did
come back to recover their dead, Apperson mused in his head. The sight picture through
the big #2 Leopold could not be better--he could even clearly see the blemishes on ugly
Old Charlie Chan’s face. The special cast and molded 7.62 round was already chambered
and waiting as Apperson snapped off the SAFE--. Crosshairs in the sight picture were like a
picture book. Rock steady--full face and head--”Jesus aich Christ, Apperson--I have never
seen a man with so much of a sense for timing--you should have been a Gawd-damned
ballerina dancer Apperson--and you have the Magic Touch in your trigger finger
Apperson--did you know that my fine young----”!
The big heavy weapon surged-- almost like an orgasmic shudder, as trigger and sear did
their mechanical functions. In the fraction of a second that it required the supremely
machined round to reach the Charlie Chan looking face in the scope, Apperson’s sight
picture never wavered. The seeming obsene, yet eloquent words of old J.C. speaking
about the red mist-- “like when you shoot a water melon”--there it was --as the florid looking
face of the Killer of Innocents drooped out of Appersons captive view--. He reached into
the pocket of his jacket and retrieved the homing device for calling the Bell and beginning
extraction. “Jesus Aich Christ”, Apperson muttered to himself--”I stink as bad as that ugly,
fat-ass little carrion cruncher--makes me wanna puke”.
John H. Wilborn

· Registered
21 Posts
You write of Jack Apperson. He did 3 tours in Vietnam after GITMO 1961 - 1963.

I spent my first 15 years with Jack Apperson, as he was my stepfather - My mothers name is Donna.
As a child I went by David Apperson. There were 4 boys and 1 girl before 'Little Jack' was born.

My family spent 2 years with Jack in Cuba and then went to Port Hueneme with Jack in the Seabees. There are some that may remember us.

I was the one who received the head trama on 3 Sept 1969, treated at the Naval hospital and then wore the medical turbin for six months. My sister and I would like to put the missing pieces of our lives in order. We understand why we were raised hiding deep secrets and to say nothing to anyone of our experiences.

However, time has passed and we would like to talk with those that served with Jack in Vietnam, Port Hueneme, or in Cuba. And anyone who remembers us on 'J' street.


I served on DMZ Korea 1977 - 1978 with US Army as David Wayne Apperson
then given a "Direct Order" while in the army to change my name at US Naval request.
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