Discussion in 'Vietnam Stories: By John H. Wilborn' started by Guest, Feb 26, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

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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

    YOFAST New Member

    Nov 17, 2007
    United States
    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.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2007