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(5/26/01 6:24:01 am)
The young pointman’s screams sounded almost feminine. “Ambush, ambush, ambush”,
as his high-pitched screams reverberated off the moist, early morning surroundings.
A single rifle shot had rung out foward of their position. A sharp, ringing sound, not to
be compared with anything they were familiar with--not like the telltale rattle of the
AK-47’s or the ripping, tearing sounds of their own, rapid-fire, M-16’s.
An ambush could not have happened in a worse place for the ‘poop and snoop’ patrol.
Bradley, who had screamed the alarm, was serving his solo as pointman. The
reinforced fire team consisited of six members and a hospital corpsman. They were
clustered too close together and in a single file. The had a saying they all knew well,
that if you were in a single file column, a single fifty caliber round would get thirteen
of you and still make kindling wood out of the tree behind you. The patrol had simply
been sent out to talk with the farmers and villiagers surrounding the camp. There had
been a reactive Force Recon Team in the immediate area only the day before, raisingall
sorts of hell. There had been smoke rising from several sites throughout the
morning--that, and there had also been random firing of automatic weapons.
Another sharp, crack and the M-79 ‘thumper’ that Statler was pointing toward the
suspect position, was torn from his grip and sent flying. Statler rolled out of the way
and clutched at his holstered forty-five.
The patrol had been following a worn footpath, as they trudged along before the firing
commenced. Exactly the moment when they had started down the long, sloping, and
meandering decline, the methodical firing had begun. Unknown to the others, the first
round had found it’s mark. Lovitt, who was walking ‘drag’, cought the round in the
throat and was probably dead before he hit the moist, slippery path. He lay there like a
discarded puppet doll--his head off to one side at a grotesque angle--his spinal column
severed, his eyes wide open and staring sightlessly. What very little blood there was,
meant that his beating heart had been stilled almost instantly--and the blood there
was, contributed to a coppery odor in the now still air. The shooter was experienced
and was taking out the rear personnel first-- the skills of a sniper.
Jonesy, the patrol leader, called out orders to the low-crouching team members.
“Filbray--you and Sticks take your ‘60’s and lay some covering fire on the bunch of
bushes, forty meters at eleven o’clock--Statler, you grab Lovitt’s piece--short bursts
you gunners--me ‘n Stat are going in skirmishes left and right--Stat, you catch the
right -- and dammit you gunners, keep your fire on target--don’t sweep it or you’ll tear
us a new ass”!
Another metallic rifle crack and a round thudded into the earth beside Jonesy, causing
him to roll off to one side and scream simultaneously, “COMMENCE FIRING YOU
GUNNERS---let’s go Statler”!!!
It was not to be unlike a choreographed movie script playing out. The mind-numbing
noise of the hammering M-60’s, firing the short five round bursts, blended with the
‘mad-man’ soundings battle crys of the charging Jonesy and Statler as they swung
wide out of the cone of fire from the machine gunners, and bore down on the bushes
that were shaking and jumping as if dancing.
Perhaps it was all the machine fire had done was to keep the shooters head down, for
as soon as the hidden sniper saw Jonesy, he attempted to bring the long rifle to bear
on his target. A rapid burst from Statler’s M-16 stitched across the snipers midsection
hurtling him back to the ground from whence he had been hidden. The long-barreled
rifle was knocked from his grasp. Jonesy stood up, and in a slicing action of his hand
across his own throat, made the motion for the machine gunners to cease fire. The
smell of cordite fumes hung heavy in the now silent air. Statler’s heavy breathing
sounds blended with the grunting sounds Jonesy made as he pulled the wounded sniper
from the bushes. The patrol leader turned and gave an arm signal for the other patrol
members to assemble at his point.
The agate black eyes of the wounded Vietnamese stared up hatefully at the American
patrol leader, who only moments before, had been in his gunsights. Slimy, black
blood that smelled of viscera, oozed from between the fingers of his claw-like hand
that was attempting to shove the mess back into the gaping cavity. “Statler, you
speak their lingo--ask this old bastard what he was trying to do--hell, by the looks of
him he’s an old farmer--shit Stat--he ain’t got a tooth in his face--ask him what the hell
he was shooting at us for”.
By now Filbray and Sticks had appeared with their M-60’s draping the belting rounds
remaining, and was gawlking in at the gross scene ther on the ground. “Damn”, Stick
complained “that old bastard stinks like the worse kinda shit--what the hell do they
eat--garbage and maggots”. “Knock it off big-mouth--have a little respect--can’t you
see the poor old bastard is dyin’--”. A sudden and perplexing look clouded Stick’s
sweaty features. He had never seen death this close before. His ruddy complexion
seemed to blanch out and go grey, as he suddenly turned on his heel abruptly, and fell
to his knees and started to vomit.
Statler had been talking Vietnamese to the old casualty. The sing-song sounding parley
had been going on for a few moments when Statler suddenly turned his face up to the
waiting Jonesy and remarked hatefully, almost accusingly. “Holy shit--what a bummer
Jones--this old slope-head is a farmer--a rice grower--he’s had that old gun every
since 1954 when he was with General Giap--that was when they whupped the
Frenchies asses up at Dien bien Phu or some shitty sounding name like that--he was
just pissed off today because those frigging Force dudes killed his water buffalo
yesterday--no damn reason--just bein’ mean Muthers”!!!
The unbidden hate that now showed in Statler’s blue eyes and caused his pinkish
complexion to seem bloody--as if by cointrast it matched the hate that had shown in
the black eyes of the old Vietnamese farmer minutes earlier.
The moments of hatefilled actions by the old farmer was now past. The groping and
shoving hand had fallen off his torn stomach and now lay on the blood and viscera
stained earth beside him---this earth that he obviously knew so well--this earth he had
eeked his livihood from, but in a fit of ill-serving rage, had died here on the bosom of it.
Sticks was back on his feet again--he looked worse, now after his bout of vomiting,
than the dead old farmer looked, in fact there was a peaceful and paranormal
appearance to the old tiller of the soil as he lay there in a manner of repose. “What are
we gonna do with the old ****, Jonesy”, the Corpsman Dixon asked. Dixon had stayed
with Lovitt’s body while the firing had been going on, and now had rejoined the patrol.
“I called for an extraction chopper--be here in twenty--s’posed to pop a green if it’s
still clear--red if it turns hot”, Dixon stated casually.
“Let’s saddle up troops--get ready to move out--the family will find the old mans
body--they must have know what he was gonna do--hell, they may be watching us
right now--waiting for us to move out so they can come get him--poor old man--he died
for his ground--those mean, motherless, bastards killed his tractor”---Jonesy paused as
if catching his mistake--”well hell, it was like a tractor to him--they cherish their
aninals--that old buffalo probably slept on the same rice-mat as the old farmer
did--what a shitty deal, is all I gotta say--a real crap-detail”. Wilborn

Edited by: low2go at: 5/29/01 4:27:52 am
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