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How I Lost My Way -Part 2
By
fuzzy1954

How I Lost My Way -Part 2

My story of losing my way and returning

How I Lost My Way - Part 2

Fall of 1971

At the time not knowing I was starting 11 months of hell on earth.

At first you are looked on as the reason for the next trooper death. This was where I was to meet both my Dark Angel and mentor SSGT Wilson from Chicago. A thick black man with dark pools for eyes, chain smoking hard ass of a man. Student meet your Master. This was where I heard for the first time "you are either the hunter or the hunted...I will teach you to be a hunter, I will mold you into one of the finest hunter here. A hunter of the rarest game — man."

As days turned to weeks there was a routine we all got into, sleep during the heat of day and hunt at night. As I remember correctly on my third sortie two things I will carry to my grave happened. Seeing my first friend die. Holding his hand as he called for his mother. Watching the blood stain grow on his chest, pooling under him. Pleading to God to help him. As I held him I watched ants walking thru his blood on the ground. The same night much later, a AK round whistle pass my head missing me by less than a inch, hitting a tree beside me.

It was a typical day in paradise called Viet Nam when my Dark Angel returned to me. We all were listening to the radio blare some rock and roll song. Our squad playing cards, basketball or napping in the shade. Sgt. Wilson walking up calling me to get my men ready. We hunt by the moon tonight. My men looking up, throwing there cards down getting set for our night hunt. Moving out in a column of our three M113's some of my men riding on top of each. Most napping as we left our base. SSGT Wilson in the lead looking for our perfect ambush spot for the evening.

Fanning out our three tracks in an arch facing to the north, having the men prepare our zones of death for the coming night. my track to his left facing west, hiding in the overgrowth of the jungle. We all waited as the full moon, a hunters moon overhead. Paulsen from St Paul, Smith from Utah, Miller from Chicago and Diaz from Miami all faced to the front. Leaving my driver Clark from Georgia, and Owen our newbee from Boston with me on top of our M113.

We waited for our prey to walk into our trap. But we forgot the hunter can also be the hunted. After a brief downpour the jungle became very quiet as the moon beams danced on the pools of rain water.

From the top of my M113 was able to make out Paulsen shaking the rain off of himself. None of us knew of being in a trap. As I scanned the jungle ahead of my men. Most firefights lasted less than 15 minutes before the Viet Cong would melt back into the jungle. But not tonight, we the hunters were hunted. First there was small arms fire to our right then shifted left and back in front of us. Calling down to Clark to radio air support and a spotter plane. There was this flash as a rocket hit the side of our M113. Throwing me in the air, not knowing if Clark was able to radio in.

All hell was breaking out around us. As we returned fire, our right and center was holding. My burning M113 casting an eerie color with Clark's screams as he burned inside. Looking up for a moment I saw my Dark Angel framed by the moon circle and dive towards me..... then darkness swept over me, with Clark's screams ringing in my ears

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Copyright © 2010-2020 Carl Riley (Fuzzy1954)- All rights reserved- This material may not be reproduced, displayed, modified, distributed, copied in part or its entirely without prior permission from the author.

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