...I wish I could include more about the PRIMNESS patrol, but I can't really.
I could tell the story of Gary Talent's death; the first one I saw in Vietnam; on our first insertion attempt, but it's not very interesting. He took a 12.7 in the head and died immediately. The aircraft was completely blown-away; hydraulic fluid squirting, engine bucking, leaving greasy clouds we see through the aft hatch, odd circles of light from the bullet holes playing on the blood pooled on the deck.
When we got back to Khe Sahn it seemed everyone at the LZ was congratulating the pilots. The Corpsmen carried Talent's body away, and I humped his gear back down to company area. The Gunny looked at me and said, "Son, wash the meat off your chest." Then he went into the company office, got a cold can of Olympia beer and handed it to me. "Go clean yourself up and put it behind you, " he said.
I scrubbed out his harness and pack with water and handsoap and humped
it for the next eighteen months. My walking memorial to Gary Talent. But
the Gunny got it right. "Put it behind you." End of story.