Good mission. We dropped in three days ago to look for tanks. We
found 'em, right where they were supposed to be. From the looks of
things, they'll be movin' east soon, so we're gonna go home early.
Gotta tell somebody. The Easter '72 date they've been talkin' about
in Saigon looks right. Got T-54s on film to prove it. Thirty-six
tanks, lots of petrol, lots of soldiers, not many of 'em watchin'
their backs very good. Good combination for us. They don't even know
we've been here. Perfectomundo! Third one in a row for me and the
team. Weet's in front of me, and we keep smilin' at each other.
Team did great!
We're a good ten klicks NNE of our objective, maybe five klicks from
our exfil LZ. Sh*t's pretty thick, and we're takin' our time, not
goin' anywhere till tomorrow morning, anyway. Mid-afternoon now. A
little more casual than we should be, but still quiet and respectful
of procedure. No time to slack up. We fishhook about a klick from
the LZ and set up in a thicket. I take the watch after chow, and we
get a good nights sleep. Olson and I talk a little at twilight, when
the woods are noisiest, and we're most free to do such things. We're
pretty happy dudes. They're gonna love us for this one. Tanks, man!
We got pictures of fookin' tanks! First time for either of us. Weet
covered my six when we did the close ups, and he's in this too.
We're all pretty happy dudes.
Up early, pack it up and head for the LZ. Pong on point, Weet at
shotgun, me as three, Olson with the radio behind me, Drog on tail
with Puck just in front of him. I sign, and we head out for the LZ.
Nice morning, sunny and not too warm, yet. Be a scorcher before too
long, though. Lookin' forward to the bird and the ride.
POP! KABOOOOOM! F*ck! Weet drops like a stone, pieces of him fly in
all directions. Hit the dirt! Pong's gone, man! Paste spread on the
ground. OhSh*t! F*ckin' mine! Don't bother with first aid. There
ain't enough of either of 'em to put dressings on. F*ck! Weet's my
main man. Good little f*cker who got me started straight with the
'yards. Man, his ass is grass! Sh*********t.
Circle the other three, and I take a look. Bouncin' Betty. F*ckin'
mine. Pong was our new point, pretty damn good, too. Musta stepped
on it and it got both of 'em. No trail, just out in the middle of
the woods. Mine field? Oh sh*t! What we into now? I turn to tell the
others to watch what they're doin', but they're way ahead of me.
They got Weet! My Weet. F*ck! F*CK! F*****CK!!
No help for it. Strip their gear, their maps, their everythin'.
Can't leave nothin' for the NVA. The hurt is startin' down deep
inside. They got Weet! An ache in the gut that ain't gonna go away,
maybe never. I got pieces of him on my shirt. F*ck, man. They got
Send Drog to scout a safe path the few remainin' hundred meters to
the LZ. Tell Olson to tell the choppers the LZ may be mined and to
hover low, not land. Tell the f*ckin' world to GO TO HELL! Weet's
gone! F*ck! No one to shoot. No one to curse. Nothin' but pain
comin' from the gut so bad I feel like I'm gonna split. Not Weet.
Oh, sweet God, not Weet! F*ck!
Uniforms are too clearly uniforms, and not northern ones. No way to
take 'em off the remains. Haven't got the stomach for it, anyway.
They were friends. Especially Weet. I just about seize up. Heart
feels like it's gonna burst. "Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetttt!!!"
Olson tells me to shutdaf*ck up. Sh*t! I really said it, not just
thinkin'! F*ck! Okay, gotta think. Pull out two willie petes, one
for each of the brothers on the ground. Drog's comin' back and I
sign Puck over and hand him one, point at Pong. He knows. We can't
stay. The noise will call somebody real soon now. And we can't
leave 'em as they are. They use bodies. We won't leave enough for
them to use. Weet would've done it for me. F*****ck! They got Weet!
Plant the willie petes. Book out after Drog for the LZ. Choppers are
inbound, gotta hurry. MP's on the radio when the grenades go. I stop
and look back and start to cry. F*ckin' war zone with Chuck comin',
and I start to cry. They got Weet, man. There ain't nothin' right no
more. It all sucks. Weet!
Puck pushs me and I get it together and get to the LZ. Bird comes in
and we run out prayin' we don't find a mine. Tell the snakes to
demolish the fire the willie petes have started. Maybe some of the
bastards have shown up and we'll get 'em. Maybe we won't. Don't
care. Don't know if I'll ever care. Weet's down there. My brother,
We get some altitude and the door gunner puts his '60 down. He
checks the sides of the bird and then looks down at me sittin' next
to him in the door. And he goes sheet white. Uh oh! I know I got
pieces of Weet still on me, but he's starin' at my crotch. Big
fookin' UH OH! I look down, and my groin is bright red, fresh stuff.
Mine. Fear! I didn't feel nothin' but the hole Weet left. I been
hit! In the fookin' balls! Ohsh*tohsh*tohsh*t!
The pain starts. Weet musta hid it! Serious pain! I almost slump
outta the door. Olson grabs me and pulls me all the way in. He cuts
the crotch outta my pants and gets as white as the gunner. The
gunner and he and Drog start stuffin' dressings in. I see the gunner
yellin' into his mic. And I don't remember any more.
I wake up on the ground in Pleiku. Some hospital. My gear is gone,
my pockets empty. Two guys pick me up on a stretcher and we move
into a buildin'. I look down and the bloods comin' out of the
dressings. Ohsh*tohsh*tohsh*t! First Weet and then me. I'll
probably make it, but I'm gonna be without dick and balls.
F*ckf*ckf*ck! I wanted more kids! A f*ckin' eunuch at twenty-two!
It ain't fair, man, it ain't fookin' fair!
A doc comes over and takes his turn at gettin' pale. He yells to get
a table ready and takes the dressings off to take a look. He doesn't
look good, and I can't look. He starts irrigatin', and the blood
slowly comes back to his face. He looks me in the eye and says I'm
one lucky muthaf*cka. I just pass out again.
The next day I'm back in Kontum with twenty stitches from minor
shrapnel wounds in the groin. It's not pretty down there. But, then,
I guess it never was. Turns out groin wounds bleed like scalp
wounds. I'm in a diaper. And Weet's gone. I'll never see him again.
Nobody's ever gonna see him again.
Weet was by brother, man. My little Jarai brother. We lived, slept,
laughed, cried, got scared, got pissed, got drunk, got everythin'
together. He even followed me from RT California to RT Washington
when I got my own team. And I smeared him all over a half an acre of
Cambodia. F*ckin' war, man. Stupid f*ckin' war!
The shrapnel that got me came through him. His flesh and blood and
my flesh and blood are forever mingled. Our spirits already had.
Brothers of the flesh, brothers of the spirit. Blood brothers in
every sense of the word.
I'll cry for you again tonight, Weet. I think I always will.