Boondocker's Diary: Page 12

Lift off At Dongha


The fear was evident in their eyes as they kneeled before their captors. Two Viet Cong prisoners were captured during the night ambush, they were being interrogated by our intelligence. The VC looked pitiful as their eyes scurried back and forth from man to man. I took no pity on them, we had lost good men the day before. As they were kneeling they had a look of defiance in their eyes, they would not talk or respond to our translator. Question after question and no response, time was drawing short and patience was running out for these captives.

The evening before we had taken heavy fire and a number of Marines were killed. These two Cong were more than likely part of the attack. While on a sweep we had come across our own, tied to a tree, the skin was peeled from their bodies. One had his privates cut off and stuck in his mouth, this enemy had no mercy or morality. This enemy deserved to die, justice must be served. I could have no mercy upon these savage killers. To kill is one thing in war, to butcher is another. No man deserves to die the way my brothers did in the jungle that day. The cruelty dealt out by the Viet Cong is beyond description, their minds are as slanted as their eyes... I will never forgive, I will never forget this enemy.

The interrogation was going nowhere. The Chopper was coming in to pick up the two VC prisoners. During this ride one of these two will talk, and gladly.

They loaded them onto the chopper and soon lifted off. While inside they would continue to be questioned. Together they may have pride, alone they are free from their arrogant manner. The chopper circles the area, climbing higher and higher till it can barely be heard. During this time the interrogation continues. The Radioman receives the message, “That's a negative on the enemy co-op do you copy, over?”

“Affirmative Captain, stand by.”

We all stand gazing up at the chopper. Seconds later a black speck is seen ejecting from the hatch. Arms are flailing as the enemy freefalls towards the ground. Given the chance I presume the Vietcong rebel would talk now.

Minutes later the Chopper lands. The silent one decided to co-operate with intelligence. Much will be learned and much will be gained from the information we received. War is hell and some have to step into the mouth of hell from a little higher plane than others. It is an unfortunate reality. These truths did not make the headlines back in the World. Nevertheless the war continues to be fought with silent truths.

May God have mercy on our souls.

PS, for years after this experience, in my dreams I would see this pair of eyes staring at me in the darkness. When I got close enough to peer into them they would vanish. Those were the nights I would wake up in a cold sweat which soaked the sheets. Nancy would have to bring me back home to my senses.

Who's judgment, God or Mans? Or could it have been the captives?


Richard D. Preston

Page created: Saturday, 27 May 2000



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