Boondocker's Diary: Page 14


There is movement; the light from the moon flashing from an object just inside the tree line caught my attention. I think we are being probed and as I concentrate and stare into the jungle, I see the black ghosts darting from shadow to shadow. Quick, precise and silent. My rifle is shouldered, the sling is wrapped around my wrist, I have chosen my target... the waiting begins.

The shadow slithers from the jungle, inch-by-inch making it's way towards our position. A sad mistake, he has been spotted, and yet he unknowingly approaches his doom. This night holds nothing in store for this soul except swift and final departure. Tonight he will not be victorious in his cause, tonight he will not inflict death, tonight he will be the victim and he will achieve lifelessness. Tonight he is in my sights, and tonight... he will die.

My instinct is vibrantly alive and it tells me to wait, “Make no mistake Marine.”

My conscious replies. “Life is in the balance, your life and his life, and the lives of your fellow Marines. Be patient, be calm, be sure, but most of all, be first.”

Inches sometimes take hours, death takes but a second, we are taught a creed - one bullet, one kill... and I fully intend to live up to that creed this night.

It is time. My enemy is approaching; silently, steadily. In his mind he is thinking he must prepare to kill. He plans his attack, and he means to carry out his mission. In his mind it is we who are the oppressors; we are number 10,000 GI; we are objects not seen as human. We have our own Government saying we are wrong. We have Hanoi Jane, telling our enemy that she would like to get us in her sights. In my enemy's mind we are condemned.

But soon... in his mind will be a round exploding...

I tighten the sling, and prop my arm on the sand bag; my instinct has shut down the compassion factor and I look down the cold steel barrel of my rifle. The rifle stock presses against my cheek, my thumb just under my cheekbone. The safety is flipped off and I have the enemy in my sights. My finger grows taught upon the trigger; I squeeze slowly. My rifle and I are now one, we are the master of this mans life, we own this situation and this situation is critical. In seconds, another life will end, another bloodstain upon the soil of this land and no one will care; but as life goes on this life must end. It is after all, war. Sighting, squeezing, I hold my breath; Goodnight Charley...

My shoulder is jolted back, my thumb digs into my cheekbone, a single shot explodes, and I remain in position and re-sight my eye to the object. There is no question the target has been acquired. I have altered the natural course of life in an un-natural way. There is no joy or celebration, no job satisfaction; just duty to my country, I will obey my orders. My mission is to kill the enemy; I have been faithful to my Corps and my country. I must live with my decision.

The bottom line is... I Must Live.

Boondocker: experienced, 1967

Richard D. Preston

Page created: Sunday, 28 May 2000



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