Boondocker's Diary: Page 2
Hue Phubai 1966
The preparation was easy. Grab your rifle some C-rations, water and a radio for communication, two Marines heading for the infamous tower LP.
The Tower was an old cement edifice built by the French during their ass kicking in Vietnam. It was a ways out from the base camp in the jungle surrounding Phubai. The tower stuck up in the air like a thumb after a hammer slammin'. it was located in the center of a small clearing in the bush. Once we climbed into the tower there would be no way down or out after dark. The steps leading up to the top of the tower were all but blown away, the sides of the building were riddled with bullet holes, By the looks it contained holes from every caliber weapon known to man, A regular Alamo. Sam Huston would have Said piss on it let em' have it, it ain't worth it. Get my drift? Many a skirmish had taken place here, As I said no way out, no way down, once inside the tower. After O'dark thirty, you wouldn't want to leave anyway.
At this time in my tour I was about a month into hell. To tell you the absolute truth I didn't feature putting my ass out on the line for Charley to shoot off. Unfortunately Choice was not mine and my opinion held about as much water as a whale with a degenerating sphincter disease.
Anyway, we were there to listen for enemy ambush patrols, probes or anything out of the ordinary. Every sound in the jungle meant sumthin' and no sound in the jungle meant everything. I suppose that this was one of the loneliest experiences I had while in the Nam. It was as though we were hung out to dry. I could compare it to fish bait but these weren't Red Snappers we were trying to catch, Red Chinese maybe. Had any Vietcong forces entered the area we would not have been able to fight our way out. Help was out of the question, although mortar fire could be called in if needed, but in essence we were expendable. We were there for one purpose and that was to warn the front lines. “Semper Fidelis”...
The jungle was full of sounds, War raged on around us. Willy peter lit up portions of the sky with white flashes in the distance. Rifle shots echoed through the thick night air. It sounded as though an ambush had been sprung, we hoped that it was our ambush on Charley taking it's toll and not the other way around. We held our breath and prayed that the jungle noise would pick up again.
Radio silence is a must, unless needed of course, God if we do make contact, let the radio work. As long as the sounds of war go on around us we feel a little less alone. Strange, yet it took our minds off our deep shit situation and at the same time sharpened our senses.
Silence before dawn.
The radio squelches, LP come home, Make your way to the Cover of the canopy.
Another night in the tower, another day in the Nam.
Richard D. Preston
Page created: Saturday, 27 May 2000