Boondocker's Diary: Page 17
Paradise was anywhere that we were not in harms way. A place of refuge, where hot chow and a lukewarm can of beer could be had.
Paradise could be a place called Phubai for instance as strange as that may seem.
A shitbird was anyone below the rank of PFC, or a newbie to Vietnam. often hand picked by the Gunny for top priority missions of a tedious nature. Sorta to test our metal if ya know what I mean.
There it was, looming in the darkness; a boxlike silhouette against the sky. A stronghold completely necessary to the well being of the troops. It was usually occupied by at least one, but it would not be unusual to be inhabited by three or more at any given time. This structure was set apart from the encampment as a safety factor. It's reputation was known only by those in the direct vicinity of this ominous building of wood. Earth shattering thundering and strong currents made it unapproachable at times, but being Marines we would overcome, improvise and adapt to this potentially volatile situation. In this strategic location we could gather all kinds of vital information, while we laid to waste the vile renderings of sustenance from the grueling day that was behind us.
The time was soon approaching when we would have to take the stronghold back from the odious beast that inhabited it. We had to prepare and strengthen our character. Our moral beings were at stake; we had to diligently yet cautiously regain control. Hundreds have been here before us, and left with an uneasiness in their guts.
We dressed appropriately for the mission that would begin at first light, Olive drab... We placed handkerchiefs over our faces (we wished to remain anonymous). We had flames and plenty of fuel to ignite our objective. This was a highly flammable situation we were about to encounter and we had to proceed with speed and caution. If carried out in haste, the remnants of spoils could cover us. We would become outcasts to our peers!
First light. Our objective was empty, (so was everyone else I guess). We were ready. Together we slinked up to the fortress and dropped to our knees with precision while looking at each other. I nodded; he in turn gave the thumbs up. The hatch was opened and deftly propped up with the speed and precision of Marines. This was it, This was the moment of truth, another nod, another thumbs up. We moved as one in unison and, with unmatched professionalism, grabbed onto our objective and slid it out onto the slick Vietnamese soil.
We read each others thoughts and repeated the same drill a total of three gut wrenching times...
D-DAY! Zero hour! Geronimo! Whatever... It was now or never.
The flames were made ready as I doused the sinister objectives with fuel. My cohort hit them with fire.
Whoom! Whoom! Whoom! Black smoke spiralled towards the heavens. We ran for our lives gasping for air. When we reached a safe distance, we stopped and turned and together stared at the devastation of the conflagration.
A weird satisfaction overwhelmed us.
The shitters were burning...
Richard D. Preston
Page created: Sunday, 28 May 2000