It just didn’t come through
No news; no sound other than the usual rustling, dragging, the occasional thud. Some of us were slouching on the uneven earthy ground, others lay flat on their backs or bellies. Just a few in attention, though merely accustomed to it.
The outside noises, all merged into one insipid lull, were hardly caught by those in their posts. A call, or at least some reception noise on the radio would have made the evening worth it.
My military days had started out onJune 25, 1969, upon receiving my high school diploma and signing up for the Army Air Corps. I recall getting a feeling of “I made it”. A brief initial indoctrination, a few inoculations, and off had I flown.
It was not the fact that the place was running at the seams with young soldiers rendered useless unable to fight; not that the seething resentment that it caused made me want to run out and be showered with lead. I always felt it my duty to protect my squad –somehow not letting myself endanger this bunch of souls. Anyway, I might as well have walked out of the place in broad daylight; no foe had been heard of for days. Eventually, I might end up scattered about after stepping on a land mine.
Jacobs was mumbling to himself as he polished his belt buckle. Estevez played some Asian solitaire as best he could, considering the incomplete deck which had seen better days. O’Keefe sang softly of his heart left back inNew Jersey“I put a spell on you, ‘cause you’re mine… You’d better stop the things you do…”
It is amazing how one can learn to play tricks on oneself. I had lost my brother in this war already, and I had seen my best friend blown to pieces a few feet away from me in the swamps. I was still hoping for news from the other side.
Life in the trenches was becoming less bearable by the day, probably by the hour. A radio message, any sign of living troops reachable on foot would have contributed that feeling of otherness we were silently so longing for.
Night began to fall once more, however determined not to.