The Nam. M.I.A. Part 1

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic

Featured Review on this writing by AdamCarlton

The Nam is a 3 part story telling the tale of a US Marine recruit, and his tour of duty in the Vietnam War.

Warning!
Contains bloody violence, and profane language.

The Nam

Part One

M.I.A

The Mamas and Papas blared out of the chopper’s speakers almost drowned out by the... whump! Whump! Whump! Of the Huey’s rotor blades whirring above our heads.

 The leaves below us were not brown. The sky was not grey, and it was definitely not a winter's day. The Jungle below us was the most vibrant green I had ever seen. The sky was blue, and the jungle heat was sticky and uncomfortable, I was drenched in jungle sweat... and dreamin' of California was the furthest thing from my troubled mind.

The Nam was below us, the clear blue sky above us. We were an invading iron whirlybird, bristling with guns in a foreign sky, bringing freedom and Liberty and democracy for all, to this tiny corner of the world. Fighting the good fight against the oppressive Commie threat, Well, that was the crap fed to us by our great President, Richard Nixon.

Vietnam, Hell! I couldn’t even find it on an Atlas map.

The Huey was taking us fresh-faced grunts on our first recon. To say I was not shitting myself, would be an understatement.

The doors were open, the air blew in. Two M134 Gatling mini guns stuck out of the open doors. The gunners sat on their helmets (They gave more protection from ground fire than the aluminum bird we were flying in) The gunners were strapped in place with monkey straps, so if they were hit, they wouldn’t fall to their deaths! Thank the Lord for small mercies!

There were eight of us crammed into this rumbling beast, speeding over the jungle. We were fresh-faced, fresh meat, for the war machine grinder. Some of the faces of my new squadmates looked stern; others could not hide the sheer terror they felt. The guy opposite me, however, had a stupid grin on his face. He had a freckled baby face and a gap between his front teeth. He reminded me of that dumb faced cartoon kid from the covers of Mad Magazine. He was chewing on his gum, smacking his lips together, and holding his M16 between his legs and stroking it lovingly like it was his pecker or something.

His helmet was tilted back with the chin strap swinging in rhythm to the Huey's motion. He had also scrawled some writing on his helmet webbing, in thick black ink, ‘Gook Killer’

What a fuckin’ Jerk!

He smiled at me, ‘Hey, man, where are you from?’ he asked.

‘Baltimore!’ was my one-word reply.

He nodded, ‘Me!’ he thumbed his chest.

As if I was interested.

‘I’m Chicago born and bred, man.’

I just smiled and nodded, hoping he would shut up. I was not in the mood for talking. I was still trying to get to grips with my conscripted predicament. I had just turned twenty and was ripped from my comfortable college life, with booze on tap, weed, and free love, as I studied law, hoping to become a prosecution attorney.

He pointed to the speakers and stuck his tongue out and then tapped one of the gunners on the shoulder.

‘Hey man, you not got any good music tapes, shit, who wants to listen to this hippy crap? You not got any Creedence, man?’

The gunner gave him a look as if he were made of shit and frowned in a hostile tone.

‘Shut the fuck up and don’t ever touch me again, Asshole!’

We all grinned at that telling off.

Gook Killer pulled a clownish face and cupped a hand around his mouth as if that would stop the gunner from hearing his reply.

‘Hogs by name, Hogs by nature, man!’

He was referring to the nickname given to these Huey’s, bristling with guns and their flight crews.

I tapped my helmet almost regretting getting into a conversation with him, but I found myself curious.

‘So, what’s with the Gook Killer?’ I asked.

‘That’s my call sign, man; we all got to have a call sign.’

‘Yeah, but Gook Killer?’ I shook my head, ‘You haven’t even seen Charlie, let alone shot anyone!’

Gook Killer chewed his gum and grinned, ‘No, man, but me and my buddy here, plan on changing that A.Sap, man.’ He patted his M16 affectionately.

The Hog next to him turned his head to me and raised a hand giving a jerk-off motion.

I laughed at that and then slipped into a state of solemnity as my eyes passed over the pile of body bags tucked under the seats. I wondered if one of them was going to be my ride back home state-side, in a zip-up bag, marked K.I.A.  My stomach churned at that dark thought.

 

Suddenly the gunner tapped his com and shouted out in panic, ‘We got ground fire...Shit! They got fuckin’ rockets...’

The Huey engines seemed to suddenly scream in terror at the alarm.  The pilot hit the throttle and jerked the stick about. We lurched in the air almost tipping on our side as the nose came up. My eyes widened in horror as I glimpsed something whoosh past us. My ass tightened up so fast it was painful.

The next thing I knew the floor was being torn up with gunfire. One soldier cried out as his boots exploded, spraying his blood and chunks of his ruined feet around the cabin.

And then like a boat coming over the crest of a wave we slumped back down, the rotors whirred loudly in protest and then my ears popped and my body felt the shudder of the explosion as something hit us.

The Huey rocked violently, malfunction alarms were ringing out and a cloud of smoke filled the cabin.

I opened my eyes to the horror of the situation. The gunner was gone; the Gatling gun was swinging back and forth. The torn monkey straps flapped in the wild breeze, stained red amongst the ripped up and twisted metal of the doorway.

Gook Killer was sitting opposite me. I knew he was screaming his mouth was wide open and his Adam's apple was bobbing up and down. But all I heard was a loud buzzing in my ears.

Gook Killer had taken the brunt of the rocket explosion. The mangled stump of his left leg was hanging out of his combat pants in bloody meaty, tatters, and his left arm up to the elbow was also gone, his sleeve was shredded and flapped like bloody streamers.

Outside, it looked as though the sky was spinning around us, but it was not the sky, it was us, we were spinning like a top. The co-pilot upfront was slouched in his seat; his head was limp on his shoulders. His blood was splattered across the windshield. Our Pilot was tugging on the joystick with both hands trying to regain control of the chopper. It was a battle he was losing.

The jungle rushed up to meet us and tried to invade the inside of the chopper. Leaves and twigs and foliage slapped my face as we lurched over on our side. The sound of snapping branches filled my ears as did the bending of metal as we crashed through the treetops.

One Grunt in panic released his seat belt, he immediately was swept out of the doors and disappeared, and screaming as the jungle swallowed him up. Another Grunt was impaled on a tree branch that thrust its way through the door. Blood spurted from his mouth.

I closed my eyes and prayed to God.

And then we jerked violently as the Huey became entangled in jungle vines leaving us dangling from a tree like a porch lantern several feet from the ground. I was hanging forward held in place by my seatbelt. I could hardly breathe; I fumbled with the belt clip. It snapped open, I fell forward and rolled out of the Huey and fell to the jungle floor.

The wind was knocked out of me; I lay on my back and groaned. And then I opened my eyes and looked up.

The chopper was hanging about eight feet above me; it was nothing more than a hunk of twisted metal. I could see the bodies of my squadmates slumped over in their seats. A stream of fuel was pouring from the chopper; its smell was tinny and strong.

Were they all dead? Was I the only survivor?

Then one of them moved, he fumbled with his belt, and then like me, he tumbled from the belly of the chopper and hit the ground with a thud.

I ran over to him and helped him up.

He looked dazed, his nose was bloody and he had a darkening bruise forming on his forehead. His sleeve was ripped and he had a deep laceration on his arm, he was leaking the red stuff quite badly.

Suddenly the Huey groaned like a dying beast, the branches snapped under its weight. We ran for cover as the Huey came crashing down bringing with it a shower of leaves.

Without a second thought, I ran toward the wreckage and climbed inside.

‘Is anyone alive?’ I shouted.

I began to check the mangled limp bodies. They were all dead. I swallowed down the rising bile in my throat. And then I took several deep breaths and started throwing supplies out of the wreckage.

Suddenly there was a roar of sound, flames erupted from the cockpit and a thick cloud of thick, black, choking, smoke began to fill the chopper.

I quickly scrambled out of the death trap and picked up a backpack and two M16s and ran for cover. Within moments, the Huey was consumed in bright leaping flames.

‘We have to get out of here!’ I urged. ‘The Charlie’s will see the smoke.’

He just nodded; he looked dazed as if he were concussed or something. I grabbed him and dragged him away from the burning mangled mess of our chopper.

We ran into the jungle. Behind us, the leaking fuel tank exploded.

We were lost, alone, as good as dead, and swallowed up by the Nam.

 

'Better run through the jungle

Better run through the jungle

Whoa, don't look back to see'

'Run through the jungle'

Creedence Clearwater Revival

lyrics by John Fogerty 1970

 

 


Submitted: January 24, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Celtic-Scribe63. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:

Comments

AdamCarlton

Well, that was a photorealistic wild ride! A vignette of a futile war. One of so many.

Sun, January 24th, 2021 4:31pm

Author
Reply

So sorry for this late reply, Adam. I did it again and thought I had replied to your valuable comments.

I wonder if it was because I was using my phone to write the reply? It didn't go through!

Your description of the story is exactly what I was trying to accomplish. I watched quite a bit of Nam footage and tried to capture the moment in words.

It's funny, but I have always had a fascination with the Vietnam War. I have vague memories of seeing reports on the late-night News when I was about 11-12. I didn't really understand what was going on over there, but the images of Hueys, and GIs running for cover stuck with me.

Thanks' for your comments, they are always inspirational.

Regards
CS63

Fri, February 5th, 2021 7:50am

88 fingers

Very graphic and detailed description. Let's the reader be in the situation with these guys.

Sun, January 24th, 2021 6:05pm

Author
Reply

Hi,
Thanks for the comments and observations with this story.

It seems I hit the mark with readers, pulling them into the moment and action.
Part two will be up in a couple of days.
Thanks for your valuable input.

Regards CS63.

Sun, January 24th, 2021 2:16pm

Serge Wlodarski

Good start, looking forward to part two.

Sun, January 24th, 2021 6:36pm

Author
Reply

Thank you for your comments, they are greatly appreciated.

Part two should be up in a couple of days. I hope it doesn't disappoint!

Regards
CS63

Sun, January 24th, 2021 2:12pm

hullabaloo22

Fantastic writing, C-S. You really brought those men to life, and the action was perfectly timed. This really was a very convincing read.

Sun, January 24th, 2021 6:45pm

Author
Reply

I've always wanted to dip my writing toes in 'The Nam'

Hopefully part two will bring a surprising twist to the writing, and the story.

So pleased you liked it.

Kind Regards
CS63

Sun, January 24th, 2021 2:11pm

Sharief Hendricks

What a helicopter ride you took me on CS.

I enjoyed it so much and I was so engrossed in it that I nearly reached for my safety belt ! hahaha

As always your imagery is amazing, the way you described how the "jungle rushed up to meet the helicopter" was harrowing and will stay with me for sure...

Now for part 2...you set the bar pretty high with part 1 so you have your work cut out for you in the conclusion...

Can't wait !

Fri, February 5th, 2021 12:36pm

Author
Reply

I am so pleased you liked it,
I hope part 2 doesn't disappoint! LOL.

Thanks' for your comments, and reads. As always, it's a pleasure to read your reaction to my writing.

best Wishes
CS63

Fri, February 5th, 2021 7:16am

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