Off in the distance you could hear the whopping of the helicopters blades. They would come out in a steady stream of strength. Looking out the window you could see the red and green strobe lights, as it crossed the airfield. It had the appearance of a death wagon, coming from the fatal call. You had to wonder if the next call, might be for yourself. You had the security to know, that once aboard you would be rushed to the best medical facilities available. That was the one thing the soldier could be assured ofin Viet Nam. If there was any chance to save the person, it would be at the medical facilities. There was always the chance that they might only be going out to pick up the tattered remains of some guy.Then the rubber sack would be utilized. The remaining piece of the soldier, arms, legs, hands, etc, would all be gathered. Then shipped back to the family, waiting on the edge of the chairs. For them ,it was the end of a long vigil.
Inside myself, I would get a glad feeling, as strange as it would seem. It was the thought that , it wasn't me that got shot up. It was selfish and very self centered. This though was the survival instinct coming to the surface of myself. Then another medevac would call asking for clearance across the airfield. The solemness of the pilots voice and the speed of the copter, would usually indicate the status of the guys on board. The red and green lights would flash by, and the shadow of death, always seemed to be lingering behind. That same death wagon appearance would emanate from the aircraft. You again could only stare and wonder again, about the guys on board. Who they were ? Where did they come from ? How was the family, or wife, or girlfriend, going to take the news.
Inside the mainspring of my building, the springwould be released. You knew that once there was action in the area, the likely hood of any more was very slim. The sporadic fighting was the Viet Cong letting you know, that he was still in the surrounding area. This action would only build the tension on the base to a higher tempo. Then the factor of time was allowed to play into the Viet Congs hand. Once he felt the fear had been implanted, he would back off. Why should he risk men and materials, once the initial engagement was enacted. The fear of the action, brought on the American soldier, more damage and supported the Viet Cong. Being master of gorilla warfare, he knew the mental exhaustion of fear, would bring on mistakes in the future. Fear is a weapon of war in the psychology realm.
This was the kind of complex intricacies that the Viet Cong would use in their trains of though and tactics. Time was the ally of the Viet Cong. He again would attack just enough to make the American soldier aware of his presence in the area. This would start the whole avalanche of thoughts about the war and death again. You would try to think of the moment he would strike again. Where would the place be. Was I going to be the next person sent back to the states in a box. How would my family react to my death. It was like the mainspring of a clock. The Viet Cong would wind it up with action, then let it release by inactivity. When the point was reached when the atmosphere would get relaxed, he would strike, rewinding the mainspring. This winding up and releasing would be the downfall of guys. The inner pressure would build till the spring broke or was disabled.
Guys would sometimes fly off the handle. They would commit suicide or kill themselves in other ways. Sometimes they would shoot themselves and try to get shipped back to the world. These were some of the moves of the guys, that had gone over the deep end. There minds had been shattered by the psychology warfare employed. Why did the Viet Cong have to use bullets, when there were other means of disability. It also saved the lives of Viet Cong soldiers. They would have to engage in less action. The Viet Cong really controlled the country side. He was born, familiarized with the area, since childhood. He knew the terrain and landscape like the back of his hand.
It just seemed like the Americans held the land during the day time, and the Viet Cong took control at night. The night time was usually the time you could expect an attack. This eliminated also the use of American aircraft for support to a lesser extent. The night time also support the Viet Cong with protection. They really were like cats in the night. It seemed that around sunset you could feel the shift of the tide. The Americans would take the defensive in the bunkers and the Viet Cong would roam the country side. The use of modern radar was used around the perimeter at times to detect motion. It movement was detected, the use of artillery would be called in to saturate the area. It was a modern war with the use of push button technology. Sometimes, it seemed like the testing ground for the army. I am sure that things I didn't know about were used. This was what the army would call field testing of equipment. I'M sure someworked very well and others didn't meet the mustard.
All in all, the war favored the Viet Cong in my opinion. He was the master of gorilla warfare, next to the American soldier. He knew the pressures to apply and when to apply them.
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