The new words again were slang and described things. Soon one found themselves using these words as a norm. Some guys got into their own private fantasy worlds, it might have been psychotic. Spending hours and hours by themselves in a dream world of dreams. "The World", was one of the big new words used a lot. It meant the unconscious desires of each person to be home. Television, radio, home cooked meals, streets, buildings, round eyed girls, clean socks, a warm bed and the social life that was left behind. An KHE was a jungle area of the country, with a small town that was considered a metropolitan area.
In camp fear of the war and the isolation were a deadly enemy in itself. I the night in the barracks you could at times hear a loud curse, the person venting pressure and hatred of the place. Squeaks of the metal beds from guys masturbating to wives or girlfriends. There were a good chunk of guys that got married just before coming to Viet Nam. Fear of loosing the girl while away seemed to be the underlying reasons. All told the noises and looks of eyes told a world of stories, in the thinking and pressures of Viet Nam. So each person lived in a small private hell that was made up of life's past and the reality of the present.
Yes, the first few months now in country made me more aware of myself and life. There was a bark growing around myself which was a protection from the juices of life inside. It was part of growing up and a defense for the minds emotions. Soon it started to get to the point where you just blocked things fromregeristing in your mind. Now some guys were feeling the victim of society. Singled out for the draft while others were ice skating. The war was not part of our lives, only the policy of the people of the United States. If you never had thoughts like this you started to develop them. A big question was again, why were we sent and the others were ice skating? Back home at this time the anti-war movement was getting into gears. Guys who served in Viet Nam were becoming part of this movement. A big "and" was that they knew the story over in Viet Nam from serving a tour or even more for some.
These are other thingsabout the war that are my opinions. There were other allies of the war that served the Viet Cong. First he was the master of the chess board in Viet Nam. He was the one that lived here, farmed rice, worked, andfought for his land and country. They were also masters of guerilla warfare which had tactical superiority over the Americans. The Viet Cong knew and understood his enemy to the fullest degree that he could. They knew when to apply pressure and when to retreat and loose the leash. The American soldier was almost a puppet in the handsof the puppet players the Viet Cong. They didn't have to have action to defeat the American soldier. They let the known psychological factors mentioned in this book do the work. Drugs, alcohol, wanting to be home, all worked in the favor of the Viet Cong. It made for hazy judgements from hangovers and just carelessness from stoned soldiers.
The fear of fear is also a weapon that is used in war. The uncertainty of the attack, there were no front lines. The time or place was totally up to the Viet Cong most of the times. Our military sweeps and campaigns were avoided by the Viet Cong and they picked up discarded equipment. If they wanted to fight they would. The Viet Cong were to my belief now the people outside the serpent green-line that surrounded Hong Kong mountain. You met them during the day as hired labor forces, then shot at you in the night time on guard duty. They didn't have a really known uniform, and wore civilian clothing of Vietnamese style. Why should they wear a uniform, it was part of their camouflage. The level of spirit was that a little boy in town could comerunning up to you and hand you a live grenade. "and say",you are number one G.I. while it went off and killed the both of you. Some of it was suicide, others were retribution against an American sympathiser by killing his son or daughter by this means. We were the imperial empire aggressors to them, and the Americans could not fathom this depth of spirit and will.
Mental self harassment was the factor that the Viet Cong knew was working in the American soldiers mind.It was not the full frontal attacks in the open fields, like the American Civil War. It was the hidden fear of a machine gun burst of fire, the land mine, a booby trap, or any thing the Viet Cong could think of to inflict a casualty. These were the mental harassments of the mind that played on the American soldier. The Viet Cong would strike when you least expected and when you were ready and fully loaded, he was on vacation. There was a sixth sense the Viet Cong had about the Americans in general, they just knew. They always had eyes and ears all around, from a hired laborer to the towns people. Workers in the rice paddy would make a mental notes of traffic on a road. A look up into the sky told of aircraft movement in and out of AN KHE. Times were noted, convoys coming in and out of the town of An KHE. They all filtered this to the Viet Cong intelligence and they had a really good picture of what we were about. They knew when to hit and when to run.
The report of a sniper in the area always rang the alarms in the mind. On guard duty you could hear the whisssssh of sniper bullets that just missed you. Was it an intended miss or was it intentional. Part of the psychological war game. The missed soldier would be a one man ads man for the Viet Cong talking about the near miss the next day. You didn't want to join"the rubber-sack club" as we called it. These were more of the psychological factors that were employed by the Viet Cong.
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