Why 'Nam?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A 6 day account on a short mission in the Vietnam wr.

A Week in Vietnam


Day 1:


It’s our first day of deployment My squad and I are on sweeping patrol duty. We each are equipped with the standard issue m-16 gun. We each watch each other’s backs. These men are my friends. I trust these men, and they trust me. I can’t let them down.


Day 2:


Its our second day on duty. LT tells us to use napalm. The liquid burns through the forest, through my lungs. The LT says that there is no need to worry: its harmless. But I don’t believe him. Anything which can do this to a forest, which can kill life as easily as a child taking candy, cannot be good for me.


Day 3:


What day is it? The hours, the days, all mix together. We have not even seen a hint of any VC. I am starting to wonder if they truly exist. We just do more humping. We hump over hills, over rivers, and through the forests. What am I doing here? Burning the forest?  I go to sleep tonight confused.


Day 4:


Today we saw the VC!!!! Well, not actually the VC, but we find a campsite. This means we are at least in striking distance of some VC. If these people are the reason why I am out here, I am out for blood.


Day 5:


Today we lost 2 men. Those VC we spotted yesterday, well they were smart. They led a trail through a bushy under grove, and ambushed us there. One of our men was lost in the initial ambush, tripping an IED. As the VC closed in on us, we opened fire. Adrenaline coursed through my body. I had never felt anything like it. It was like a drug. I didn’t like it, but I wanted more. As we traded gunshots and grenades, multiple bullets hit our medic. He collapsed right next to me. His face read surprise. No agony, no sadness, just surprise. Even though we re in the most dangerous place on earth, somehow, we never think that it would happen to us. But seeing him, it feels so… real.


Day 6:


This is the last day of this mission. We spent the morning waiting for the helicopter to come take away our KIAs. Then we humped. We humped for ours, carrying our over-sized backpacks through narrow passes and undergrowth. As we finally arrived at the camp, my legs were screaming, I just wanted to sleep. But LT made me take inventory. I went to sleep 2 hours later, without any food or water. As I lay on my cot, my mind drifts away, and I am left with one thought: “Why ‘Nam?”.

Submitted: March 20, 2015

© Copyright 2021 William Liu. All rights reserved.

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Rebekah Steir

William, was this your experience in Vietnam? If so, thank you for your service, and thank you for this story.

Sun, March 22nd, 2015 9:54pm

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