The Spirit of an Angel (Chapter 3 - Caught in Duc My, page 1 of 4)

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"There is a connection with all we do and with whom all we meet"

Somehow we made it back from our first night patrol. I was bewildered by my first day in Vietnam. Before arriving I had no idea what to expect, but this was beyond anything I could have imagined or even made up. As time went on I became acclimated to the hot weather and somewhat accustomed to my new home on PF Hill.

During normal life on the Hill, our squad rotated among day patrols, going out on night ambushes-which sometimes ended up being a night in Duc My-and the third day was what our leaders called a day of rest. The day of rest really ended up being a day of doing odd jobs on the Hill like filling sandbags for the bunkers, cutting the brush away, cleaning and burning the crap in the head, and other work details.

I followed Chuck's advice and kept my mouth shut, followed orders and did what I was told.

It was difficult to make friends considering the rotations of Marines going back to the states or being killed or injured, never to be seen again. The friendships that were made lasted a lifetime.

Chuck and I hit it off very well. His cot was next to mine and at night we would spend time talking about back home.

He had a girlfriend named Nicole who he always loved talking about. He was always showing her picture. She's the one he spent so much time writing letters to.

Once I asked, "Did you go to High School with her?"

"Uh-huh, it's kind of weird the way we started going together. We were in our junior year and doubled to the prom together, but she was my best friend's date. She and I had such a great time, we really hit it off, and that's how it started. She's been my girl ever since." Adding a little chuckle.

"Wow, was your buddy mad?"

He gave me that grand laugh, "Nah, he didn't care. We're still best friends."

We both enjoyed the scrape basketball games we would play in the evenings. There were about ten of us that would choose sides to play three-on-three. The court was of dirt, and the backboard was bolted to a telephone pole. Sometimes the ball would go over the side and down to the bottom of the Hill; we wouldn't get the ball back until a patrol would go out.

Little Charley, from Duc My, spent a lot of time on the Hill. He liked hanging with us. We taught him how to play h-o-r-s-e. It was interesting to talk to him even with his poor English and my terrible Vietnamese. I learned a lot about life from his perspective and we tried to described our lives and teach him what it was like in the states. I remember trying to tell him what a Corvette looked like.

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