The Spirit of an Angel (Chapter 5 - Operation Coyote, page 1 of 5)

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"Heaven is only a heartbeat away"

After being on the Hill six weeks, it seemed like six months. It felt Vietnam was in a time zone all its own. Days seemed like weeks, weeks like months.

September began and so too did the monsoon. Now I can tell you in Shelbyville I have seen heavy rains but there is no comparison with the rain in Vietnam. The waterfall of rain was so intense we were able to take our showers in the downpour. I mean soap up and completely rinse off in minutes. Of course, because of the monsoon, everything was wet, damp, or mildewed. Even the skivvies in my sea bag were damp.

It was then I began to have issues with my (boot camp issued) combat boots. One of the soles on my right foot had come loose and every step I took it would flap open and closed, leaving my foot exposed to the elements.

On one of our off afternoons we were resting in the tent as a slow drizzle of rain pounded outside on the roof. The tent sides were partially rolled up allowing in a cool breeze. Looking around one would never have known where we were; we could have been camping together in a US State Park. Mac was playing his guitar and softly singing some bluegrass songs. A couple of us were writing letters and some were playing poker.

Mule came in the tent, "Hey Mac, the Lieutenant wants to see ya in the command tent, double-time."

Mac immediately left with Mule.

We all wondered what was up; we knew it couldn't be good if the Lieutenant was involved. But we went back to doing what we were doing.

A short time later Mac returned, "Sorry boys, the Lieutenant has volunteered our squad to go out on an operation. I think he called it operation Coyote or some shit like that."

"Screw him!" Exclaimed Ronny Roe. "That son of a bitch just wants to get us all killed."

"Helicopters'll pick us up at the Company area at 2100. Get your gear packed and be ready to go after chow. We'll be assigned to Bravo Company."

"Hey Mac, what about my boots. Surely I can't go with these rotten boots."

"Sorry Anderson, you'll just have to make do. See if Mule can get you some duck tape or something." Mac left, I could tell he was depressed and it seemed I detected signs of fear in his tone.

Mule was a Corporal on the Hill and was our gopher. He could find about anything a guy needed, but he wasn't able to find any duck tape.

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