((Story Fifteen) (March, 1971)
(Story told by Morgan, March 1986))
Advance: Even to Sergeant Morgan Carter, he knew there were two sides to every man, even to him. One he could lay his life down for a county that did not appreciate his duty assignments, in a War that was not popular, as in his, that being, Vietnam, where he served five tours, or five years, even got two Bronze Stars for Valor, almost a Medal of Honor, for saving a man’s life, in the middle of rocket fire, whereas most men are dead, when they receive such a gifts from the Army, or are even considered for such a award.
His uncle Frank, got one in WWII, but he had to die for it, and was buried in Florence, Italy, along with the Purple Heart.
Yes, he would die, give up his life for folks that called him ‘Baby Killer,’ every time he went home on leave, and he never killed any babies, perhaps the bombing did, but he didn’t bomb anyone, he shot them, or shot at them, and most of the time he didn’t know how many he killed, he didn’t keep count, nor did he go check on the ones he thought he shot, and they were not babies, they were also folks with guns, and knives, and rifles, and so forth, like to like, he called it.
On the other hand, during the first tour of duty in Vietnam, in 1965, he fought a lot with his fellow comrades over simple things, and would have been called a drunk, and a good for nothing soldier at times, not all the time, but at times, and could have shot your foot off for the skimpiest of reasons. Why was this, he asked himself- (now 1986) the war now long gone, why does a man choose to do what he does when he does it, especially while in the act of war. A hero and a bum in the same body, just not at the same time, you can be, you can be all of that and hide it from the real world. We all looked the same, kind of. So he told himself. He had witnessed many soldiers hide, dig holes in the ground to cover themselves up from incoming rockets, gun fire, all wanting another hour of life, breath, privates, sergeants and officers, they were all alike during such a moment, and he saw many a man go crazy, shoot themselves in the foot to get out of Vietnam. It was he said, “The confused beast inside of each man.” And so it was.
Dead Black Smoke
The helicopter appeared over the airbase in Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, March, 1971, almost before Carter knew it, it was there, he could hear it before he saw it, and when he saw it, and it was just a mild shadowy configuration, he went into a process of deliberation. What he heard was a whizzing, a fast whiz of its propelled horizontal rotors, which could have been two or more; Sergeant Carter guessed it to be an AH-1G Cobra, a gunship for the most part, he didn’t think it was a UH-1 Huey (officially the ‘Iriquois’), it was mostly used for transport. It was searching…for the VC, or 17 wsm Ammo for sale Vietcong, going somewhat is a circle, a loop around the outer rim of the airbase, in the thick of some jungle brush, thereabouts. It was not a good circle, but rather like a ripple that the helicopter traveled in, even perchance a bit clumsy in its maneuvering.
The chopper was looking for where the VC was launching their rockets from, almost at random; the pilot was Warrant Officer Herald Lund…
The Vietcong had ungracefully tried to shoot rockets out of underground bunkers, out into the ammo dumps, three ammo dumps on Cam Ranh Bay, trying to hit their targets, and in the process trying to deal with a helicopter overhead, one trying to find them and put them out of business, on the other hand, the Vietcong was trying to eliminate the helicopter, as it went in a loop, at an angle as if to make a strike and then an immediate turn, then came a sudden sound of an explosion, and the Cobra disappeared from the air, it whirled towards the bay, and rammed into the waters of the South China Sea.
Captain Rosenboum sent out his company of 167-men to secure the ammo dump, he was Captain of the 611 Ordnance Company; the night stood motionless for a moment, Staff Sergeant Morgan Carter II, came to a stop, a standstill, as he drove his jeep along the white sandy beach road along the seashore of the bay, dead black smoke rising from out in the bay. He disembarked his jeep, walked a few feet closer to the water to get a better view; it was an American helicopter he concluded. At that very moment, a five-ton truck, with some thirty soldiers were on the back of it heading out to secure Alpha Ammo Dump, several miles away, rockets were still hitting the area.
It was night, more night than the Staff Sergeant wanted, and he now had to deliberate, if he was to get on out to the Ammo Dump, or evaluate this circumstances, and then what-he was ordered to go to the dump and secure, and to wait for he troops they would be there shortly after his arrival. The helicopter was some three-hundred yards out into the water, pouring out Black Death. There was no one in sight, but then there was not much sight to be seen. He went back to his jeep, turned on its lights, drove down next to the water; there now he could see the illusion of a Cobra in the water.
He knew Chief Warrant Officer Lund, he had met him, and he was in that copter, although Morgan didn’t know it at this point. Lund’s head was bobbing up and down in the water, smashed between his seat, and the front dash of the chopper, someone else was already in the water, thrown out of the chopper when it hit, which the force blew the door open.
Sergeant Carter could see the nose of the helicopter was sinking, and he also noticed movement in the pilots seat perhaps the person was struggling and couldn’t free himself, was his mental conclusion, everything observable came by glances, a flash, nothing clear.
CW Lund, was a heavy man, and there was a Specialist Five Atwood whom was on board the helicopter, he had freed himself and was now swimming away from the site, evidently he did not go back to try and save the Warrant Officer, or perhaps he couldn’t, perhaps all the strength left in him was to swim to safety, nonetheless, when he saw the headlights of the jeep, and a figure standing on the white sands of Cam Ranh Bay, he yelled, “Lund, still in the chopper-help him!” If there was others Sergeant Carter didn’t notice them or remember them, nor would he put it in his report.
Sergeant Cater made his decision now, and jumped into the waters of the bay, and in a matter of minutes was swimming past Atwood, and down and into the helicopters pilot area, and sure enough there was an acquaintance, CW4 Lund, a half smile came on Lund’s face, “I’ve had it,” said Lund, “not sure if you can get me free, and if so, I’m not sure if I got the energy to swim out of this mess!”