Sunday, April 21, 1968
During our afternoon “cook-your-own-steak” BBQ, Sergeant Paige was in the mess deck finishing his dinner and motioned for me to join him. I sat across from him, and he divulged some communications which had come through the Comm Center. New recon inserts * (two-man Force Recon teams) had been deployed all along “Charlie Ridge” to our west. There were new teams: Lamb Chops, Wall Flowers and Birth Control. They were reporting reconnaissance of increased enemy activity and platoon-sized movements.
Paige was getting short and was scheduled to depart for CONUS in early May, and I asked him, “Maybe you’re getting short-timer jitters?” He shook his head negatively, “No, this is some bad shit.” I had always trusted Paige and knew he wouldn’t mislead me about something like this.
He was finishing his dessert and said, “What’s in this bread pudding?” I answered, “left-over doughnuts.” He had never given us a compliment but said, “This is some good shit!” I remember thinking, “bad shit — good shit,” there’s probably a song in this conversation. Paige was a loner, living in his own world in FDC; he was a math whiz and a master with his slide rule.
After showering I sat watching the war, and it seemed like a quiet night. There were a few illumination flares but no tracers. The Grunts had superstitions about the new moon, but it was a week away. Sometimes I over-analyzed the war, but something was different. Maybe it was me getting R&R jitters. Today was Jenny’s birthday, and I wondered how she was celebrating.
* See previous “Watching the War” blog (January 29, 1968)
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