Sunday, August, 25, 1968
As we were starting to serve brunch, the siren went off for a fire mission. We could tell by the sound (maximum charge 7) and direction, the rounds were headed toward Hill 52. Lieutenant Skoog came in after the mission and relayed its target; the 5th Marines had ambushed an NVA force in Arizona Territory and driven them into the river in retreat. Our guns caught the enemy in the open as the Marines had the NVA blocked. It was an ongoing situation.
As Skoog was talking, a second volley of outgoing artillery fired. It was unusual to catch the NVA in open terrain during the day, and I wondered if brunch should be extended to accommodate the gunners. Finally the gun crews showed up and managed to eat between fire missions. These were the variables we dealt with on a daily basis.
Chaplain Starling had his own variables to work with. The fire mission siren went off in the middle of his sermon, and he lost a chunk of his congregation. When the service was over, someone asked him if he ever held Bible Studies. He did one on Wednesday nights at Hill 37 and offered to try it on Hill 65 if there was enough interest. He took a show of hands and promptly said, “OK, next Friday at 1930 . . . I’ll be here.”
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