Monsoon Season

Helicopters on the sandbar at the base of Hill 52

Monday, October 14, 1968

A patter of rain started after midnight.  It was a slow and persistent drizzle without the wind that Typhoon Bess had provided.  We were in a cloud of slow-moving moisture.

The road was open, and Fernando led the way to Da Nang, with the water truck following to Hill 37.  A small convoy of supplies headed toward Hill 52 behind an Amtrac.  It seemed like the pace of the war had slowed down.  With the low cloud ceiling, there were no helicopters flying.  Weather was now the dominant factor.

Although it was nearly impossible, we did our best to stay dry.  Reb tried drying some clothes on the warm ovens after the burners were removed (it was only partially successful).  The distance from our hooch to the mess hall was less than 100 feet, but it was necessary to wear a poncho.

Our gun crews on Hill 52 were living on a mudslide.  The vegetation had been removed to clear “fields of fire,” and the saturated ground was just a slurry of brown runoff.  It seemed to me Operation Maui Peak was a lost cause if the goal was to allow the rice crop to be harvested.

The good news was the NVA/VC didn’t have it any better than us.  They headed for the high ground on Charlie Ridge and hid from view in the clouds.  Runners or porters from the villes supplied them with cooked rice.  These were the same people whom we had provided security while they harvested their rice.  It was a waiting game . . . when the monsoon dissipated, the war would be renewed.

Next Edition:  Margaret’s Letter

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