A Rude Awakening

Digging a Fortified Bunker Next to Our New Hooch

Saturday, November 23, 1968

The wake-up alarm in my head was off kilter.  It was only midnight, and I was sitting up in bed, feeling like it was 0400.  With any luck, I would get back to sleep and recover from all the late night disruptions.


“Get up Get out, Incoming,” I yelled as I raced out the door.  My helmet was on before I left the hooch, and my flak jacket on before getting to the cooks’ OP.  Sumo and Fernando were safe in the bunker when the first mortars hit.  The explosions were close, enough so that I could see the bright flashes and hear debris landing nearby.

Reb arrived in full gear, and we raised the thatch door.  THUNK, THUNK, THUNK!  There were no visible mortar flashes, but I could hear outgoing machine gun fire from India Company.  SssshKaboom, SsssKaboom, SssshKaboom . . . these detonations were close enough for us to feel the concussions.  The phone squawked, “Ptomaine check in, are you OK?”  It was the Gunny.  “All OK . . . it was close.”

The four deuce platoon from India Company was dropping counter mortar fire, and illumination rounds were swaying slowly in their parachutes into the rice paddies below.

The alert was secured at 0400 . . . time to start making coffee.

Command Chronology – Kilo 4/11 – November 1968

Next Edition:  Work Party

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