Reading R.L. Schreadley’s Memorial Day column gave me a few thoughts.
Adm. Thomas Moorer was on the money as he usually was. Vietnam, indeed most East Asia service, for a grunt: a lovingly maintained short-timer’s calendar. Dust, mud, sometimes both. Hueys overhead. Rice paddy smell. Bug juice or the ace of spades in your helmet band. Booby traps. The crack of a bullet that just missed and cursing your buttons because they’re too thick when you hit the ground.
The distinctive sound and feel of your M16’s recoil buffer when you return fire. The initial utter confusion in a firefight. Realizing you’re still alive and in one piece when it’s over — and checking to see who isn’t.
Beer in a six-ounce water glass served on a Formica-top table. Listening to Chicken Man on Armed Forces Radio. Hearing Christie’s “Yellow River.” Coming home to look around with surprise because you don’t see concertina wire. Not mentioning where you’ve been for the last year or what you were doing.
George W. Olney
Major, Army (Retired)