See the stern fierce eyes, the firm proud jaw, the bull of his strength cloaked in abject cotton. Biggen is a master of men in a world of shit. His canteen cup holds vile C-rat coffee or bitter hot cocoa, which he has boiled with a pasty chunk of stolen C-4. It’s the morning after and we are back on base.

The day previous, Delta company is weary. We are sitting in the jungle near the edge of an empty field waiting for choppers to fly us away. After four weeks of patrols and nothing to show we are flat out tired and careless. There is no perimeter. No trips or claymores have been set out. No one posted on OP. We’ve had no contact in a month. Why bother? Even the well used trail seems lifeless. We sit and banter, play Hearts, smoke the five-in-a-pack-C-ration cigarettes. Wait for the birds that will fly us away. There is the heavy scent of the jungles heat. There is the sound of no sound. There is too much quiet. A twig snaps. We duck, then rise, then see them: Two NVA walking the trail. Maybe they’re new recruits. Or old hands like us. It doesn’t matter. Every man opens fire.

“Where’s the fuckin RTO?” point man Larry Roy shouts. We’ve taken cover behind uprooted trees. “Where is that cock sucker? That fucker. Where’d he go?”

Larry Roy grabs an M-79, stands it on its stock, angles it upward, lobs the blunt 40 mm grenades like mortar shells. The machine gun team moves forward. Opens up with a crackling burst. The trapped soldiers throw themselves down, try to escape but it’s hopeless. While the others take frantic shots Biggen and Six take their time, squeeze off the tumbling rounds, pick off the human targets one by one. The last to die emits a terrible scream, then falls, his bushy head, his ragged body trapped in a thicket of dead bamboo.

Running forward, our bandoliers slap our chests. Our half full canteens makes a shaking sound. We stop, circle and kick the corpses. Then short muscular Crazy Frank smiles his crazy smile, pulls his thick Fu Manchu, lifts the bodies up, throws them down, pokes them hard to make them bleed. He stops just before the Captain arrives.

“Nice shooting, sir,” he says, putting his knife away.

In the midst of our joy the tall lanky RTO crawls out from an enemy bunker, lifts the square metal radio to his back, walks toward us, a dopey grin filling his face.

"What you got there?" he asks, eye brows arched in masquerade.

“Ha!" laughs Larry Roy. “You fuckin pussy. You fuckin coward.” The thin wiry point lunges at the RTO, hammers his delicate fist on the tall man’s chest. Thumps it. Thumps it. “I oughta waste you, you motherfucker. You fuckin coward. I oughta waste your fuckin ass.”

The radio man says nothing as the platoon gathers round.

“What’s your fuckin problem?” asks Wilson, cocking his right arm, drawing it back.

Unchallenged, Larry Roy hurls clumps of red dirt into the frightened man’s face.

“Coward,” he says. “You motherfucker. You fuckin coward.”

He shouts and shouts then abruptly stops, fascinated by the muddy tears which tumble down the RTO’s reddening cheeks.

“Birds inbound,” someone yells.

A moment later there is the sputtering hiss of popped yellow smoke. Biggen stands in the center of the field, M-16 raised over his head to guide the birds in. The RTO buries his face into the palms of his hands. It's over. We grab our gear and move out.

















Click Images to Enlarge
All Photos by Marc Levy


Marc Levy    Then  and  Now           
D 1/7 Cav '69-'70


Also Read Marc Levy's 1995 Travel Journal Entries with Photos  - Song Be to Breakdown  -  A Grunts Life Around Quan Loi - Quan Loi to Cambodia - Song Be Patrol - Bunker Complex Return to Quan Loi - 1995 - The Most *%&%#@# War Story of All *%+&&^#% Time


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