Monday, September 11, 2006

Mosquitoes Galore


















Notice the small, white, plastic bottle attached to the side of my helmet in the picture above. This was military-issued mosquito repellent which all of us carried and applied to exposed skin at night. Mosquitoes in the jungle and rice paddies ate us alive without this repellent. This liquid also worked well to cause leeches to release their bite when they attached to tender body parts during the night as we lay on the ground.

In addition to mosquito repellent, our platoon medic dispensed malaria pills for us to ingest daily. (It may have been weekly.)

I'm wielding an M-79 granade launcher in the same picture as we were searching a village for Viet Cong and their weapons. These searches usually occurred after we were fired upon from the village. Sometimes we were ordered to destroy villages after killed or captured enemy were dealt with and remaining civilians were removed. (This torching action was on a very small scale like that of General William Tecumeseh Sherman's troops when they marched through the South during our Civil War.)

Sometimes to clear a village meant entering tunnels, which was very scary, but some men faced that responsibility.

The below picture is a section of railroad bridge collapsed by a well placed explosive charge. Again, this was a result of enemy action against South Vietnam's government.

The bottom most picture is my squad at a drop point where we began a long-range patrol. This meant spending several days and nights in the countryside in search of the enemy. Sometimes we were delivered to drop points by truck and other times we were taken by helicopter. I loved helicopter rides when the pilots flew only a hundred feet above the ground at a speed of a hundred miles per hour. This approach made us less of a target as we made airborne entry into enemy territory.

Return here on Wednesday, September 13 for the start of a series on my good friend, Herschel Lamb.

Have a good day!




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