By James D. Johnson
Chaplain James D. Johnson selected to accompany his males, unarmed, on their day-by-day wrestle operations. this is often his chronicle of Vietnam and the aftermath of conflict, of his coming to phrases together with his post-traumatic demons, and his desire for therapeutic and detoxing which led him to revisit Vietnam years later.
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"Morning used to be regularly a welcome sight to us. It intended issues. the 1st was once that we have been nonetheless alive. . . . "
In 1967, loss of life used to be the consistent significant other of the Marines of resort corporation, 2/5, as they patrolled the paddy dikes, dust, and mountains of the Arizona Territory southwest of Da Nang. yet John Culbertson and lots of the remainder of resort corporation have been a similar lean, battling Marines who had survived the carnage of Operation Tuscaloosa. Hotel's grunts walked over the enemy, now not round him.
In picture phrases, John Culbertson describes the day-by-day, risky lifetime of a soldier struggling with in a rustic the place the enemy was once often indistinguishable from the allies, fought tenaciously, and notion not anything of utilizing civilians as a safeguard. although he used to be one of many most sensible marksmen in 1st Marine department Sniper college in Da Nang in March 1967--a classification of simply eighteen, selected from the division's twenty thousand Marines--Culbertson knew that opposed to the VC and the NVA, reliable education and event may well hold you simply to date. yet his company's venture was once to discover and interact the enemy, regardless of the expense. This riveting, bloody first-person account deals a stark testimony to the stuff U. S. Marines are made from.
How did infantry and armour assault a Viet Cong bunker method? What was once it that persuaded males to head ahead to attainable demise or wounding, while all their instincts advised them that defense lay at the back of them? Who have been the competitive enemy they confronted, and the way have been they equipped, armed, built and resupplied?
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Extra info for Combat Chaplain: A 30-Year Vietnam Battle
Normal lighting would make us an inviting target from the shore even though we’re anchored in the middle of the huge Soi Rap River. The ATC’s pull up to the side of the pontoon, three at a time, and take their passengers on board. Only one man can climb over the rail and onto the ATC at a time. One slip means falling into the rapid, murky current. I’d just as soon forgo a night swim, thank you. Caution in loading takes considerable time. The navy has expert swimmers for rescue should a soldier accidentally fall overboard, but no one wants to put them to the test.
Tom Kirk carries an M-79 grenade launcher. As he’s doing his check, he discovers a VC bullet has hit and passed through an M-79 round that he’s carrying in his ammunition pouch. Within a few meters, we learn why the VC have hit us. We come upon a huge VC base camp, supply depot and hospital. All the VC have apparently left. We find rice still cooking and many blood stained rags and blood trails leading away from the camp. The vegetation is so thick that I don’t even see the rice until I’m less than five feet away.
I will, when possible, go on combat operations with the troops. I will be where they are, regardless. They may even call my action one of defiance. But, they’re not on the ground where I am. I will do what I must do to provide pastoral care to these heroes. This Page Intentionally Left Blank CHAPTER TWO August 19– September 26, 1967 SATURDAY, AUGUST 19, 1967: The Mobile Riverine Force base is anchored at the junction of the Soi Rap and Vam Co Dong Rivers south of Saigon. Our area of operation will be about twenty miles away northwest of Ben Luc.
Combat Chaplain: A 30-Year Vietnam Battle by James D. Johnson