Private Overseas

By , manhattan, KS
It was December 24 1956, when I received a letter from the U.S. government. My family unaware, and worried of the letter, but I had to tell my concerned wife. I planned to tell her the morning after Christmas, and I didn’t want to ruin their holiday. It was a time of joy and happiness until that morning, sadness and fright came into the house. Apparently, she had found the letter, and refused to talk to me. I told her I had to leave in February, the cold and snowy time where we were stationed at. I hadn’t been overseas yet, and I joined the marines when I was 19. They brought us through the pain and fear that we had met in our time of training, and now it is my time to do my duty.

January passed and I had but a week left before my departure, and I spent as much time as I could with my wife, and my son. We had good times together. We had gone to ball a couple ball games and hung out every week. Now I was ready to leave, but I had to spend that last week getting all of my stuff together and it was hard to believe I was going. “Pvt. Oscar” tattooed to all my bags and belongings, I was ready, I was ready to risk my life for my family. I was ready to do this for my country.

Sunday morning came, and I got up early, gathered my gear, and we were out the door to meet up with the rest of my team on the base. Captain Holtz, and lieutenant Sams were our troop leaders. They were good men, they did anything and everything to make sure our country was safe, whether it was teaching us men to be men, or fighting in World War II. Captain Holtz assisted Eisenhower in the liberation of the camps in Germany. We were arriving at the meet point for the soldiers to check in their duffle’s and sign in themselves, the family members were unable to attend so I said my goodbye’s in the car. “I’m going to miss you.” My wife was sitting there red in her eyes because of the tears, and the unique noise of her blowing her nose. She couldn’t stop crying, because I would be gone as long as two years, with one R&R break.

The time had come when I had to leave, we had a mission briefing at 0800, with a departure at 0900. The last of the team had arrived in the hangar where we were to be informed how and when we would strike and from where, the others of the special task force were, Sanchez, Mcquire, and Malarkey.
“We will be assisted by 2nd platoon, a highly developed war platoon, they would provide cover fire from the east and the west from the bush. As we make our way through the tall grass, “wizzing” rounds flying above and around us. Then we will take out the enemy’s artillery and weaponry just beyond the tree line, finally we will move into the next area of confrontation.” Captain Holtz informed us.
“It is time to load,” yelled lieutenant Sams. “Sanchez! Mcquire! Malarkey!” as the massive plane called a C¬17’s engines roared over his voice I could barely hear.
“Check,” Said Sanchez.
“Check,” said Mcquire.
“Check,” yelled malarkey.
As we bord the large C17 the buckles rattling from the vibrations the large engine made, the squeaky metal seats, while the light was on from the hatch being open.
“Alright, take us up,” Captain Holtz said yelling to the pilot.

It had been nearly 8 hours and I hadn't slept one bit, I was so worried about what would happen when I reached the ground. Would I be taken hostage? Would I be shot? I only hoped I would make it through the night and get to the base. It was time to suit up and get our shoots on, ten minutes until the drop-off. As I look around I see scared soldiers in 1st platoon, and only prayers in task force 1. The time had passed and we were directly over the enemy, smoke filled the air from artillery firing at us from all directions, avoiding each one we made our way to our drop zone. Just then a tremendous noise alarms us, getting us to our feet, Captain Holtz is screaming with his face as red as I've ever seen.
“I can't hear him!” I said to the SSG in front of me.
“It's time to drop,” screamed the sergeant, at that moment I could feel shivers and fright through going through my body.

Wind blowing through what’s left of my hair at an extremely fast pace from the cold air being sucked in to the cargo bay from the open hatch. The light turns green and we are instructed to attach our lines, as I do so the captain yells to call a check. That’s when each person checks the person’s line and chute that is in front of them, starting from the back of course. I called out, “Your all good, to the sergeant in front of me.” I am now at the door and ready to jump, and I take my leap onto enemy lines. I was sucked out of the plane and falling, it was a time a excitement. Then I pull my chute and I’m lifted back up a few feet almost immediately. I see maybe hundreds of chutes below me on the ground, but no one in site. This is not a good thing.“First step clear and now for the not getting shot part,” I said to myself. I am almost to the ground, the tall grass is so thick and vast I can’t see any of my team. This is the scariest part of a war, parachuting onto enemy lines with nothing but your weapon and none of your comrades, no one to watch your back and no one to lead you through the tasks. Luckily we developed a way of saying we are an American soldier without using our voices, they gave each of us a little clicker to identify ourselves to an unknown person that isn't visible.


I creep through the tall brush as we were taught in training a few months back, I can’t see a thing. Then I hear something, a noise of someone walking directly beside me. I quickly take out my clicker and I sound off, and at first I don’t hear a return call. Then there it is, the obnoxious click. It's Malarkey, and he is traveling without a weapon, but trust me he didn't need it to kill an enemy. So I accompany him in trying to find the others.

“Oscar? Oscar is that you?” said an unknown soldier on the other side of the tree. Unaware who this person could be I take my clicker and click it twice to answer, “yes” . That was one of the most suspenseful times I had while I served. So then I raise my rifle and round the tree.
“Hew, I’m glad I didn’t have to use my rifle. Especially not on you.” It was Captain Holtz and 1st platoon. Boy I tell you, if you ever go overseas you better have a man to have your back, someone you can truly trust.
“Son, that's all I can tell you about my tour in Vietnam.”





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