In The Company of Death
Author's note: An experiment into writing war horror, I first came up with the idea shortly after watching "Good... Show full author's note »
Highway 19June 9th, 1965
National Highway 15, Phuoc Long Province, South Vietnam
Pinned down in an embankment, with about 70 or so soldiers fighting seemingly limitless amounts of Cong, and mortars going off everywhere. All this tends to give you a slight headache, which I had.
Clearing my head, I brought my gun up from cover and fired off a trio of rounds. A Viet Cong went down, screaming as his chest resembled a miniature macabre Pompeii.
So I found out I wasn’t as bad at navigation as I thought. I only got us lost twelve times. That in itself is a miracle. At least we made it out in one piece. But now it seems we’ve gone from the frying pan to the fire.
Darkin was nearby, providing suppression fire for the troops making their way up the nearby embankment. His M60 was perfect for this, the shower of bullets threatening to rip apart anyone in its way, as some Cong soldiers found out. One of them had his arm literally torn off, and he screamed for the better part of a minute until a friendly soldier was kind enough to give him a 5.56 millimeter present in the face. I crawled my way over to him, making sure not to get nailed in the head by a stray or not-so-stray bullet. I knelt next to Darkin and gave him an extra belt box I found. “Last one, Sarge, we’re running low on ammo!”
“Not for long, we’re not!” he grinned. As soon as he said it, a thunderous noise filled the air. Several Hueys descended from the smoke-filled sky. Some had M60s on the doors, providing supporting fire with tracer rounds.
A crate landed about 50 feet away, containing ammo and grenades, as well as something very special. I glazed in amazement, as it lay there, beckoning me to use it.
The launcher felt good, its heavy weight corresponding to its sheer power. It was a LAW one-use rocket system, great for taking out personnel and fortifications. This thing alone could help eliminate the seemingly endless amounts of NVA. I picked up some mags for my sixteen, and started to go forward when Darkin stopped me.
“You aren’t going in there alone! That thing is one-use! I can carry more for you! The squad will cover you with supporting fire, and I’ll be right behind you!” He took about 5 LAW and fashioned a carrying handle out of his jacket. He threw his M60 to Farsty.
“Second Platoon, place supporting fire for Sergeant Driven. Collins, run to the Lieutenant and tell him we got a rocketeer heading up the slope! Husky, you’re in charge while I’m gone!” He turned to me “Ready?”
He patted my shoulder and we advanced up the embankment to the highway.