War of courage | Teen Ink

War of courage

May 23, 2023
By blackops2 BRONZE, Lake St. Louis, Missouri
blackops2 BRONZE, Lake St. Louis, Missouri
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

It was January 30, 1968, during the height of the Vietnam war, me and my squad are being deployed in Hue at the U.S. MACV compound to assist with keeping the city safe. My soldiers consist of Corporal Rowland, my right-hand man in this war and a seasoned veteran, private Bradley, a young guy that I have been in battle with before and he has some experience, sergeant Shields, who is the same rank as I am but isn't in charge because he can’t command and demand respect from his squad, and the rest are fresh-faced recruits who may or may not have some experience in battle. We arrived in Hue which seemed calm and peaceful. We get settled in at the MACV compound and I talk to the commander at the compound who informs me “some of the soldiers have left the city to assist at Khe Sanh, but we should be fine here since tomorrow is Tet”. Tet, the new year in Vietnamese culture, has always been a ceasefire on both sides in years past so me and my squad go to sleep in our bunks feeling rather safe. I wake up to the sound of gunshots and yelling in the distance so I hurry to get out of my cot and start gearing up. I order my men “get your sh*t together, let's go!” I make my way outside and see the defending troops under heavy fire. I take cover behind a concrete wall next to another soldier. I ask him the first thing that comes to mind since I'm in such a tense situation “What the hells going on here?”  “Charlies are coming from both sides, I got a guy going up to the machine gun while we call in reinforcements.” I set myself up in a spot and try to command my squad while I lay down fire on the VCs. They start to back off after our reinforcements arrive and we regroup while we have a break. 2 of the soldiers in my squad have been wounded during the battle, one was private Bradley who took shrapnel to his left side and the other was a new guy that was shot in the leg. After the battle, I get word that VCs took control of the city and that I need to command my squad and another group of soldiers to take the city back.

 On our way through we see the destruction the PAVN forces left. buildings were destroyed, civilians were fleeing, and the streets were littered with debris. The sound of gunfire and explosions echoed through the city as we made our way to our positions. As we settled in, I quickly realized that we were vastly outnumbered by the PAVN forces. The enemy was heavily armed and dug in, making it almost impossible for us to gain any ground. We are forced to go door to door and clear every house inch by inch. Some of the VCs have dug holes and use their holes as cover. Days turned into weeks, and the fighting continued relentlessly. We faced constant danger, never knowing when the enemy would strike or where the next attack would come from. While clearing a row of houses we came upon a sketchy looking house. I tell my soldiers to be extra cautious since that house is giving me a bad feeling. As Corporal Rowland walks through the back door he is taken under fire. He jumps back out of the house and the attacker is taken out by a soldier covering a window on the other side of the house. Corporal Rowland wasn't hit but is quite shaken up. I go over to him to make sure he isn't hurt but he looks like he has seen a ghost. I tell him to take it easy and that I will take the lead. I head up the staircase as quietly as possible and have my gun ready. All of a sudden a VC comes out in the open with his gun pointed at me but I cut him down before I have time to make a second thought.  We watched as our comrades fell beside us, and those of us who survive are forever scarred by the experience. Despite the overwhelming odds, we refuse to give up. We fight fiercely, determined to hold our ground and protect our fellow soldiers. Each day brought new challenges and new dangers, but we never wavered in our resolve. As the battle raged on, we all grew closer, forming a bond that could only be forged in the face of such extreme adversity. We relied on each other for support and comfort, and it was this camaraderie that kept us going. In the end, we were victorious, but the cost was high. Many of our comrades had lost their lives, and those of us who survived were forever changed by the experience. But we fought with honor and bravery, and our sacrifices would not be forgotten. The Battle of Hue was a turning point in the war, and the soldiers who fought there will always be remembered for their bravery and sacrifice. They proved that even in the darkest of times, there is still hope.

The author's comments:

A Vietnam war soldier leads his squad through the besieged city of Hue and deals with the loss of some of his soldiers.

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