The Things We Carried
We carried P-38 can openers and heat tabs,
watches and dog tags, insect repellent, gum,
cigarettes, Zippo lighters, salt tablets, compress
bandages, ponchos, Kool-Aid, two or three
canteens of water, iodine
tablets, sterno, LRRP- rations, and C-rations
stuffed in our socks.
We carried standard fatigues, jungle boots, bush
hats, flak jackets and steel pots. Upon arrival in
Nam, we immediately had to turn in our
greenbacks which were replaced with monopoly
money, MPC and piasters. Some of us hid a few
greenbacks just so we could feel normal.
We carried the M-16 assault rifle.
We carried trip flares and Claymore mines,
M-60 machine-guns, the M-79 grenade
launcher, M-14's, CAR-15's, Stoners, Swedish
K's, 66mm Laws, shotguns, .45 caliber pistols,
silencers, the sound of bullets, rockets, and
choppers, and sometimes the sound of silence.
We carried C-4 plastic explosives, an
assortment of hand grenades, PRC-25
radios, knives and machetes. Some carried
napalm, CBU's and large bombs;
some risked their lives to rescue others.
Some escaped the fear, but dealt with the death
and damage. Some made very hard decisions,
and some just tried to survive.
We carried malaria, dysentery, ringworm's and
leaches. We carried the land itself as it hardened
on our boots. We carried stationery, pencils, and
pictures of our loved ones - real and imagined.
We carried love for people in the real world and
love for one another. And sometimes we
disguised that love,"Don't mean nothin!"
We carried memories for the most part, we
carried themselves with poise
and a kind of dignity.
Now and then, there were times when panic set
in, and some squealed, or wanted to, but couldn't
when we twitched and made moaning sounds
and covered our heads and said,"Dear God." We
hugged the earth and fired our weapons blindly
and cringed and begged for the noise to stop and
we would make stupid promises to GOD, to
ourselves, to our parents, to our wives, to our
children, to our relatives and to our friends
hoping and praying not to die.
We carried the traditions of the United States
Army, with the memories and images of those
who served before us.
We carried grief, terror, longing and our
reputations. We carried the trooper's greatest
fear: the embarrassment of dishonor.
We crawled into tunnels, walked point, and
advanced under fire, so as not to die of
embarrassment. We were afraid of dying, but too
afraid to show it.
We carried the emotional baggage of men and
women who might die at any moment.
We Carried the Weight of the
World and . . . . . .
We Carried Each Other!