Up-Close & Personal, In-Country, Chieu Hoi, Vietnam, 1969-1970

by Robert C. Bogison

You made this bed now you’re gonna have to go lie in it. That’s all. Check all your equipment with the supply sergeant. And I mean everything. Good luck Specialist. Get out!

Chapter 1

What’s with the FNG (referring to me) Sarge? He with you?” asked the MP that yelled at me to get away from the entry way. “Oh, yea, right. First tour. You know. Hey, he’s an MP just like you boys.” “Shit.” is all the other MP replied” “What the hell is an FNG I asked myself?”

Chapter 7

The device, whatever it was, had nearly severed her body in half at the lower torso. Her face was ashen, her body lifeless.

Chapter 34

“Some of the various states of mind I underwent before and during a firefight are clear. I should add that immediately after one of these adrenalin-packed melees my experience includes a fleeting but indescribable kind of euphoria.”

Chapter 44

As they positioned the corpse closer I leaned down to grasp a lifeless arm. The distance from the deck of the boat to the water was three or four feet. I felt layers of skin separating from the arm causing me to lose my grasp, much like sliding the sleeves of a shirt up or down.

Chapter 56

As the Buông River and our new ambush site came into view I felt reasonably comfortable with my performance. The platoon was still behind me, I hadn’t gotten lost and most importantly we had managed to avoid contact with the VC. No sooner had these thoughts crossed my mind when I felt my whole world crumble. I fell directly into a hole that was barely wider than my body, and what I reckoned to be seven or eight feet deep.” 

“The Viet Cong were famous for firmly planting poisoned, razor sharp bamboo sticks or metal objects, protruding several inches from the sides of these holes. The tips of the protrusions were usually dipped in animal or human urine and feces. At the very bottom of the hole they buried larger razor sharp-tipped stakes pointed upwards, or an explosive device triggered by the falling weight of an unsuspecting victim.

Chapter 65

Rising from the chair, I saluted and as I approached the door he asked, “Is it true some of my officers were taking pictures of themselves next to the bodies?” As I turned to face him, I said, “Yes sir, that is true.” 

And then as I reached for the doorknob he asked, “Did you insult a group of officers by implying they were engaged in a circle jerk out there?” “Yes sir, that is also true.” “One last question. Son, was it necessary to drag the bodies behind your boat? Was there no other way?” “Sir, we tried everything. Every time we tried to get them on the decks of our boats, limbs would start to break apart.

Chapter 65

The instant I walked into the terminal I felt completely alone even though the place was packed with people.

. . . I spotted an empty seat near the end of a long row. I eased into the seat as the man seated to my right swiftly folded up the newspaper he was reading and walked away. The woman seated on my left hastily embraced her infant daughter, rose from her seat and as our eyes met glared at me, then turned and walked away. Glancing at people across from me, I encountered a few scornful faces. Several pairs of eyes delivered a cursorily scan then spun their heads around. I was getting that same sensation I experienced walking into the mess hall after a night of laying in duck waste.

Chapter 91

The only guys with short hair were ex GIs among throngs of flowing long-haired people. We stood out like bulls in a herd of sheep. Anti-war posters, peace signs, along with anti-war rally notifications were posted everywhere.

Chapter 92

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