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Rat Patrol

I promised that I would share this, with the brothers and sisters. Rat Patrol I think it is important to share this. It is something that I had forgotten about all these years. In the process of writing my book it came back to me suddenly. It was something that I must have been so afraid of remembering that my brain just shut it down. I want you folks to understand something, Our TAOR was right in the middle of I corps. Known for its roads that went directly to the Big base at Danang. West to East from the Laotians border. So, we were always being probed by the enemy to attain access to the bridges. On one particular day in March of 1969 my Platoon sergeant, who happened to be Mexican and one badass Marine, approached my squad. We were two M60 gun teams. One badass weapon. Believe me. Anyway, Sarge asked us if we would run these patrols at night. Knowing how suicidal it was and anticipating negative feedback he delivered his orders. He had his orders and we obliged him being the Marines that we were. It was like not voluntary. The next day preparing our weapons and taking in the logistics of our route, Pinson and I knew that we could get ambushed and that we might not make it back. At the darkest part of dusk, we mounted up. Loaded with ammo and anticipating death. The thing was to, that we had to ride the road without headlights. Before we rolled out Pinson and I made a promise to each other. That promise was one that we hoped never occurred. If one of us was injured so seriously that we would not survive it, we would take each other out before capture or very serious injury. The fear was as thick as clouds and we knew we had to stuff it away in order to handle the mission. As it turned out the only contact, we made was with one of our own ambush sites. Thinking it hostile we both opened up with the 60’s. Thank God we heard them screaming out. Otherwise who knows what could have happened. To make a long story short we did it for 7 days I believe. My memory of it doesn’t serve me so well. It is my opinion that this experience brought so much fear on me that I would never ever fully recover from it. Anticipation of death is just as bad as anything else I would experience. As it stands now, I have not fully recovered, but learn to live with it all these years. Here is a caveat to this. I met at our reunion in 2008 a Marine named Dave who remembers us coming across the big bridge in the morning. (The look on your faces when you returned in the morning from Rat Patrol was chilling and scared us.).

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