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Sunday, 18 March 2007

The Ammunition Dump 2. Vietnam memories

I was now aware that objects were falling out of the sky and every time the ammo dump exploded I ducked back down into the bunker. Then up again. My earlier calm had been replaced by a state of high alertness. There are times when I have really loved Americans. When those first helicopter gunships appeared was one. I remember asking them to zap hell out of the Viet Cong. After a while the camp was protected by dozens of them circling around in the sky. I was joined from time to time by one of the more adventurous of our soldiers with his M14. The others, including the machine gunner, remained in the bottom of the bunker.
The sergeant was still off somewhere doing what I don't know.
This went on until perhaps 2.30 or 3 o'clock in the morning when things calmed down . The US army habit of suddenly laying down massive bursts of machine gun and automatic rifle fire at nothing in particular from time to time kept one's nerves on edge.
I was able to get an hour or two's sleep where I lay and in the morning looked around at the debris scattered everywhere. It really was a wonder nothing had hit me on the head. The airfield was a complete mess with damaged or destroyed buildings everywhere. About a dozen aircraft had been put out of action and after this none stayed on the base over night. Our water storage shed was destroyed and as the towns water supply had been contaminated earlier the only thing left to drink was beer.
Our major flew up from Saigon and we all got new flak jackets and helmets. We also had a proper new bunker built just outside our door controlling also the access from the cliffs. The previous bunker we had spent most of the night had been a miserable affair. This one was really first class.

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