Mar 212013

Outside the hooch, the dark sky blazed with tracer flares.  Above the jungle, high in the hills, large balls of fire erupted. The thundering shook the earth.  The sights and sounds alarmed Dee.  She took steady gulps of air and tried to calm her racing heart and mind with internal thoughts.

‘This is what you came for, girl.  You can do it!  Pennyslavian Power!”

Suddenly, an uninvited, paralyzing thought occurred; many soldiers never see this dawn as it breaks.

“Let’s go, Dee.”  Jessie’s words had an urgency to them.

Both women scrambled about twenty yards and then hit the ground.  Several missiles sailed over the base.

“Learn to love the whistling sound of missiles.  Whistling means they’re traveling over you.  You’re safe.”

“And when you don’t hear them…” Dee realized the senseless question she was asking.

Jessie replied, “Hit the ground, cover your head, and pray.  Make sure your pot is on and your flak jacket is buttoned.  The flak protects your vital organs.

Sirens blared.  The women peered as soldiers scurried to man artillery or to take cover in trenches.  Pilots were driven to the landing strip to start the Cobra gunships.

All around, base artillery and machine guns roared into action.

Dee and Jessie resumed their run for the hospital.  From mess tents and hooches, additional medical personnel rushed towards ambulances or the hospital’s front doors.

Dee was within a few feet of the door, when the earth shook.  She gasped in horror as tents were engulfed in flames.  Although some distance away, Dee could see figures on fire.  Eerie cries pierced the air.

Above the horrors on the ground, the lights from airborne Cobra choppers identified the enemy.  The dark jungle became a flaming waste.

“Let’s go,” urged Jessie.  “You’ll work with me; incoming wounded will be high!”


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