Sunday, June 17, 2012

February 23rd - Lt. Schaeffer bids farewell

1st Squad took to the field, patrolling a quiet sector of II Corps in the Highlands. A local contact provided information on North Vietnamese Army regulars moving supplies through the area and Sgt. Cooper's squad drew the short straw. The fact that Platoon Commander Lt. Schaeffer would be accompanying the group as one of his last missions before heading stateside had the entire squad on edge. We weren't sure what the hell the tired bastard was up to, but no matter his purpose the men's superstitious nature took over and no one wanted to stand near the LT.

Thick jungle layered the highlands, providing shade and stealth for the American GI's.

Fanning out, it was a chore to keep the LT and Platoon Medic Needles (at least that's what we all called him) from bunching up with some of the young recruits. The whole thing was an accident waiting to happen. Our pointman with an M79, T.J., made contact with what he believed to be movement up near the marsh. Coop pushed forward with M60 gunner Samuel, attempting to cut off the possible enemy contact before they could get out of the marsh and into the cover of the jungle. Fortunately for the group, the LT sprained his ankle as the squad was moving at double-time through the brush. While Needles tended to the commander, the rest of the squad pushed forward - shaking their heads at their Platoon Leader. While they despised his lack of commitment and brotherhood, they were secretly thanking the Lord for the opportunity to ditch the short timer.

The squad pushes forward in the distance as Lieutenant Schaeffer and Needles stay behind.

The PEF lurks in the marsh.
As the squad booked it across the table, TJ's sharp eye on point uncovered nothing in the sprawling marsh except a cacophany of toads and lizards peppering the group with their aggravating symphony. Pushing East, the group attempting to complete the sweep of the area as they were eager to return to their bunks as quick as possible and without incident. Unfortunately, the sounds of nature would be quickly interrupted by the distinct chugging of AK-47's, bursts of fire erupting from a spider hole directly to the front of TJ, slightly off the trail.

While TJ took cover, putting his dick in the dirt, Samuel pushed forward opening up his M60 like Charlie Parker working over his sax.

With over a hundred rounds traded by each side, the sound would soon die off as the enemy was silenced. As Samuel cleared out the hole, it was discovered that NVA were occupying the area as the distinct tan uniforms could not be mistaken. While the mission was a modest success (enemy contact was made and the GI's were victorious), the men couldn't help but return to camp with their heads hung low. Not one of the members of the squad wanted to see their sorry-ass LT end his tour with even a credit to his name.