The two assholes that barged in that night got more than they bargained for. You can’t make this shit up! And the ones who died in the war but didn’t drop until years later. I insist.” He didn’t argue, and with a red face, he walked on by. The videos on this page are recommended by our team. Your email address will not be published. I felt like shit about it. The VC Johnson had shot was almost torn in half, his guts spilling out on the ground beside him as he stared wide eyed at the sky. The shelter took a direct artillery hit and all three were killed. There was the one about a man who held up a mom-and-pop shop in a small Vietnamese town with a hand grenade.Or the one about a mother who fled that small town when the communists arrived, taking her sons but leaving behind her adopted teenage daughter to take care of the shop, believing she would soon return. This is why bleak Vietnam War stories still do well in an America that sometimes does its hardest to deny its sometimes nasty behavior. It is about the heart of darkness over there, in the jungle where the white man discovers that he, too, is a savage, the heart of darkness beating within him. The number of dead and wounded at Bird vary widely, depending upon whom you ask. Countless books and movies have told grim stories of the war in Southeast Asia—America’s “longest war,” until Afghanistan. Our order: to make camp up against the hedgerow. But what if we understood immigrant stories to be war stories?And what if we understood that war stories disturb even more when they are not about soldiers, when they show us how normal war is, how war touches and transforms everything and everybody, including, most of all, civilians?War stories that thrill may be true, but they only make war more alluring, something that happens somewhere else, over there.Another kind of true war story reminds us of something much more uncomfortable, that war begins, and ends, over here, with the support of citizens for the war machine, with the arrival of frightened refugees fleeing wars that we have instigated.Telling these kinds of stories, or learning to read, see, and hear boring stories as war stories, is an important way to treat the disorder of our military-industrial complex.Rather than being disturbed by the idea that war is hell, this complex thrives on it. Surrounding the pit were six or eight enemy dead from the NVA’s 22. I pointed and yelled to the other men: “He’s right there, kill the motherfucker!” The whole squad, except for Johnson and myself, opened up on the hedge on full automatic. At some point during Charlie’s retreat, Chinook gun ships show up and begin strafing the area where the attack originated. While the Vietnamese have written history, too, their stories stand little chance against the shock and awe of the American military-cinema-industrial complex. Within 24 hours thereafter the fight at LZ Bird had passed from the public consciousness as the press ran on to other sensations. I heard of many other crashes, accidental deaths, fraggings and suicides while there as well. Survivors Milling Around the Fallen – Photo by Steve Hassett. The patrol leader told us to grab our shit and follow him – which we gladly did. In “The Brother Who Went to Vietnam,” from her book China Men, Maxine Hong Kingston writes that. If you are a veteran, know a veteran, or are related to a veteran, and would like to place a personal story on the Online Veterans Tribute, please mail it to: American Veterans Center 1100 N. Glebe Rd. The number of US troops increased from 435,000 at the end of 1966, to 500,000 in 1967. Can you imagine that? The illumination rounds floating down on their tiny parachutes caused the village to take on a surrealistic aspect as the light from them, along with the palm fronds above created a thousand moving shadows. When talk turned to Charlie, he would get a strange, crazed look in his eyes which frankly would startle some of us. Still others simply went insane and parted ways with reality. In the coming days, weeks and months I saw much more death and dying and all the other unspeakable horrors of war. Young people aren’t taught critical thinking and their attention spans have been reduced to that of a gnat’s, thanks to TV and a few new inventions since you’ve been gone like cell phones and a computer based internet, which now connects the world with information and disinformation. Heinemann’s novel was part of a whole wave of stories that refought the Vietnam War on page and screen. What you get are war stories told about the soldiers who came to your country to save you from communism, just as we are now getting war stories about the soldiers who went to Iraq and Afghanistan. You didn’t have to come home to an ungrateful country that was being torn apart by the war. His uncle was a VC fighter and was killed there. The bee-hive rounds have blunted the onslaught and Charlie begins to retreat. We find many of their crude-looking hand grenades unexploded the next day, looking like World War II-era potato mashers, with long wooden handles. 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