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Subject: Merry Xmas, Viet Nam!

Dear Brother Grady,

Since you insist on living the good life on Pawleys Island, it behooves me to begin the "my scars and tattoos are bigger than yours are" exchange. Actually no tattoos because when I was young and thin I knew that many years later I would look like I now do: old and fat. Also, I have avoided scars whenever possible.

In Vietnam, I arrived on Xmas Eve 1967, just in time for a jolly holly Xmas and an exciting New Year. Then a few weeks later the Chinese New Year came along. That was Tet '68.

I was an artillery mechanic, and when our civilian workers all went home for a prolonged Tet celebration, we enlisted swine were allowed to choose between KP and bunker guard. The guys who were on guard on OUR New Year's Eve said that it was a real fireworks display, and I always hated KP!

No brainer? No brain!

That first night we had a real fireworks display starting with a mortar shell that landed right in front of my machine gun port. It knocked me off my highchair and covered me with dirt but no Purple Heart.

Anyway, the eight or nine times that I yelled "incoming!" were probably not necessary.

Bro J.R.

copyright©1998 J. R. Martin, all rights reserved

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