We'd get them all in the same plane so that they all would get home together at the same time, but every part got its own bag. It was America's longest, most withering war, as hellish in the air as it was on the ground. Meticulously piecing together newly released classified information, court-martial records, Pentagon reports, and firsthand interviews in Vietnam and the United States, as well as contemporaneous press accounts and secondary literature, Turse discovers that episodes of devastation, murder, massacre, rape, and torture once considered isolated atrocities were in fact the norm, adding up to a continuous stream of atrocity, unfolding, year after year, throughout that country. To be sure, he offers plenty of numbers -- for instance the mind-boggling estimates that during the war there were some two million civilians killed and some five million wounded, that the United States flew 3. The corpsman said that Robert was alive, but he was in shock from a heavy loss of blood. With 4 battalions in the Brigade that would be maybe 40 to 50 a day or 1200 a month 1500, easy.
Details differed from area to area but the broad picture was the same as the one in I Corps. My father being a proud retired New York City policeman stayed out of the rivalries of his three sons. But little has been told of the airmen who fought, who died, who lived and dared to remember. Again, we heard that kids were being paid to plant booby traps to kill us. George took the batteries, laid them on the ground outside the market area and shot them on the automatic with his M-16 rifle. He didn't want me to cause any trouble.
And these explosions that happen are just so enormous that body parts can fly up to a hundred meters away. The First Aid training that we learned was a great help. Maybe it is because they know that dying will remove them from this planet sooner. In 1972, I was serving comfortably as an Air Force Missile Fuels Officer in Los Angeles when I got word that my replacement had arrived on station. When the reader has come to the end of this book, he will indeed know that Vietnam was a lousy war fought by brave men. Once they were gone I ran up the knoll to the corpsman to ask him about Robert.
This is the rainy season. I felt that at any second a round was going to hit me in my side. Since the communist activity against the village was getting worse, the 5 th Marines sent a company 150 boys of grunts and two tanks to work our area outside our village. The gunner, Corporal Young, was a new guy from the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii. Boys who did odd jobs for the Americans and also served as interpreters.
I should be with them. We were looking forward to it. It became the landmark event for us. Just like the terrorists and cowards we were fighting. Much of their cargo at that time was Second World War automatic weapons such as 9mm Schmeissers, Swedish Ks and 45-caliber American Thompsons.
But now, they students were even helping our enemy. In subsequent years, news of other atrocities in the area filtered into the press, often many years after the fact. We found out later there was a man cowering off the side of the road. Since the base was only tree miles away from our village, we thought we would be called onto the base to fight along side the Fifth Marines. The six stories in this chapter show the lives of typical pilots during these early years, up to the arrival of the first American combat troops in the autumn of 1965.
. At a small knoll they completely stopped. What I had seen was ghastly, but it was not enough to serve as a basis for generalizations about the conduct of the war as a whole. I was exhausted from all the intelligence reports about us getting wiped out. You woke up, it was there. Like I said, you're just numb to it, you know, and just, like, there's no crying about it. There was a lot of chaos, a lot of s -- going on at the time.
Sweat bathed my body in fear. All died, and the children were reported as enemy soldiers killed in action. That's a big part of why I joined. Unlike the Americans, the North Vietnamese were no respecters of international frontiers and soon their troops began the long journey down the interconnecting tracks and roads that made up the Ho Chi Minh Trail, to fight alongside the Viet Cong in the South. It wasn't a good day for anybody. Only a few times did we get reports of being wiped out. I was very frustrated and nervous.
Those rocket attacks continued two to three times a month. One day a report was so strong, a staff sergeant came from our company headquarters to set up with us. I guess we still thought we were fighting for the good of our country and democracy. The unit was codenamed Jungle Jim and was tasked with learning and developing counter-insurgency tactics, using aircraft more suitable to the conditions prevailing in countries like Vietnam. The war dragged on so long, experience of personnel became a factor. This was by far the biggest dud we had ever blown.