Article – Excerpt From War Story (Vietnam)

We were all firing. Tracers from the thirty caliber weapons were ricocheting so high I thought the Cong were sending up flares. I fired up one magazine and then another. I kept firing. We all did. I wanted nothing to live out there. I felt nothing, neither elation nor horror, just the cold astringent calm.

I fired up five magazines before I stopped. Then everybody stopped and I called out, “Cowboy, let’s check out the stiffs.”

We got up and moved onto the trail. The bodies were lying to the left, to the right, on the trail, cut down running. I fired a round in the ground beside each man to see if he would move. None did. Cowboy moved beside me, covering.

When we came to the last one I moved in on him and he raised up, his arms extended, eyes wide. I said, “Good, we got a pris…”

Cowboy stitched him up the middle with his AR-15. He didn’t even twitch.

I said, “We could have got some good information from that guy.”

“Sorry,” said Cowboy. “I get, you know, excited.”