March 12th, 1967.
The Bryce Military Compound
James R. Mann
Journal Entry: 652
Today is the day. Me and a few other of the troops head into the mountains. This is our last mission for an entire year, and I can honestly say that
if I make it out of this alive, I'm gonna go home and have me a nice bowl of chili and a cold beer. We've been stuck in this god forsaken country
for two years now, and I'm just plain sick of it. The luke warm MREs, the cold showers, and most of all....The hot, wet air. I miss my home back in
Cleveland so much...I would kill to go back. Hehe...I guess thats what I'm going to do though, isn't it?
Our objective is to locate and destroy a small Vietcong base high in the mountains.
We will bring back with us the assumed leader of the joint, and question him as much as possible. Then? Well, then we just need to make our way back
to base, and take a chopper to a compound at the southern border . From there, we'll be leaving on plane back to the U.S. Ah.....The United States.
Damn....I wish I was back there right now. But I suppose the world wasn't made for me. I fight, and then if I survive....I can go back. For awhile
Wellp, its almost time to depart, and I need to get all of my equipment together and rendezvous with the other marines. Till later, this is Corporal
Mann, signing out. (Lets hope not forever).
Chapter One: The strike begins
James walked up to the other 15 soldiers, and was met with a barrage of comments.
Cole: ''Mann! Where have you been? Geez. Your lucky we didn't just leave without you, ya' damn slug!''.
James: ''Yeah, yeah. Sorry. I was just wiping down my gun. Gotta keep the bullets clean for the little pricks, eh?''
All of the soldiers made a short laugh of this.
Rodrick: ''I wonder where that buggy escort is? We can't leave before it gets here. We'd spend more time walking there than we would raiding
James: ''Not much we can do about that I'm afr-...Oh, hey look. There it is now''.
Six military buggies drove up to the side of the marines. One of the drivers rolled down the window and began to speak.
Driver: ''Eh? You the little whores who need the escort to the mountains?''
Cole smiled and laughed.
Cole: ''Yes, thats us. And would you be the bad-ass super hero whose gonna' help help us raid the damn place?''
The driver just turned his head.
Driver: ''. . . . Get in''.
The ride took about 2 hours. There was far too much foliage and rocks for the escort to take them any further, so they were left to their own devices
. By the time they arrived in the middle of the mountains, it was 6pm. The light was leaving the sky. They wanted to arrive by 2am the next day, to
make sure that they could have the cover of the night before the raid, but not have to work around the rising sun.
Cole: ''Okay soldiers. We have now entered dangerous territory. The cong have monitoring stations positioned all around these mountains. We're
going to break up into 3 groups. 5 soldiers in one, 5 in another, and 6 in the last''.
The men found their spots, and were dismissed by Cole. They spread out into the mountains. They continued to make their way through the thick forests
James looked over fast.
James: ''Sam! Are you okay kiddo?''
Sam was holding his ankle and cursing.
Sam: ''Dammit! I...I think I broke it. I twisted it on one of those #ing rocks in the back...''
The other marines looked at each other. Cole called them into a small circle a few yards away, they started whispering.
Cole: ''We have a problem boys. We're way too far ahead to bring him back, and if we bring him with us hes gonna get us killed. Ideas
All of the soldiers started pondering and sweating a little bit. Shaking their heads. Then one of the soldiers, Emanuel, offered a quick
Eman: ''We...We...We could kill him! We just pop him and say he got killed by one of the cong. No one will ever know...''
All of the troops broke apart and started cursing as him.
James: ''You #ing sick bastard, whats the matter with you?! The kids one of our brothers, we start killing our own we might as well just surrender
Eman: ''Hes no use to us! Hes just gonna be in pain! I'm not gonna die just because some little punk broke his ankle!!!!''
James punched Eman, giving him a bloody nose.
James: ''What the # is wrong with you?! Maybe I should just blow YOUR head off and say you got killed by the cong, you piece of #''.
Cole and and the other marine, Roger, grabbed James to keep him off of Emanuel.
Eman: ''K-K-Keep your hands off me y-you dick!''
Cole: ''James. JAMES! Stop. Beating the living crap out of him isn't gonna do anything for us now. Though...I'd love to do that very
Eman: ''You people are crazy! I'm not going to just sit around here and wait to be killed by those Vietcong bastards!''
Emanuel got up and started running down the slope of the forest. As he was running, a bright light appeared, and the sound of a gun echoed through the
air. A Vietcong had killed him.
James: ''#......They know we're here now. We better get the # out of here before more of them show up''.
Cole: ''I'm with that''.
Chapter Two: For death or glory
The marines had decided that there was no other option than to bring him with them, and try to bandage him up once they overtook the outpost.
Roger: ''Ahhh...Man....James. Do you have any water, bud? I'm all out.''
James offered Roger a sip from his canteen.
James: ''Here Rog, I've got plenty''.
James offered some to Cole as well, he gave a slight sigh of annoyance.
Cole: ''Pfffh....James, tell me if you have any hard vodka. That would do a lot better for me than some water...''
Sam: ''Haha...I could use some of that as well...''
Suddenly, the group of marines heard a rustle in the foliage. Cole started to whisper.
Cole: ''Halt!.....Shhh...There is something here. And I don't think its an animal...''
As if out of no where, they heard gun fire, Roger gave a cry of agony.
Roger: ''#!! I'm down!!!''
Cole: ''Cover! Cover!''
James: ''Stay here! I know where they're coming from! Theres only a few of them, I'll flank left, you provide me with some covering fire!''
Cole: ''Take the point!''
James ducked and rushed full speed into a group of trees on the left of the forest. The Vietcong had not seen him come up behind them. He quickly took
out his knife,
attached it to his gun, and speared one of them through the neck, making him whelp. One of the other Vietcong heard his comrade's cry and rushed over
to investigate. James hid behind a tree, then full-force punched the Vietcong in the Adam's Apple, stunning him. He deftly delivered the butt of his
gun into the enemies' face and killed him.
There was one remaining Vietcong, he had taken refuge behind a large fallen tree, and had a good view of the woods. James knew he couldn't sneak up
behind him, so he aimed and struck true. His rifle round went flying and cracked the cong's head in half. James took a minute to regain his breath,
and jogged back to the rest
of his group.
James: "Agh...Ergg....Is...Is everyone okay??''
Cole: ''We're all good. Thank god we decided to bring you eh?''
James: ''Saved your ass''.
The two looked over at Roger, he was stone dead on the ground.
Cole: ''Bastards......That kid could have been a fine soldier....We'll have to come back for him later. I won't leave him here for the worms to
James seemed distracted, and Cole inquired.
Cole: ''James, what is it?''
James: ''Uhh....Where is Sam?''
The two looked around. They saw nothing.
James: ''Hold on. Look! Theres a drag-trail''.
The two marines followed the trail as best they could in the dim light. It stopped near at the edge of a creek.
James: ''One of them must have dragged him down while we were fighting...''
The two men looked at the speed of the creek's current.
Cole: ''.....Hes long gone. Even if he is still alive, this water is running way too fast for us to catch him....Hes #ed''.
James looked down and gave an exasperate sigh.
James: ''I don't know how much longer we can stake this out, Cole. We've lost 3 marines in a single night, and its breaking on day now. We only
have the rest of tomorrow to get there before day break, and its not looking good. If we've had this much trouble, who knows how much the other
groups have had? Hell, for all we know....They're already dead. The outpost has about 40 men in it. We could take it with 15, 10, maybe even 8 good
troops, but 2? No....''
Cole: ''We just have to keep on pressing on, and hope for the best. If the rest of the group is still alive, we can't let them down''.
James: ''Amen to that, brother''.
The two marines found an old dug out pit near a group of trees, and settled down for a few hours, before the rest of their mission could be
Chapter Three: The face of tragedy
It was early morning when the two awoke. It was silent, except for the sounds of a cool breeze. They opened up some MRE's and began to eat.
James: ''Hmmmmm...From the looks of things, if we push on for the rest of day, we can make it to the outpost by 12am. Whaddya' think?''
Cole: ''Eh...Well, I'm not sure. Thats assuming we don't have any...'Problems', along the way...''
James: ''Well if we do, we'll be ready for it. We have to get there before the sun starts to rise tomorrow, or our cover is gonna be blown.
The two started to think and ponder.
Cole: ''Wait...Wait a sec...''
Cole: ''There are monitoring stations all over this mountain, right?''
James: ''Yeah, tons of em. We've already had to deal with troops from two of them in a single night. Why do you ask anyway?''
Cole: ''Well...The vietcong have tunnels and shortcuts. If we find one of those stations and kill off the few congs in it, we might be able to get a
map with all of their tunnels and routes on it? Obviously it doesn't take them this long to get between the outpost and their stations, so they must
have some way of getting there fast...''
James thought about it for awhile.
James: ''Hmm...Its definitely dangerous, but it sounds a lot better than risking our asses going through this forest with all the scouts and
Cole: ''Its decided then. We'll go for it''.
James: ''I'm with that, lets go''.
The two made their way through the forests for about an hour. Eventually, their progressed was halted by the sound of gunfire.
James: ''Did you hear that? It sounded like gunfire coming from the east''.
Cole: ''Yeah, I did. We better get over there and see what's going on. Maybe we'll even find our tunnels''.
They rushed quickly over and hid behind a large tree. Suddenly, as James turned his head around the tree, the butt of a gun went flying and almost hit
him, but he dodged it. Rodrick poked his head around the tree and gasped.
Rodrick: ''#! Sorry James! I didn't know it was you!''
James: ''Damn Rod, you almost took me out there. Don't worry about it right now, though. But you can repay me by telling me what the hell is going
Rodrick started to relate his story.
Rodrick: ''Well, we stumbled upon this outpost a few hours ago and two of our men have been killed. One got killed by a lobbed grenade and another
got knifed while he was hiding. We've been fighting here for a long time, and I don't know how much longer we could have lasted without you guys.
There were 6 of them and only 3 of us. We killed one and we have you guys now, so its 5-5! Think we can do this thing?''
Cole: ''Without a doubt brother''.
James: ''Lets hand them their skinny little asses''.
The men rushed forward, ducking and hiding behind trees, giving covering fire every few steps. Eventually, Cole and one of the other soldiers, Martin,
made it up to the front of the station's bunker, meanwhile Rodrick, James, and another soldier,
Ken gave suppressing fire.
Cole: ''Okay kid, on 1 I want us to both get out grenades, on 2 we pull the pin, and on 3 we throw them into the bunker window. Got it?''
Martin: ''Got it Sarg!''
Cole: ''1.........2..........3, lob em'!''
They threw the grenades behind them, going into the bunker's window. They sprinted out of the way and ducked behind a group of fallen trees. After a
few seconds, the grenades went off and tore part of the bunker up. Killing everyone inside. The rest of the soldiers ran up to them.
James: ''That was some goooood #''.
Cole: ''Hehe....Saved your ass''.
The two chuckled a little bit.
Rodrick: ''Not to be pushy, but we better get out of here''.
James: ''We can't yet. We have to go in there and see if we can find a tunnel entrance. We're gonna take it as a shortcut into the middle of the
outpost. And if we're lucky, we'll find a map with all the tunnel routes on it''.
Ken: ''Well okay then, lets get moving!''.
The 5 went into the partially damaged bunker. The back room was untouched by the grenade. They found a small box containing some propaganda and a map
with a few of the tunnel routes as expected, but it had been partially ripped, leaving some of the information lost.
James: ''Well, this sucks. I guess we better just try to find that entrance and get out of here, and hope we find the right exit''.
Martin: ''Hey! Look over here. There's a trap door in this corner. It looks pretty far down, this must be it''.
All of the men jogged over to the entrance and looked down at it.
Cole: ''Good work, lets go''.
Chapter Four: Down below
The marines had begun to ascend the tunnel ladder, headed by James and Cole. As they went down, they saw many old, ragged Vietcong propaganda posters
littering the walls.
Rodrick: ''Pffffhh....Look at all the crap they put in here. I can't read it, but I just know its a bunch of baloney!''
James smirked a little bit.
James: ''Hehe...I suppose its their form of brain washing eh?''
Martin: ''Damn straight''.
The petty talk went on for about an hour as they made their way through the long tunnels. Eventually, they reached what appeared to be a large
Cole: ''Huh...Looks like another trap door. But...This one..This one is much larger and stronger than the other one. Maybe we've found our outpost,
Martin: ''Lets hope so. But what if this thing leads us inside the place, and we pop right into a group of congs? We'd be #ed''.
Ken: ''Hes right. We better find a way to check it out''.
James rubbed his chin and squinted a bit.
James: ''Hold on, there's a little crack in it...''
James licked his finger and put it up next to the crack. He felt a slight breeze caress it.
James: ''We're safe boys. There's fresh wind blowing through here. It can't be indoors''.
Ken: ''Nice. Lets do this thing''.
The marines slowly opened the door, surveying the area before they got out. There was no one in sight, but the outpost was about 200 yards away. It
was slightly lit up by oil lamps. Cole started to whisper to the troops.
Cole: ''Okay...We have to be quiet. We need to get in there, but first, we have to find the last group...But I have a plan. See that pile of rocks
Cole pointed his finger at a large group of boulders and rocks about 160 yards outside of the outpost. The marines nodded.
Cole: ''We're gonna go and stake ourselves out there for awhile. I want everyone to keep their eyes and ears open. As soon as we see the last
group, James and I are gonna go and quietly get them and tell them the plan. The rest of you are going to stay here and cover us incase we get in
trouble with the neighbors, got it?''
All of the marines agreed to this, but then Rodrick introduced a question.
Rodrick: ''Ehm...Cole. Sir. What's gonna' happen if...They don't show up..?''
Cole pondered this statement for a few seconds, then answered in a slightly depressed fashion.
Cole: ''Well.......Its only 11pm now. We'll give it 3 hours, till 2am as planned. If they don't show up, they're either late or....They've been
killed. We'll execute our strike either way, even if we do only have a few marines. If we succeed, we'll send out a rescue squad as soon as we
James: ''Sounds like a plan to me''.
The marines waited for a few hours, passing the time by whispering about their lovers back home and what they would do once they could leave.
Eventually, they spotted the other group about 230 yards outside of the compound, hiding behind brush. James and Cole got up and ducked and ran up to
them. They started whispering to each other. Cole related the plan to the last group and they all agreed verily. They went back and joined as a big
group. They had suffered no casualties and were 10 strong. Cole called the men over, they all put their heads together and put their arms around each
Cole: ''The evil and corruption in this world is undefeatable. But that doesn't mean we can't try. We are brothers in arms. Some of us have died,
and for all we know, all the rest of will die as well. But we have a shield, something those bastards can never destroy. Our courage and valor. We're
fighting for the freedom of our country god dammit, and they can't ever take that away, ever. Now we're gonna get in there and give them hell, even
if we die trying''.
All of the men tightened their grip around each other shoulders, and as if out of nowhere, all cried...
James: ''Lets make them # their pants boys!!!!!!''
The men rushed fill force at the outpost. They shot at the timber door at the front and lobbed grenades into the barracks. Eventually they tore
through the door and mowed down most of the cong near the entrance. James and Cole began to fight side by side, spearing and shooting any and every
enemy that approached.
James: ''Suck this you dirty bastards!!!''
James lobbed a grenade into a group of about 3 congs who were positioned behind 2 tables, killing all of them. Rodrick and Ken had flanked to the
right, and started to fire upon 2 congs who were reloading their weapons. They believed they had killed them both, but as they started to turn around,
one of the cong raised his gun and fired it into the back of Ken, causing him to fall on the edge of his combat knife, slitting his throat. Rodrick
spun around and pegged the cong with an array of machine gun fire.
The battle went on for almost 3 hours. James and Martin had found the vietcong general hiding under his desk in one of the back rooms. The battle had
taken its toll, Ken was killed, and everyone was injured. As for the vietcong, all of them had been filled with holes. The marines tied up the leader
and sent out a dispatch to the compound. They had completed their mission. James and Cole grabbed the general by the rope tied around his hands, and
started to drag him.
James: ''Well Cole, it looks like we survived. Most of us, at least...''
Cole frowned a little bit, then spoke.
Cole: ''Indeed brother, indeed''.
They began to walk, dragging the leader as painfully as possible. After many hours of walking, they stopped to rest for awhile. They weren't planning
on sleeping for the rest of the night, till they got back to the same area where the buggies dropped them off in the first place, and would pick them
up again. The men started to converse.
Cole: ''So James....What are you gonna do when you get home?''
James smiled a little bit, and gave his reply.
James: ''Me? Well....I think the first thing I'm gonna do when I get home....Is sit down, and have a nice, hot bowl of chilly''.