War is VERY Personal - Even if you are not a combatant

During my assignment as Advisory Team Leader in Trung Lap, in the heart of the enemy's "Iron Triangle", my team and I were mortared by enemy forces continually. Usually, this wasn't a big problem: The previous team had structured our sleeping quarters to make them "almost" mortar proof. In order to kill us, the mortars were first greeted by our corrugated metal roof, and they always exploded there harmlessly. Our Vietnamese hosts were only too happy to repair any damage on the following morning, since our presence meant American artillery fire from our heavy guns at the huge 25th Infantry Base. Had one of the shells penetrated our roof, it would have been stopped by the solid steel planking, resting solidly over sand-filled ammunition crates surrounding our beds. In order to harm us, the mortar round would have had to make two turns from our entrance, and so would have the cooler outdoor air. No matter: Always tired from our constant patrolling, we always fell asleep quickly, after we showered. Ann Jones, in her excellent report on "embedding" during combat missions with US troops, was struck by the bravado with which our news media reported combat - somewhere between the legends of Wyatt Earp and Robin Hood! I suppose we all have our fading memories! Please check out her report: "In Bed with the US Army", published 02 August 2010 on TomDispatch.com

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