"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Friday, March 2, 2012

Keep Firearms Out of the Reach of Children

By David Ramsey

Just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, it didn’t take our squadron long to realize we weren’t in Kansan anymore, and nowhere near the Land Oz. The Wizard left as soon as the shooting started and I can’t blame him.

It had been one of those super hot days at Da Nang, and the brass wanted everything done in double time. Maybe the heat was getting to the officers as they stood around giving orders to us -- the workers.

We finally got through the day and we were looking forward to the evening and some well deserved rest. Sometimes those hard cots we slept in were comfortable, but only sometimes. 

Everything went into slow motion as we sat around that evening. We had built our own bar inside the compound.  Somehow one of the gunny sergeants was able to keep us supplied with ten cent beer that he got somewhere. No one ever asked how, or where, he got the stuff.   Sometimes it’s best not to know.

We downed our limit of beer. I think it was three maybe four per night. The generator would soon be turned off so everyone started to stretch out for the night. Soon everyone was drifting off into a deep sleep, disturbed only by the few snorers in those French huts. 

That night our sleep would be interrupted. The guards just outside came running through, kicking our bunks, and telling us to get up and get outside between the buildings. Everyone was trying to find their clothes, grabbing their rifles and ammo, and all while in the dark. Some ran outside with only their skivvies (underwear for those who forgot) with their M16s in hand. 

We soon heard the mortar rounds going over and landing a short distance away. I looked at my watch.  It was 3:30 in the morning. I often wondered if the VC ever slept. If they were going to do that to us, at least they could have done it in the heat of the day, not when we were sleeping. No, they had to wait until we went to sleep. 

As we hunkered between the buildings that night, Jessie, my friend, whispered that he had left his rifle back at the armory, inside the hanger. I tried to tell him it would be okay, he could take my sidearm if things got any hotter. No, come hell or high water, Jessie had to have his own rifle. We caught a delay with the incoming so we started to run to the hanger, two long dark miles away. 

I don’t recall how many times we fell on our mid-night run, but we were a mess by the time we got over there. It wasn’t any calmer over there, either, rounds were going off like crazy. Going inside the armory there was an old saloon-type half door, spring loaded to keep it closed. We were in a hurry to get his rifle, so we must have hit the door hard enough to keep it caught open. 

As Jessie was loading his weapon, plus grabbing a few extra magazines, the door snapped closed, making a loud bang. I spun around on my heels as I pulled the trigger on that M16 -- of course it was on full auto. In the blink of an eye, I emptied that gun. The door was shredded, the window was blown out, and there were holes all over the wall. 

I must admit I was scared to death. I turned around to say something to Jessie but he was on the floor in a fetal position. Oh my God, I thought, I shot Jessie! I stood there terrified and speechless. As I gained some control I screamed out his name. Jessie looked up and said, "Are you hit?" 

"No," I said, "are you??  I tried to explain but I was getting out only half the words. Jessie grabbed his rifle from the floor and I put a fresh magazine in mine and we hit the trail running. 

When we got back to Dogpatch, the mortars had stopped.  We were able to rejoin our men without anyone knowing we had temporary deserted. Jessie and I both agreed, we didn’t need to tell anyone about that night. I will leave you with this, if you have a 19 year old kid running around your house, lock up your guns. Both can be dangerous to have around.

C David Ramsey

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to comment.