"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

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas Eve in The Nam

Christmas Eve in The Nam
It was Christmas Eve, 1969, Camp Love, Vietnam, just south and west of DaNang. 

The War Gods had essentially called a "time out." 

The officers of my battalion were gathered in a rather safe structure made from granite stone and mortar which was appropriately called the "Officers Club."

On this night, we were kicking back, drinking beer and being entertained by a USO-sponsored band from the Philippines. 

The three gals and two guys really slaughtered the Christmas carols we knew and remembered but we all joined in, nevertheless, in a surrealistic celebration of Christmas Eve. 

Weapons, helmets and flak jackets were hung on the pegs in the wall by the door and the evening was transitioning to a pleasant state of melancholy.

All of a sudden the familiar sounds of M-16 and M-60 machine gun fire broke out in the northern sector (my sector) of our compound. 

The officers all scrambled for their weapons and gear and returned to their respective sectors of the defensive perimeter. (I'm sure the Filipino band hit the deck, but I didn't turn back to check).

Flares and Tracers
By the time I reached my company's position, the sky was lit up like the 4th of July. 

Flares hung in the sky everywhere. Tracer rounds streaked out over our wire into the valley between our compound and the FLC compound a half-mile away.

My Battalion S-3 was shouting over the radio asking, "Where the hell is the fire coming from?" 

Nobody knew. 

All of the fire seemed to originate from our side of the barbed wire and no fire was being returned. 

"Cease Fire, Cease Fire!" was relayed to every fox hole and every bunker until only the hiss of the remaining flares in the sky could be heard. 

A call out for a report of casualties was made. 

"No casualties."

"Who started firing, first?"

(No response).

"What the hell were we firing at?"

(No response).

"Why in hell were we firing our weapons?"

A humble voice from a yet-to-be determined foxhole finally replied, "'Cause it's Christmas, sir."

by Monty K. Nereim
San Diego, CA

“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

Feel free to comment on this post. You are also invited to write about anything you want to share. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history.


  1. I remember Christmas Eve 1970 in the bush outside Da Nang. Probably the loneliest day of my life. The bond formed that night between Marines who were equally as lonely was something very special. --Tom Gillespie

  2. In all of the years since Christmas in 'Nam, I still can't make sense of it. A "time out" in the middle of hell, seems strange to me, a book on how to kill and how not to kill. Wish I was on sick call for 13 months, why not. --Philip L. Richards

  3. Can remember it like it was yesterday


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