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Letter Home From Vietnam
Rating: PG (mention of war)
Summary: Face writes a letter to Father Magill from Vietnam
Disclaimer: Stephen J Cannell owns the A-Team. Sometimes he lets me gas up the van and take them out for a spin. This is one of those times.
This is my *very first* fan fic, so please be gentle=) Below the fic are some definitions of the jargon used here. Oh, and it hasn't been beta read.
Dear Father Magill,
An Khe, Nov 1969
When I last saw you, you told me I could write to you if I wanted. Well, here I am in Vietnam. I never thought I'd see anything other than the Los Angeles skyline, and at times, I wonder why I wanted to see anything else. Right now I am with the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). Our base camp is in An Khe, in II Corps. I am commanding my own platoon at the moment, as our Captain was hit with shrapnel pretty bad during a mortar attack 3 weeks ago.
The VC are strong, resilient fighters, but they are like ghosts. During the day, platoons hump the boonies, looking for weapons, base camps, and you will see hide nor hair of the enemy, although you can hear them. The nights are the worst - the shelling begins in earnest the minute the sun goes down. When our company was hit, mortars and rockets hit all over the barracks. It jolts you to your core, so much that I ran to the bunker and left my rifle in the hooch. I was lucky I made it, four of our men were seriously wounded, our Captain lost an eye from a mortar. It pays to have your head down. I never realized how much I love the smog and concreteness of Los Angeles until I arrived here. If it isn't mud and rain, it's elephant grass and thorns. Our last mission had us hump over 3 clicks and two ridgelines, in the worst terrain I've ever laid eyes. All around is unforgiving jungle and bush. Around us we could hear Charlie - a sure sign of a base camp. The platoon is down 4 men, and we were told not to engage with our low numbers, so we hightailed it to the LZ.
As I was walking the trail, my pointman ahead of me, I stopped to adjust my boot. It probably saved my life. The pointman heard a click, and my sergeant jumped back and all hell broke loose. The explosion knocked everyone down and it took a few minutes for my ears to recover. But Father, it's hard for my eyes to recover. My pointman, a kid named Scott, caught shrapnel over most his body. He was bleeding like crazy, I'd never seen anything like it. But I managed to crawl to him and yell for the medic. We were lucky the other shrapnel wounds, mine included, were minor - no Purple Heart for me. Scott was in shock, and we were lucky we were so close to the LZ and they dusted him off pretty quick.
I tell you, Charlie knows where you are at all times, even when you don't see him. That trail we'd taken in hadn't been booby trapped when we'd humped in. God was with us that day.
waited at the LZ for another Huey to pick the rest of us up, taking a few pot
shots from Charlie while we waited. The pilot who came for us did a great job,
avoiding the fire. The door gunner said he took out a few VC in the trees on
the way in. The pilot was crazy, singing loud opera as he flew, and swinging
that bird through the trees. They tell you it's to avoid gunfire, but I swear
this guy liked it.
Now I am
back in An Khe, with a minor wound to my arm which is almost healed up already.
I've heard a new Captain is coming in, so that may be the end of my time as
platoon leader. To pass the time, I arranged for some new movies to be flown
in, and a jukebox. Don't ask how, you probably don't want to know.
at camp are slow, aside from the sergeant in C company who went on a rampage
and punched out a senior NCO. He's one huge guy, and no one wants to mess with
him. He would have gotten a few months in LBJ, but some Lieutenant Colonel who
is here took him on for something. This Lt Col is something. Silver hair,
saunters around with a stogie in his teeth all day, but when the shelling begins,
he knows the business end of an M-16. He took out a sniper in the bush one
night while pausing to light a cigar. No one knows what he's doing here, but
rumours abound that he's recruiting for a special recon mission. I doubt a man
who took down 2 base camps in one day will choose me for anything, but it would
be nice to get out of An Khe. Humping the boonies is one thing I won't miss
it would be great to get a letter from you. The days pass slowly when you
aren't out in the AO. Despite my complaints, I am extending my tour for 6
months. I feel God led me here for a reason, and there is something still for
me to do here. Something more than humping the bush and watching for booby traps.
I've got no one else to write to, so I hope you will try to keep in touch, and
I hope you won't mind a letter now and then.
humping the boonies - beating the bushes looking for the enemy
VC - Victor Charlie, code for Viet Cong
NCO - non-commissioned officer, usually sergeants
LBJ - Long Binh Jail
LZ - Landing Zone
Huey - Type of helicopter
dusted off - medivac out
II Corps - area of Vietnam. South Vietnam was divided in 4 Corps
clicks - kilometers
pointman - first man in, leads the group in
AO - area of operations
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