It’s three a.m. and you don’t know whether to call it late or early. We have been without sleep for about twenty six hours now and it’s going to be a long tough day ahead. We are numb to the sound of the planes engines as that’s all that has been in our heads for hours now. It makes for an eerie kind of silence, and outside it’s dark as eternal hell.
Nervous, scared, anxious, call it what you will. Half of the guys are sleeping and the other half on the edge of their seat. Everyone in camo and faces all greased up. We look like a bunch of Indian warriors in pow-wow just before a raid. Our watches are synchronized and in precisely sixty seconds I’m going to start yelling “Go, Go, Go, over and over until we are all out. Out into that endless looking darkness. No one knows what or who waits below. It should be all good. No one should know that we are here, I mean hell we didn’t know we were coming until about twenty six hours ago. We barely know where we are and sure as hell none of us have been here before. Ahead lies a mission and the details are few and far between.
“GO, GO, GET OFF YOUR AS AND GO!” One by one out the door. Timing is everything because you can’t see the ground and it comes up on you fast, faster than you think. When you are falling into the darkness a split second can feel like an eternity. That’s why timing is everything. Suddenly one by one the opening shoots break the silent tranquility of the fall, and then the thumping of bodies hitting the ground. It’s so dark your hearing takes the place of your sight. Everything went well. No one hit the trees. Just like planed we hit our mark in a small clearing, an empty crop field carved out of the middle of the jungle. We quickly gather up our shoots and head west into the jungle. I take a head count and Corky is missing. Me and two other guys head back out into the clearing to look for his ass. Getting out of that clearing without being noticed was a big deal. “Psst” over here one of the guys whispered. The other two of us scuffle over, and there’s Corky on the ground with a damn broken leg. Now what? Now just what the hell are we supposed to do with your ass I ask. We have just enough time to get to the village before dawn and we wont make it if we drag him along. Lives are depending on us getting there before daylight. So we drug Corky about fifty yards into the thickest brush that we could find and buried his stupid ass front side up leaving just his mouth, nose and eyes exposed. We put his riffle in his hands so he could defend his self and covered the area with brush. Hopefully no one finds him before we get back.
We fan out so we don’t sound like a herd of elephants moving through the bush. This is where you feel all alone. Your by yourself and it only takes one to take one out and any one of us could be that one. Yea there is a bunch of us here, but we are separated and it’s so dark you cant see your hand in front of your face. As we close in on the village I get a creepy feeling. I start to think that there has to be enemy op’s (observation post) out here. There’s not supposed to be and recon information said that there wont be. But I got to think these ass holes are evil but they can’t be that stupid.
Within a split second of that thought a freaking hand from behind grabs my face and starts to pull me back. It was as if I smell it and feel it coming before it even touched me. Time seemed to stop and a million thoughts run through your mind in that brief moment. By the Grace of God and pure instinct, while all that stuff was going through my mind, I threw my right arm up across my throat. This son of a bitch is going to take my head off. Right at that moment his machete sliced across my wrist. With my left hand I got a hold of my k-bar, twisted around and shoved it into his gut. It all happened so fast and without thought.
That’s why I said by the Grace of God. I couldn’t shoot the guy, if I did all hell would of broke loose, and the whole damn village would know we were there. I wrapped my wrist and moved on. Everything went right to plan after that. We had a hell of a fire fight at the village just for a short time and a couple our guys got it. That you never want to happen, but it's just part of it. It is the ultimate sacrifice and those guys are the only heroes on that day. We got the hostages out, and yea we got back to Corky. How was he you wonder? Some elderly village woman came across him, patched up his leg and fed him.
©William J. Marsh