Updated: Jan 21, 2019
1969 Phu Cat Re-Visited
The trucks tail lights disappeared quickly in this soup. I set on my bucket, and listened transfixed on the motor pulling the deuce and a half along, and getting further and further away.
Suddenly it was deathly quiet. I was a little un-nerved by this blanket that coated-on-me like warm ice cream. I didn’t want to move, I didn’t move, and as I set, an hour rolled by, then another. I hadn’t cleared my post, I just sit.
Earlier, as I watch the truck leave, I Locked and loaded my Car-15, then I made my radio check letting base know that Kilo 43 was being secured, then got Duke II change into his working collar, and put the choke chain and muzzle away until early morning when we would climb aboard the relief trucks. Dogs would be muzzled and choke-chained to maximize control on the ride with as many as seven to ten dog teams on board. That’s a lot of dogs occupying the center of the truck bed, and fights break out. But I’m way ahead of myself here, it’s 22:30 and I’m still sitting on a bucket unable to see Duke at the end of his leash.
“Come hear boy, Duke come here!” He comes to me and rubs up against me and the dog is soaking wet, to the bone and I didn’t want to be wet. But between dew and sweat I was already wet.
I needed to move, big-time and get this post secured. Can’t see a thing, can’t see my dog, but I took my first step, anyway! I had the leash and bucket in my right hand and my weapon in my left hand and I was using it to shield my face as moved forward. I was still in a-round-about, the trucks use to circle and exit. I’m not getting anywhere very fast, but I was moving now and that felt good.
Duke II never moved to the front, he hung-back, to my rear. Sometimes I felt like I was pulling him. He moved, but reluctantly. I guess Duke is freaked by the fog. I kept moving, walking my way out of the truck turn around area, finally. And I finally did hit, bushes! I was relieved at some kind of contact and made a left turn and started feeling my way with my weapon out in front of me and slowly, kept moving in this fashion. It took awhile but I finally broke into some sort of clearing, and headed due east and away from the base. I was moving, but where? no clue. As long as I kept bushes on one side and the clearing on the other, I was able to keep moving.
Duke never took the lead! Stayed behind me the whole time, letting me do all the stumbling and searching is pretty dog-smart, you think?!
All of a sudden, the sky lights up and I’m blinded and laying flat on the ground, my Car-15 is on full-auto, I’m ready to kill something. That. Is going on?
I heard the wind of jet engines and had just enough time to see a F-105 fly over my position. The red lights of the cock-pit silhouetted the pilots head and I almost waved. As I stood up, a second 105 came over me with lights outs and I did wave. It was an awesome sight. I love the crackle of metal moving through hot air and kerosene is like Rose oil. This was my awakening to Air Force air power. Landing lights and all.
It took forever for the coffee truck to make his final stop of the night, at Kilo’s 43 and 44. I was anxious to talk to a human, and meet the other handler out here with me. The coffee truck left and took this cursed fog with it. I was left standing with Sergeant Collins and what a character he turned out to be. I learned to respect and love this good Christian Man. We called him, Rev.