The total that day was thirteen killed in action and fifteen wounded. I do not know how many NVA were killed. I did not care. I hoped they all had been killed.
We placed the wounded onto Medavacs as soon as we could then we loaded the dead onto two Hueys. I cannot explain my feelings. I tried not to think about the dead, but some thoughts just will not leave.
I thought, what would their families feel when they learned of their son’s deaths? These guys would never go to a movie, drive a car or drink a beer again. They were just boys. Zircle looked as though he should have been in the ninth grade, not in the army. I became angry, but I did not know at whom.
C Company pulled itself together and began its trek back to Wood. It seemed we walked for hours, but I was in a trance.
When we passed through Trang Bang, a small boy approached me wearing an ear to ear smile.
He yelled as he waved, probably trying to be friendly and happy in his unstable life. I had my rifle slung in the ready position and for some reason I cannot explain to this day, I pointed the muzzle of my rifle directly at him and yelled.
Reaching into the insulated can the man, who was about nineteen, pulled a bottle of Vietnamese beer from the cool murky water. With his free hand he unholstered his 45 pistol, which looked gigantic in his small hand. His thumb instinctively pressed the magazine release, allowing the magazine to pop out of the gun about half an inch. The deadly weapon now became a bottle opener. As if it was part of Colt’s design the lanyard loop of the pistol and the lip of the magazine held the bottle cap perfectly. A quick wrist movement and white foam was oozing from the open bottle.
“Have some,” he said, handing the brown bottle to Oster.
The look on Oster’s face gave away the fact that he had never seen a pistol used in this manner and was impressed.
“That’s the only reason I carry this heavy son of a bitch,” The young soldier said, reholstering his eight shot bottle opener.