About 395 and a Wake Up
|December 1st, 2006||#1|
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395 and a Wake Up info
Titled 395 and a Wake Up, it is a tale of an ordinary, nineteen year old Marine in an extra-ordinary conflct. I tried to tell the story about as gut-level as was possible . . . as I lived it. No heroics. I was scared out of my gourd, but did the best as was humanly possible. Heck, I was just a kid. Just like the kids in Iraq.
I sincerely hope you will take an interest and, at the very least, please see my homepage at www.terrysako.com for excerpts and reviews.
|December 1st, 2006||#2|
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I normally don't allow ads for commercial products/sites in here, but I think I'll make an exception here since you don't seem like our "average spammer"...
(but please keep it to this thread alone)
Do you mind sharing some excerpts from you book in here, perhaps with your own comments to it?
I would be interested in hearing some more about it and your experiences (if you don't mind sharing of course)
We do have several Vietnam War veterans in here already, and I see that some of them have already welcomed you in your first thread.
|December 1st, 2006||#3|
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I'd love to read some of what you've written, and I'm taking advice on getting published, because I have a work that is very near to completion. It sounds like just the kind of literature I love- war, told by the grunts who lived it. I respect that.
Screwing over bureaucratic organizations, one paper tiger at a time.
Trespassers will be shot and fed to the dogs.
|December 2nd, 2006||#4|
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Excerpt: 395 and a Wake Up info
Knowing that I was about to stand perimeter watch with the infamous Sanchez, I scaled the bunker with a mixture of apprehension and anticipation. Iíd been posted to this FSB for awhile now, but he still was an enigma, an entity unto himself. If you spoke to him he answeredóalbeit curtlyóif you didnít he ignored you. He never led nor followed. He gave no orders nor took them
Plopping down, I beamed my bestest, most wonderfulest smile. "Good morning, Corporal Sanchez."
He sat behind a M-60 machine gun mounted on a bipod, his arms folded over the stock, legs spread out on either side of the barrel. He cast me a sideways glance without turning his head, then resumed his gaze out over the fence. "Hola."
I carefully worded my question. "Hey Corporal, long ago Tex warned me not to not get in front of your pig in case something goes down. And Iíve never gotten around to asking you why. So . . . why?"
This time he looked directly at me, his coal black eyes fierce. "Leesen compaŮero. I bean fightiní since I was a keed, inna ring and on da street, an I ainí ever loss. I geet busted and da judge says I go inna service or to jail. Then I get sení over here. Okay wití me. But I gonna get back to Wes L.A. in wan piece. So I choot anything that gets in my way. And if chu **** up," he patted the feed tray, "and geet in froní of my cerdo. . . ." With an expansive shrug he expressed regret, "Sorry Ďbout dat chit."
I lay out, pulling my cover down over my eyes, thinking: You hadda ask.
I was off mine sweep as the squad had inflated with new arrivals, and that was just fine with me. I had begun to dread going out on that road and dealing with the tension and the b******t.
But perimeter duty was no fuss, no muss. I could just bask in the sun and fantasize about broads, something Iíd been doing a lot of lately. Today it was Nancy Sinatra in mini-skirt and boots made for walkiní. And she was headed my way in that swivel-hip style of hers when I heard the bolt of Sanchezís machine gun slam home.
Now what the ****?
I sat up and saw him now prone, sighting down the barrel. I looked over the fence and beyond the open field to the tree line on the other side of the highway. Having materialized out of the woods, a dozen or so women, holding infants or clutching the hands of youngsters, stood side by side in a precise line. And though they posed no immediate threat, I laid my rifle on the sandbags pointing their way.
Then, as one they started walking, as if to some unheard command. They crossed the highway and continued forward through the open field as if it was just a stroll down Park Avenue. When they were seventy-five yards away I remembered Texís warning back on the first day, and said to Sanchez, "**** Corporal, ainít there mines out there?"
He didnít answer, so I stood to wave the women off but Sanchez pulled me back down roughly. "Jusí wait ní watch, hombre,"he hissed.
The procession made its way slowly, the children gazing around at the terrain seeing only what kids see. The women walked stiff, like they carried a load on their backs. They stared forward fixedly as if focused on some distant destination, but occasionally one or another would look over her shoulder to the tree line. I had no idea what was going down, and didnít expect an explanation from Sanchez.
A blast, closely followed by a secondary explosion, made me jump. The mama-sanand baby-santo the far right were gone, nothing left but a cloud of dust. Then I heard the rhythmic sound of bursts from Sanchezís pig. "No goddammit Sanchez," I screamed, "those are women and kids."
"Tu madre gringo, eees sappers," he snarled.
I tore my eyes off him and looked back to the field. The women now ran toward the fence at full gallop, oblivious to the mines, the children being drug along behind. I grabbed my rifle and sighted down . . . but couldnít pull the trigger. I laid it down away from me.
Sanchez let loose with another salvo and a mama-san folded in on herself and collapsed in a heap. The child alongside was lifted and flung backwards like a rag doll.
Fifty yards away I spotted a mama-san who had stopped running to snatch up her youngster, who wanted to go the other way. Then she resumed double-timing it, her face determined, the childís horrified.
When she was thirty yards away I picked up my rifle and sighted in on her.
I lowered my rifle.
Sanchezís weapon sang again, and single shots sounded from other places on the perimeter. When she was twenty yards out, and veering my way, somewhere in my brain the overload protectors kicked out and a surge of high voltage melted all the wiring in the cabinet labeled "Sixth Commandment."
I raised my rifle, beaded in, and fired off three quick shots.
She and the kid exploded, chunks of meat sailing through the air.
End of dinks.
I kept firing at where they once stood till the magazine was empty, then dropped the rifle from my trembling hands, my stomach churning and bile rising in my throat. My mind refused to accept what I had just witnessed. And my soul was rent asunder for what I had just committed.
I stood and yelled, "What the "****ís wrong with yooooou." and Sanchez pulled me down again. As the shooting tapered off, I lay there in a near fetal position looking heavenward and thinking: This how you run your command? When all firing ceased, I sat up and collected my rifle, then stared out at the waste.
Mosconi and Tex appeared below, Mosconi shouting orders, "Tex, get a squad and clear the tree line. Everybody stay away from the bodies until the engineers get here to defuse the charges." He pushed his helmet back and pulled a cigar from his pocket. "Jezus!"
Tex motioned to me to climb down and we walked through the gate to the fringe of the carnage. Some unfortunates were still alive, crying out in anguish. One mama-sanattempted to crawl back to the tree line, but it was hard going dragging a leg half-ripped off and held only by a few sinewy tendons. Red blotches stained the clothes the dead. The smell of released bowels filled the air. And blowflies buzzed, well ahead of putrefaction. Meat in Nam was scarce.
The engineers arrived to disarm the explosives strapped to the womenís backs and corpsmen made their appearance to tend to the wounded. As I watched, one baby-san at my feet cried hysterically. I desperately fought the urge to pick him up and comfort him.
No man! The ****erís probably booby-trapped.
His wailing grew louder.
Help him. . . . If not, ****iní kill him. . . . Just shut him the **** up!
I turned away, trying not to hear. Or see. Or feel.
"Chicago! Chicago?" When I failed to acknowledge him, Tex grabbed my shoulder and spun me around. "You and Davidson stay here and pull security. You hear me?"
He took the rest of the squad and headed for the trees to mop-up, to see if any gooks were dumb enough to stick around. I walked over by Davidson who just stood there, his old recalcitrant self, stariní into nowhere. "Hey man," I said to him, "can you believe this ****?"
He spoke in an vehement whisper, "This is why I want nothiní to do with your white manís war."
"**** man, they attacked me. What the **** was I supposed to do?"
He looked at me once, his expression unreadable, then returned to his gaze.
So I turned my attention to a corpsman working on an infant whose arm was amputated above the elbow. The kid was bawling and yelling something in gook. "Hey Doc? Whatís he saying?"
"He wants his momma and his arm," the corpsman replied without looking up, busy at applying a tourniquet.
"Tell him I think his mommaís gone. But Iíd be happy to look for his arm."
The corpsman glanced at me in disgust.
"**** you! And **** him!" I shouted.
The kid turned his head at the sound of my voice, his eyes pouring tears of pain, his face maniacal with fear. I tried with all my being to hold his look, but couldnít.
"Whadda ya want from me . . . ****er?"
I turned away and focused on the dead. They didnít demand anything.
|December 2nd, 2006||#5|
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Terry, I do believe buried within the forum is a thread which I started to share writings and other artistic creations- while this is excellent prose, may I suggest we use an umbrella thread?
That aside, like I said- the prose is wonderful. It (to me, I am no veteran) accurately depicts the confusion and inevitable little breakdowns on a battlefield. I could do well by taking a few pages out of your book (figuratively speaking, of course).
|December 4th, 2006||#8|
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Terry, I have a question about the title. I've heard of the phrase "365 and wake up." Did you spend 395 days in country instead of 365? I thought a tour was only one year. Was it different for Marines?