When rain lashes Con Thien, mud and mist enfold
the Marines in a grip from which there is no escape, it will
be like this or worse until next spring when the monsoones end.
Almost all air support stops. Only lonely choppers hedgehop
over the bleak misery of the front to bring in emergency supplies
and evacuate the wounded. Yet it is better when skies turn foul;
the enemy's guns flood out, his ammo bogs down along the supply
trails, and best of all, his prowling forward observers sit
blinded out in the DMZ moonscape.
Somehow, the mud-smeared, often bandaged Marines
on that forlorn hill seem at home, oblivious to water and wounds,
even ready to laugh. Perhaps their world within our world is enough
unto itself. during the month that the Third Battalion, Ninth
Marines held their position at con Thien, 27 men died in action;
another 577 were wounded. Yet, of the wounded, only 73 were evacuated
from vietnam. The other 504 Marines went back to war-their way