By Marc C. Waszkiewicz
A) FORWARD: COWBOYS AND INDIANS Marc’s childhood on Okinawa playing war; WWII bunkers and tunnel networks explored.
1) SEMPER FIDELIS: Boot camp; transition from kid-next-door to well prepared fighting machine; relationship with Elayna.
2) UP AND OVER: Further training and preparations to ship out; Viet Nam looms larger than ever; Elayna betrays Marc; engaged to Paulette.
3) UP, UP, AND AWAY: Flight to Viet Nam; Okinawa layover; remembering childhood days spent nearby; Mom’s fears.
4) TO THE SHORES OF TRIPOLI: Arrival in Da Nang; first impressions; distant gunfire; questions; fears.
5) THE SANDBOX: First duty station; loneliness; the new guy; daily routines.
6) IF DAD COULD ONLY SEE ME NOW: Surprise visit by Marc’s father; they share a foxhole during mortar attack.
7) ‘TIS THE SEASON: Christmas; Bob Hope USO Show; Marc assigned a five ton truck; alleged Christmas cease fire explained.
8) RUN THE GAUNTLET: Convoy to Phu Bai; Marc’s truck is casualty; takes a wrong fork in the road.
9) JUST A-LOOKIN’ FOR A HOME: In search of a permanent location for battalion headquarters; Phu Bai described; Marc’s wrecked truck retrieved; horror of rocket attacks; prelude to Tet Offensive of 1968.
10) WHO TURNED UP THE HEAT: Tet ’68; Marc leads six man team in defending mountain top observation post; wounded; Marc’s first enemy kill; nighttime flares; air strikes.
11) WAVE YOUR MAGIC WAND: R&R to Hawaii; Marc sneaks home to California; pays folks a surprise visit; strengthens relationship with Paulette.
12) AT THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT: Return to Viet Nam; unit moves to Cau Doi; Marc becomes a Corporal; “Dear John” from Paulette; decides to extend six months in Viet Nam; asks for field assignment.
13) ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Convoy to An Hoa; retraces old convoy route without incident; party in Da Nang.
14) BE IT EVER SO HUMBLE: Set up operations at An Hoa; cow pasture, flies, and 120 degree heat; massive build up of troops; Marc becomes hardened and feels estranged from “the world.”
15) SKIVVY RUN: During a typhoon while in Da Nang, Marc and a friend visit house of prostitution; sneak back in.
16) THE REAL THING: Marc joins infantry unit Fox 2/5; describes the “grunts.”
17) THE PARTY’S OVER: Reality hits Marc when village is destroyed and burned in retaliation; devastation and suffering; relocation of civilian survivors.
18) REAL MARINES DON’T EAT QUICHE: Life in the bush; C-rations described; Marc’s diary begins.
19) WE’VE GOT ‘EM RIGHT WHERE WE WANT ‘EM: Bungled assault on Hill 42; frustrated marine kicks booby-trapped can, wounding many.
20) GET SOME: Sept. 29th, 1968; Marc’s first encounter with face-to-face fighting; witness’s heroism; fellow Marine dies in his arms; bereavement and questions; nighttime med-evac.
21) BLAME IT ON THE WRIGHT BROTHERS: Terrifying first ‘chopper ride; volunteer “killer team”; party with friends in An Hoa.
22) PEAKS AND VALLEYS: Rejoin Fox in mountains; heavy jungle and well-worn trails; terrain peaks and valleys paralleled to emotional ones.
23) COME OUT, COME OUT, WHEREVER YOU ARE: Looking for Charlie; troops hear whispering and rifle safeties clicked off but no sign of enemy; tension; practical jokes; Marine “jumped” by rock ape on night ambush.
24) BUSINESS AS USUAL: Marc becoming hardened; resupply choppers; calling in artillery; villagers; humping; Marc’s pen pal girl friend; life in the field described.
25) IN THE REAR WITH THE GEAR: Delta battery and partying with gun crews; monsoon season; Marc’s 20th birthday; Beatles’ “rubber Soul” album.
26) WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS: Flood conditions; patrolling in the rain; trench foot wipes out much of unit.
27) CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: helicopter assault on enemy bunker complex; artillery and air strikes; alone on trail in enemy territory; enemy rifle war souvenir; badly wounded enemy soldiers; volunteer “killer team.”
28) ALL IN A DAY’S WORK: More about grunt’s; hear radio report of sister company’s accidental napalming; swim in bomb crater.
29) HUMPIN’ THE BOONIES: Forced March against impossible timetable; two exhausted men set off fatal booby trap; more booby traps and wounded; company shapes up and marches smartly into An Hoa.
30) FULL FORCE (part 1): Operation Meade River; whole division rapidly helo-lifted into position; Marc befriends local youth.
31) FULL FORCE (part 2): Unit moves out; sporadic fighting; digging up graves, looking for weapons but dead baby found instead; bizarre acts are commonplace; Marc, clothed in two leaves, repeatedly challenges enemy to individual combat; singled out by sniper because of “joke” photograph on helmet.
32) DI DI MAU: Thirty days home-leave reward for extending; China Beach; familiar faces in Da Nang; Okinawa; san Francisco.
33) STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND: culture alienation; Marc feels different from everyone else; girl-crazy; partying.
34) THE DOUGHNUT DOLLIE: Horseback riding with Cecile; desperate love.
35) COFFEE BREAK’S OVER: Back to “Nam; goodbye to girls and family; Mom and Dad worried; affair with stewardess aboard return flight.
36) SAME OLD GRIND: Return to Fox 2/5; catches up; meets old friend from California in foxhole; shortly, Marc packs him onto med-evac chopper.
37) ONE HELL OF A PARTY: R &R in Bangkok; war forgotten and pleasures indulged.
38) SERGEANT SKI: Echo 2/5; new company with his own forward observer team; Marc becomes a Sergeant; grunts and fighting; Marc getting good at war.
39) CHARLIE’S IN THE WIRE: Suicide attack against battery launched while Marc in rear; he singlehandedly rescues eight men; wounded, left for dead.
40) FOR GOD AND COUNTRY: Threatened amputation; Marc questions the war; calls folks from hospital in Japan.
41) THE HOMECOMING (part 1): Six months in hospital plus 30 days convalescent leave; no gallant celebration.
42) THE HOMECOMING (part 2); Marries Patti; Marc’s not “right”; friends and family alienated; depression.
43) WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE: Divorce; dropping out; traveling; numerous affairs; many jobs; adjustment problems.
44) IT WAS TWENTY YEARS AGO TODAY: Post traumatic stress disorder (P.T.S.D.) diagnosed and explained; progress; hope.
45) The RAP-UP: Looking back over my life and how I feel about the journey, especially the part the marines and the war played in it.
In a series of brief appendices, current veteran’s issues are explored with the two-fold purpose of 1) showing the reader how the war experience continues to affect many veterans and, 2) providing explanations and answers for many veterans’ and their families.
P.T.S.D. counseling/ rap groups/ in-patient P.T.S.D. treatment/ Native American Indian healing practices for warriors/ Christian programs for vets and their families/ V.A. disability claims and service officers/ vet organizations/ and much more…..