Excerpt From Book
I was still struggling to wake up when a mortar round exploded not 20 feet from me, rocking the ground in the machine gun emplacement next to mine. I knew full well a machine gun was there because I had linked up with a squad leader from Bravo Company the night before. We had established our gun emplacements side by side to provide enfilade fire down the backside of two rice paddy dikes that went out at angles from a point right between the foxholes. Doing that, we figured, would eliminate the possibility that the enemy could use the backside of either of those two dikes for cover.
When that mortar round hit Bravo Company’s foxhole, the screams and moans of the men at that position were instantaneous. I was suddenly awake—wide awake. My first thought was, the man on guard at our position must have been hit by shrapnel from that round because the roar of our gun had ceased abruptly when it hit. Not a sound was coming from our position, nothing but the sound of silence—dead silence. It was as though that silence had completely cut off the maelstrom on the other side of the perimeter.
Then I heard the soldiers in the foxhole to the right of mine start yelling, “They’re coming in! They’re coming in!” Once I knew a ground attack was beginning on our side of the perimeter, I yelled at the soldier manning our gun to determine whether or not he was still alive. There was no response. I screamed at him. There was still no response. So I figured he had to be either dead or badly wounded. But I also knew that, no matter what had happened to that soldier, somebody had to man the gun. So I rolled over immediately and slithered up to the foxhole on my belly, expecting the worst.
The soldier manning the gun was hunkered down in the bottom of the foxhole. I ordered him back to the gun; didn’t he know the ground attack was on? That’s when he finally spoke. He told me it was clear the enemy had watched us dig in and had targeted every machine gun emplacement by “dry firing” before dark. He was hoping they would think the last explosion had taken out our gun position if he just stopped firing. But he was scrunched up tight in a ball in the corner of the foxhole expecting a mortar round to hit at any second.
The NVA mortar-men on the hills must have either believed his ruse, or they ran out of rounds, or they pulled off the mortars to allow the ground attack to come in on our side of the perimeter, because the mortar fire ended with that last round, and the hellish bombardment was finally over.
I have a hunch the rain of mortar rounds ended at the foxhole next to mine so the Lord could show me He was not only protecting me, He was also protecting those around me.
Larry Dee Harper, God Called; I Answered, pp. 144–145
|Author||Larry Dee Harper|
|Publisher||The Elijah Project|
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