The Things We Carried
We carried P-38 can openers and heat tabs,
watches and dog tags, insect repellent, gum,
cigarettes, Zippo lighters, salt tablets,
bandages, ponchos, Kool-Aid, two or three
canteens of water, iodine
tablets, sterno, LRRP- rations, and C-rations
stuffed in our socks.
We carried standard fatigues, jungle boots,
bush hats, flak jackets and steel pots. Upon
arrival in Nam, we immediately had to turn in
our greenbacks which were replaced with
monopoly money, MPC and piasters. Some of
us hid a few greenbacks just so we could feel
We carried the M-16 assault rifle.
We carried trip flares and Claymore mines,
M-60 machine-guns, the M-79 grenade
launcher, M-14's, CAR-15's, Stoners, Swedish
K's, 66mm Laws, shotguns, .45 caliber pistols,
silencers, the sound of bullets, rockets, and
choppers, and sometimes the sound of silence.
We carried C-4 plastic explosives, an
assortment of hand grenades, PRC-25
radios, knives and machetes. Some carried
napalm, CBU's and large bombs;
some risked their lives to rescue others.
Some escaped the fear, but dealt with the
death and damage. Some made very hard
decisions, and some just tried to survive.
We carried malaria, dysentery, ringworm's and
leaches. We carried the land itself as it
hardened on our boots. We carried stationery,
pictures of our loved ones - real and imagined.
We carried love for people in the real world
and love for one another. And sometimes we
disguised that love,"Don't mean nothin!"
We carried memories for the most part, we
carried themselves with poise
and a kind of dignity.
Now and then, there were times when panic
set in, and some squealed, or wanted to, but
couldn't when we twitched and made moaning
sounds and covered our heads and said,"Dear
God." We hugged the earth and fired our
weapons blindly and cringed and begged for
the noise to stop and we would make stupid
promises to GOD, to ourselves, to our
parents, to our wives, to our children, to our
relatives and to our friends hoping and praying
not to die.
We carried the traditions of the United States
Army, with the memories and images of those
who served before us.
We carried grief, terror, longing and our
reputations. We carried the trooper's greatest
fear: the embarrassment of dishonor.
We crawled into tunnels, walked point, and
advanced under fire, so as not to die of
embarrassment. We were afraid of dying, but
too afraid to show it.
We carried the emotional baggage of men and
women who might die at any moment.
We Carried the Weight of the
World and . . . . . .
We Carried Each Other!