hcholbert Howard C Holbert

A captivating Story of Green Beret soldiers and the US Army first Cav in the Vietnam conflict


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Shadow Soldiers

The pungent aroma

Lily


chapter 1: "Shadow Soldiers"

The pungent aroma of tobacco lingered in the air as Jerry took a long drag from his cigarette. He leaned against the corrugated metal wall of the bunker, eyes half-open as he observed the steam rising faintly from the jungle canopy. Dawn in Vietnam arrived unceremoniously, the creatures of the night slinking back into the undergrowth as the morning chorus of birds and insects took over.

Jerry flicked the spent cigarette butt out into the damp undergrowth and turned to see his friend Bob emerging from the barracks, stifling a yawn. Bob gave a lazy salute.

“How’s it hanging, brother?”

Jerry grinned. “Lower than a VC tunnel. You ready for another glorious day in paradise?”

Bob scowled as he lit his own cigarette. “If you call this paradise, I’d hate to see what you call hell.”

The two sergeants shared a dry chuckle, a brief moment of levity before their work began. As members of the elite Green Berets, they were no strangers to hardship and danger. Their days were filled with hazardous reconnaissance missions, tense jungle patrols, and sudden ambushes that erupted without warning. It was a far cry from their past lives back in America - Bob had left behind a wife and newborn daughter in Ohio, while Jerry dreamed of returning to college and his middle-class roots in Wisconsin.

Out here in the humid jungles of Vietnam, comforts like family and education seemed a lifetime away. But the bonds forged between the men of the Green Berets were unbreakable. Jerry knew Bob had his back, and vice versa.

The early morning peace was shattered by the roar of helicopter blades, heralding the arrival of the 1st Cavalry Division’s command helicopter. It circled the camp once before touching down in the clearing.

“Right on schedule,” Bob grunted. “Time to see what old Westy has cooked up for us today.”

The two sergeants made their way over to the landing zone as the rotors wound down. The door of the chopper slid open and out stepped Major General William Westmoreland, the commanding officer of Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV). His crisp uniform and stern demeanor exuded authority.

“Morning, sir,” Jerry said, throwing up a sharp salute.

“At ease, men,” Westmoreland replied. His piercing blue eyes scanned the camp. “The rest of your team ready for today’s briefing?”

“Just waiting on Oscar and Jim, sir. They’re gearing up now.”

Westmoreland gave a short nod. Though a commanding presence, he trusted Jerry’s team with his life. As he made for the briefing room, the remaining two members of Jerry’s unit emerged from the barracks, rifles slung over their shoulders.

“Briefing?” Oscar asked, falling into step beside them. He was a tall, lean soldier from California with a laconic sense of humor.

“Yup, let’s see what Westy has in store for us,” Jerry confirmed.

The four men, bound by trust and camaraderie, followed Westmoreland into the briefing room. As they entered, Westmoreland was unfurling a large topographical map of the surrounding province.

“Morning, Green Berets,” he greeted them. His voice was gravelly, weathered by years of barking orders. “Today’s mission is a reconnaissance patrol north of our position, into an area suspected to harbor Vietcong fighters.”

He gestured to a swath of dense jungle marked on the map.

“Intel suggests increased VC activity in this sector. We need boots on the ground to assess their numbers and movements. The Air Cav will insert you at this LZ and provide air support if needed.”

Jerry studied the map. The terrain would be thick – tough to navigate but also effective cover. His men were used to such conditions. Oscar craned his neck to glimpse the map.

“Looks pretty hairy down there, sir. What resistance are we expecting?”

Westmoreland's expression was grim. “With the VC, you can never be sure. But stay sharp and you’ll give them hell.”

The general folded up the map and handed it to Jerry.

“Insert at 1100 hours. Radio for extraction at your discretion. Any questions?”

The four men shook their heads resolutely. They knew the drill.

Westmoreland clapped a hand on Jerry’s shoulder. “Outstanding. Keep your heads on a swivel and stick together. Good luck, Green Berets.”

The four soldiers strode from the briefing room with muted excitement. Another day, another mission into the deadly crucible of Vietnam. As they stepped back into the bright morning sun, Jerry glanced at his watch.

“Saddle up, gentlemen. We’ve got thirty mikes till showtime.”

H

Novelette - 15.000 words

Novelette - 15.000 words

12

Lily

Among Reeds and Rice

OUTLINE #1

Chapter 1: "Shadow Soldiers" In this initial chapter, readers are introduced to the daring lives of Green Beret soldiers Jerry, Bob, Oscar, and Jim. Thrust into the turmoil of South Vietnam, they integrate into their new surroundings while trying to learn the ropes of their dangerous new deployment. The Air Cavalry makes its first appearance, setting the stage for their pivotal role in the battle sequences to come.

Chapter 2: "Brothers in Battle" The second chapter deepens the camaraderie among the Green Berets. Shared stories from their former lives show that they all come from middle-class backgrounds. Bonds of brotherhood are forged in combat, turning these regular men into a relentless fighting force.

Chapter 3: "Jungle's Jaws" As the soldiers begin a dangerous patrol into the dense South Vietnamese jungle, they face their first intense firefight. The raw realities of war and survival start to sink in as they fight the Vietnamese regular troops and communist forces.

Chapter 4: "Whispering Bullets" General Westmoreland assumes a prominent role in this chapter, instilling a sense of determination and churn power in the beleaguered soldiers. Meanwhile, the soldiers encounter their internal battles, wrestling with the dehumanizing and terrifying aspects of war.

Chapter 5: "Fire in the Sky"
This chapter sees the Air Cavalry undertaking daring rescue missions in the suicidal odds. Their risky but crucial aerial duties are highlighted, from airstrikes to timely evacuations that save many lives on the ground.

Chapter 6: "Among Reeds and Rice" Entering the local villages for the first time, the soldiers grasp the cultural differences, complexities, and convictions that inflame this war, stirring both empathy and ambiguity towards their role in this foreign land. They carry out useful reconnaissance experience but also face the horrifying punji trap sticks for the first time.

Chapter 7: "Smoke and Mirrors" This seventh chapter delves deeper into the toll war is taking on the soldiers' psyches. The chapters conclude with a plot twist that sees them questioning their loyalties, pride, and their own humanity, sparking a sense of suspense for the story's future trajectory. Revelations about an embedded spy within their ranks create a tense cliff-hanger.

OUTLINE #2

Chapter 8: "Fraying Edges" The revelation of the spy sends shockwaves through the ranks. The soldiers contend with feelings of betrayal among their squad. Amidst the tumult, Jerry and Bob question their motivations for enlisting while resisting the urge to succumb to their inner anxieties.

Chapter 9: "Flight of the Firebase" An attack on their firebase leaves the soldiers in a desperate fight for survival. With their brothers in arms succumbing to the enemy bullets, Bob, Jim, and Oscar ensure no man is left behind, cementing their brotherhood amidst the chaos.

Chapter 10: "Tales Told in Shadows" The soldiers interact with the local Vietnamese population, offering a deeper understanding of the war-torn region. This chapter reveals the beautiful and tragic stories of the villagers, highlighting the extensive impact of the war on the civilian population.

Chapter 11: "Fields of Forgiveness" Following a devastating loss, the soldiers find themselves in a humanitarian mission, aiding the injured Vietnamese villagers. An unexpected encounter with a ruthless Viet Cong informant leads to a dramatic confrontation with deep-seated ethics and personal redemption.

Chapter 12: "Against the Current" The tide of the war begins to change, and the soldiers find themselves at the heart of an iconic battle. They rely on the Air Cavalry's support in an adrenaline-fueled maneuver that becomes a pivotal turning point in the conflict.

Chapter 13: "Armor of Ash" The soldiers grapple with the destructive aftermath of their actions on the battlefield. Jerry and Jim recount their battles with haunting flashbacks, showcasing the psychological toll of war.

Chapter 14: "Ghosts of War" In the climax, the Green Berets launch an operation to capture top-level Viet Cong officers, wrestling not only with the enemy but their own moral ambiguities. The mission set against a treacherous backdrop of unforgiving jungles and menacing punji sticks tests the fortitude and brotherhood of the soldiers.

Chapter 15: "Homeward Bound" The soldiers say goodbye to the Vietnamese jungle, forever scarred by the loss, friendship, and growth experienced amidst the backdrop of war. As they head home, the reader is given a profound glimpse of the resilience of survivorship and the enduring human spirit, bringing the narrative to a poignant close, laden with bittersweet lessons of war.

ILLUSTRATION

CHAPTER 1

Here is a 1183 word draft of Chapter 1:

The pungent aroma of tobacco lingered in the air as Jerry took a long drag from his cigarette. He leaned against the corrugated metal wall of the bunker, eyes half-open as he observed the steam rising faintly from the jungle canopy. Dawn in Vietnam arrived unceremoniously, the creatures of the night slinking back into the undergrowth as the morning chorus of birds and insects took over.

Jerry flicked the spent cigarette butt out into the damp undergrowth and turned to see his friend Bob emerging from the barracks, stifling a yawn. Bob gave a lazy salute.

“How’s it hanging, brother?”

Jerry grinned. “Lower than a VC tunnel. You ready for another glorious day in paradise?”

Bob scowled as he lit his own cigarette. “If you call this paradise, I’d hate to see what you call hell.”

The two sergeants shared a dry chuckle, a brief moment of levity before their work began. As members of the elite Green Berets, they were no strangers to hardship and danger. Their days were filled with hazardous reconnaissance missions, tense jungle patrols, and sudden ambushes that erupted without warning. It was a far cry from their past lives back in America - Bob had left behind a wife and newborn daughter in Ohio, while Jerry dreamed of returning to college and his middle-class roots in Wisconsin.

Out here in the humid jungles of Vietnam, comforts like family and education seemed a lifetime away. But the bonds forged between the men of the Green Berets were unbreakable. Jerry knew Bob had his back, and vice versa.

The early morning peace was shattered by the roar of helicopter blades, heralding the arrival of the 1st Cavalry Division’s command helicopter. It circled the camp once before touching down in the clearing.

“Right on schedule,” Bob grunted. “Time to see what old Westy has cooked up for us today.”

The two sergeants made their way over to the landing zone as the rotors wound down. The door of the chopper slid open and out stepped Major General William Westmoreland, the commanding officer of Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV). His crisp uniform and stern demeanor exuded authority.

“Morning, sir,” Jerry said, throwing up a sharp salute.

“At ease, men,” Westmoreland replied. His piercing blue eyes scanned the camp. “The rest of your team ready for today’s briefing?”

“Just waiting on Oscar and Jim, sir. They’re gearing up now.”

Westmoreland gave a short nod. Though a commanding presence, he trusted Jerry’s team with his life. As he made for the briefing room, the remaining two members of Jerry’s unit emerged from the barracks, rifles slung over their shoulders.

“Briefing?” Oscar asked, falling into step beside them. He was a tall, lean soldier from California with a laconic sense of humor.

“Yup, let’s see what Westy has in store for us,” Jerry confirmed.

The four men, bound by trust and camaraderie, followed Westmoreland into the briefing room. As they entered, Westmoreland was unfurling a large topographical map of the surrounding province.

“Morning, Green Berets,” he greeted them. His voice was gravelly, weathered by years of barking orders. “Today’s mission is a reconnaissance patrol north of our position, into an area suspected to harbor Vietcong fighters.”

He gestured to a swath of dense jungle marked on the map.

“Intel suggests increased VC activity in this sector. We need boots on the ground to assess their numbers and movements. The Air Cav will insert you at this LZ and provide air support if needed.”

Jerry studied the map. The terrain would be thick – tough to navigate but also effective cover. His men were used to such conditions. Oscar craned his neck to glimpse the map.

“Looks pretty hairy down there, sir. What resistance are we expecting?”

Westmoreland's expression was grim. “With the VC, you can never be sure. But stay sharp and you’ll give them hell.”

The general folded up the map and handed it to Jerry.

“Insert at 1100 hours. Radio for extraction at your discretion. Any questions?”

The four men shook their heads resolutely. They knew the drill.

Westmoreland clapped a hand on Jerry’s shoulder. “Outstanding. Keep your heads on a swivel and stick together. Good luck, Green Berets.”

The four soldiers strode from the briefing room with muted excitement. Another day, another mission into the deadly crucible of Vietnam. As they stepped back into the bright morning sun, Jerry glanced at his watch.

“Saddle up, gentlemen. We’ve got thirty mikes till showtime.”

2023년 10월 5일 7:07 오후 1 신고하기 삽입됨 스토리 팔로우하기
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