Sunday, April 4, 2010

4 April 1970

4 April 1970

I’m in the bush again.  We came out yesterday.

Today has been, perhaps, one of the most enlightening days of my entire life.

We had a squad out on patrol this morning and they found three North Vietnamese soldiers sleeping in a hooch and took them prisoner.  They had uniforms, weapons, packs, first aid equipment, hand grenades, and other equipment.  There is no doubt they were from the north.

The POWs were brought back to the company CP, where a LT we have with us interrogated them.  He found out they were from Hanoi.  One was a sergeant  and the other two privates.  One of them had three pictures.  One picture of him, one with his wife and child, and a picture of, he said, his sister.

The POWs were tied by the neck to a long pole, and their hands were tied behind their backs.  They were, needless to say, very uncomfortable.  None of the Marines cared, though.  Instead they called them dirty names and threatened to shoot them if they didn’t talk, etc, etc.  All this pissed me off!!  I gave the POWs cigarettes (which I lit and put in their mouths) and the company commander made a wise crack about that.  He later said he thought I was in love with them.

Then one of the prisoners complained that his arms hurt, so I loosened his bonds and massaged his wrists.  Another Marine followed suit and helped do the same for the other two.

We had the prisoners here about two hours before a helicopter finally came to get them.  In all that time, only four to six people showed any compassion at all for these people.   One guy gave them some water and another one gave them some food.  After eating and drinking, two of the prisoners had to urinate and the third had to “pass his bowels”, so I took the initiative to untie one of them so he could urinate, them some other Marines helped the other two.

It’s a very sad thing that the majority of the Marines felt nothing but contempt for the prisoners.  I’m not bragging a bit to say that I was the first to show any compassion for them.  Fortunately I’m the senior man here, so no one said anything about it or tried to stop me.  I was so disgusted at my fellow Americans, lovers of peace and freedom I could vomit.  One Marine who was guarding them said he hoped they tried to run so he could kill them!!!!

These three men were asked why they came to the south to fight and one said “he didn’t want to come, they made him.”  How many of these Marines say the same thing about why they are here?  Nearly everyone of them!  Yet they hate these poor prisoners, tied up, scared stiff, uncomfortable, and definitely not dangerous anymore.

Although these prisoners probably would kill me if they had the chance, I still felt sorry for them.  When the helicopter finally arrived, I blind folded them (I really don’t know why, it just seemed the thing to do) and helped load them on the chopper.  I could tell they were scared because they didn’t know what we were about to do with them.  They’ll be taken back to Baldy and interrogated more, then put in a POW camp.

I took a couple of pictures and I’m anxious to get them developed.

We left Baldy yesterday afternoon about 1645 and walked out about two miles south of Baldy.  Our mission is to provide a react force against the enemy if Baldy is rocketed during the night.  Last night passed uneventfully.  However it did rain during the night which was very uncomfortable!

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