Author: Shiloh


Hal was in my class in high school.
He was two years younger than the rest of the class,
but he was smart! That's why he was in our class.
I went into the Army, and Hal went to college.
Then I went to Vietnam,
and Hal discovered raising hell in college
and lost his deferment,-
And Hal got drafted.
Hal was just 18 when he got drafted.
Our unit was down a lot of numbers,
and we were getting newbies in to fill the holes.
Hal came in as a newbie.
The first shirt, seeing that Hal was from my hometown,
Thought it would be neat to put Hal in my squad.
Hal was not infantry material.
Hal was not Army material.
Hal was smart, but
he was not able to relate to being a grunt.
He was the kind of guy
who would have been a CPA,
an accouting executive,
or anything to do with finance or business planning
or high-end office stuff, with board meetings
and big decisions and things like that.
But Hal was a PFC, and he was in my squad.
I tried like hell to get him OUT of Vietnam -
he would have been okay in Hawaii, or anywhere else -
he could have gone to finance school, clerk school, anything else.
But his MOS was 111.10,
and he was in my squad.
He was in my squad for about two months,
and he had been outside the wire maybe three times,
as I tried my damnedest to keep him out of the bush.
Came a time when I no longer could do that,
and Hal saddled up with the rest of us.
I put him with three others who knew the road,
who were capable and who appreciated that Hal was not really a grunt,
and they were helping keeping him straight, teaching him....
then the shit hit the fan, and Hal was down.
Others were, too, but not as bad.
Hal's intestines were all over his legs and the dirt,
and they were drying out.
Intestines start to grey out as they dry.
Medevac was on the way, but a ways out,
as were the birds that come in with it for support,
and we had to keep his intestines wet, or he would die.
Laying there, awake, knowing what was happening,
he would just die.
I opened my canteen, and slowly poured it over his intestines,
while one of the guys helped bring his intestines
into a poncho liner and up into his lap.
Intestines are slippery as hell.
I opened another canteen. Had to keep my third for myself.
Asked the other guys to please take one of their canteens,
if they had it to spare, and slowly pour them,
one at a time, over his intestines.
We had to keep them wet.
I didn't know much, but I did know that.
The choppers were still out there, still a long way out.
We were out of water that we could spare.
I stood up, unzipped my fly, and said,
"{Sure hope you guys gotta piss,"
and I proceeded to pee on Hal's intestines.
One of the guys said that it would cause infections,
and I told him that infections can be cured,
but dead intestines could not.
One by one I had anyone who could do it, pee on Hal's intestines.
So far we were keeping them wet.
Just as the choppers were coming in over the trees and we popped smoke,
we ran out of pee, grabbed the poncho we had Hal laying on,
another two guys on either side holding the poncho liner holding his guts,
and we ran him to the chopper and put him on it -
NO medic on board! Shit!! Double shit!
They backed and banked and were outbound in a few seconds,
and we went back to the war.
Never did find out what happened after that, but one of the guys told me
he could not find a pulse in Hal's neck.
Hal's name isn't on The Wall, unless it is the one that is misspelled,
and the history of that name shows it has a different home town,
but that could have been because Hal listed a different town when he went in,
or that he had been drafted in a different town or any kind of screw-up.
Like the screw-up that sent him to Vietnam,
and then to the 9th Division,
and then to my squad.
Yeah, there were a lot of things done wrong in Vietnam.
One of them was taking an 18 year old kid
and trying to make him into an infantryman.
Some things just never work out.


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