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Constricted:Tightened.Perimeter:Outer edge oftheir position.Shrapnel:Shell fragmentsfrom an explosive weapon.Fire-team:Squad of combatsoldiers.Ambush-detonated:Explosion that is triggered bya nearby ambusher.Corpsman:Soldier trained ingiving medical treatment.Dress:Bandage.Paddy:Rice field.
face had been so peppered with shrapnelthat I hardly recognized him. Except forhis eyes. The fragments had somehowmissed his eyes. He was unconscious andhis eyes were half closed; two white slits ina mass of raspberry red. Sanchez lookedas if he had been clawed by some invisiblebeast. . . .I slid down the embankment andsplashed over to where the corpsman,Doc Kaiser, was working to save CorporalRodella. There were gauze and com-pressesall over his chest and abdomen.One dressing, covering the hole theshrapnel had torn in one of his lungs, wassoaked in blood. With each breath hetook, pink bubbles of blood formed andburst around the hole. . . . I tried talkingto him, but he could not say anythingbecause his windpipe would fill withblood. Rodella, who had been twicewounded before, was now in danger ofdrowning in his own blood. It was his eyesthat troubled me most. They were thehurt, dumb eyes of a child who has beenseverely beaten and does not know why. Itwas his eyes and his silence and thefoamy blood and the gurgling, wheezingsound in his chest that aroused in me asorrow so deep and a rage so strong thatI could not distinguish the one emotionfrom the other.I helped the corpsman carry Rodella tothe landing zone.His comrades werearound him, but he was alone. We could see the look of separation inhis eyes. He was alone in the world of the badly wounded, isolated bya pain none could share with him and by the terror of the darknessthat was threatening to envelophim. Then we got the last one, Corporal Greeley, a machine-gunnerwhose left arm was hanging by a few strands of muscle; all the restwas a scarlet mush. . . . Carrying him, I felt my own anger, a very cold,160Vietnam War: Primary SourcesCompresses:A soft bandagethat is used to controlbleeding.Landing zone:An area thatcan be used by aircraft toland and take off.Envelop:Cover or bury.A Helicopter Pilot Talksabout EvacuatingWounded SoldiersIn 1966 Glenn Munsonpublished a collection of letters writtenby American soldiers who served inVietnam. This book, Letters from Vietnam,included the following letter written byairman Glen Kemak to his family:It’s no fun carrying 50 or 60 guyswho are laid out on a stretcher moaningand crying and bleeding all over theplace. It’s a good thing that I am nothome now, after all the bad stuff thatI’ve seen over here. If anyone everstarted talking about our position inVietnam, and burning their draft cards,and all these protest marches—I swear Iwould kill him.