Blood Trails: The Combat Diary of a Foot Soldier in Vietnam

BAPTISM through FIRE

Chris Ronnau volunteered for the military and was once despatched to Vietnam in January 1967, armed with an M-14 rifle and American exhibit traveler’s assessments. however the latter quickly proved relatively unnecessary because the deepest top notch stumbled on himself within the thick of 2 pivotal, fiercely fought massive purple One operations, going head-to-head opposed to crack Viet cong and NVA troops within the infamous Iron Triangle and alongside the treacherous Cambodian border close to Tay Ninh.

Patrols, ambushes, plunging down VC tunnels, seek and spoil missions–there have been some ways to force the enemy from his personal yard, as Ronnau speedy came upon. in line with the magazine Ronnau stored in Vietnam, Blood Trails captures the hellish jungle struggle in all its stark life-and-death immediacy. This wrenching chronicle is additionally stirring testimony to the quiet braveness of these unsung American heroes, many no longer but twenty-one, who had a task to do and did it with no complaint–fighting, sacrificing, and death for his or her nation.

Includes 16 pages of infrequent and never-before-seen wrestle images

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The adults missed us, which i discovered disconcerting. They didn’t appear to realize us as infantrymen who had come to aid shield their kingdom and have been risking our lives to take action. They didn’t wave or smile or perhaps search for quite often. They appeared apathetic and unconcerned. This struck me as ominous. the children have been a distinct tale and plenty of enjoyable. They ran to the roadside shouting “chop-chop. ” That was once their manner of requesting nutrients. We threw them cans of C rations, which they wrestled for like humans at a baseball (generic term) going after a nasty ball. The craziest a part of the journey got here each time we handed a grammar university. we'd fireplace a dozen or so cans of nutrition into the playground. the whole institution, 1000's of kids, may then instantly emerge, screaming on the most sensible in their lungs, working in all instructions to get on the cans. The skirmishes that ensued have been hysterical to monitor. the youngsters have been via red-faced academics, steam popping out in their ears as they yelled, waved their fingers, and attempted to revive order. buying and selling foodstuff for laughs like this wasn’t quite common, although. so much of our undesirable meals was once given away you will at a time to members we encountered on farms or footpaths. i used to be touched by means of what percentage men within the platoon, rather than throwing away an undesirable can of white bread or beans, might lug it round for 2 or 3 weeks simply to provide it to the subsequent emaciated outdated girl who basically wanted the energy. document Baldwin was once regularly accumulating discarded Cs for this objective. occasionally he had dozens of cans inside of empty sandbags putting from his backpack. One cause that a few rations weren’t eaten was once the restricted kind. there have been purely a couple of half-dozen varied major classes: ham and eggs, red meat slices with gravy, pork slices with gravy, beans and franks, beans and meatballs, and—my own favorite—ham with lima beans. Out within the box you ended up consuming every one 3 to 4 occasions per week. It obtained repetitious. so much GIs had a few food that they only couldn’t abdominal anymore and could not devour less than such a lot conditions. loads of men had taken to doctoring their foodstuff with Tabasco sauce or different nonperishable condiments and spices from domestic. At mealtime on so much days, i used to be so hungry that i may consume the ass off a mule. This used to be very true if issues have been nerve-racking and that i had overlooked a meal or . Ham and lima beans had extra grease than the opposite entrees, that is why I loved them. there have been extra energy in keeping with can during this stuff than anything. more often than not it wasn’t attainable to forestall or to cook dinner the meal and the grease remained congealed in a layer on best. now not eager to discard the energy, I stirred the grease into the ham and beans under and gobbled the whole lot down chilly. along with the most classes, there have been facet dishes within each one field of C rations. there have been various combos of smaller cans of fruitcake, pound cake, pecan rolls, peaches, fruit cocktail, and pears. these have been many of the extra sought-after goods. there have been additionally a bigger variety of C ration foodstuff that contained more cost-effective, much less tasty part goods akin to white bread or crackers.

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