When A Zapper Attacks (Vietnam Diary)

( I still believe that what happened in Vietnam mostly stayed there. We, and I mean soldiers that came back don’t really talk much about it because they tried to put us away once we got back. I in turn have decided to continue writing some scripts from my hidden diary, or journal as you may have it. I have decided not to be too accurate with the dates, so instead of puting the real day, I will only use the month. I hope you understand that I still feel like the events were not to be printed to hide many ugly things that happened over there. I stopped writing for a while, but I will slowly write and if I get braver I will mention terrible things that you will never believe, but they did happen. So I will add the real bad events a little at a time because many of you will not continue reading due to my boring writing. You must understand that I am not a writer, I read my notes as I wrote them then, later I put them together for some of you that are interested.)

It was early in the month of October and our infantry unit had been sent on a secretive mission. We all knew that it was just a way to get us fired up because there were rumors of a pullout of soldiers. However, the real truth was that people like myself that still had some time left in Vietnam were sent further up north while those with very little time were packing up.We joined another outfit that had already set up a perimeter. There was a command post in the center where the top brass stayed at. Outside of that there were about ten larger big trenches with sleeping quarters guarded by sandbags as the soldiers rested in the bunkers. Outside of that were the smaller two man bunkers with sandbags around it. Here’s where men guarded the headquarters as the first line of defense.We had a rotation of two men every four hours. In other words while one soldier slept for two hours the other one kept guard during the night. Then after two hours he would wake the other soldier to keep guard while he slept. After the fourth hour both would be awake as one would head back to the second line of bunkers and tell the next two soldiers that it was their turn to keep guard as two fresh soldiers did their duty.One October day, things did not go as planned. I was assigned to the bunker next to the incident that I will speak or write about. In Vietnam there were zappers that had been trained in Russia. They were a one man demonition team. Their objective was to inflict as much death to the enemy (being us) and die in the process if need so. There was no surrender on their part, or being taken alive. They would strap their bodies with explosives and blow up a camp if they had the chance. The training was of the best ever seen. They could cut barbed wires, reset flares on the wires, undo anything we put out there such as grenades, trip wires, claymores, etc. These zappers spent up to four hours moving in with the cover of night, unseen, and moved softly, gently and deadly. Even with our night scopes, it was very rare to catch them before their rein of terror.It was a quiet night as far as we were concern, until it was time to change the first shift of guards. At the midnight hour it was time to sent two fresh troops and everybody started doing it starting from the outer bunkers, all except the bunker next to us. We did this many times before and it was not unusal for some to be a little late getting it done. When the bunker next to us didn’t sent for replacements, it was not noticable to us in the front, only to the rear bunkers where the two sleeping guards were getting extra sleeping time. After about an hour or so of being late I could see concerned soldiers rushing over to the bunker next to us. Soon after that we were put on alert for movement on the wire as we refered our first line of defense.The rest of the night was full of movement from our headquarters. More soldiers rushed to the front line and we were not allowed to go back to sleep. Instead two extra men were packed in with us until daybreak. It was then that I saw what had happened and why there was concerned about staying another night in the same area. Since I hadn’t gone back to the sleeping quarters, I had a full view of the event that had transpired during the night. I rushed over to see why their was a group of soldiers all standing in one area. It was a no, no, because a bunch of soldiers in one area could mean many causalties, but this was different.One soldier was crying hysterically and blaming himself for what had happened. He was the person who was supposed to be awake and on guard while his friend slept. However, he had fallen asleep and a zapper had penetrated their bunker. The zapper cut the throat of the soldier that was supposed to be asleep and had left him to live and tell about it. It was a tactic to demoralize the troops because once the soldier knew he was responsible for the death for falling asleep, he would be useless. His guilt would eat him alive, and the zapper knew how to use mind games.Once that soldier returned back to the United States he would tell others of the horrors of the war in Vietnam. They knew the people in American would respond to the incidents happening in a war we were not winning. I knew this story would not reach the American people. It would be wiped or washed away as just another casualty. I put it behind me, as I was ordered. Yes, I put it behind me for many years now, or sort of. I have told few people of this incident, but now you know too.I have vivid recollections of the splattered blood all over the bunker. The tilted head of one dead soldier that would never make it home with the real story. Not to forget the crazy soldier that cried and for all purposes went insane. I never saw neither one of them again as a helicopter came and took both of them away. I know one of them was sent home to be burried with a hidden secret of how he really died. The other if I know it right, is somewhere in a ward of a mental hospital trying to forget if he’s not dead yet.Me, I’m still here writing and trying not to cry about what I write. I don’t know if anybody even wants to here of the things I want to say. My keyboard is wet, my heart is working double time, and my mind just went through another spell of war in the Republic of Vietnam. It is all too real for me again ladies and gentlemen. These events took place and they still are taking place here, in my brain. Can’t forget, don’t want to either, even I have to stand alone, then I am, I will, and God Bless America, for I truely love this country.

When A Zapper Attacks (Vietnam Diary)


Harlingen, United States

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Artist's Description

Another story you really have to read. Please be patient, I am not a writer, and the war has taken something from me.

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  • GailD
  • oscarelizondo
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