Part VI The Young Journalist

“Can you stop the tape, please? I need a few minutes to collect myself because the next part of the story will bring chills to me. I will tell you everything, but first I would like to know something more about you. You said your mother told you about your father that was over there and you still remember some of those stories.”“Well, I prefer to hear your story till the end. However; since you asked I can only recall very little about what he looked like. I was very young, but my mother kept a picture of him and I have it with me. Would you like to see it? I’ll show it to you if you would like when you complete your story. There’s not much to tell about my dad, only that he never came back and one day his letters stopped coming home. I think she said he was a missing in action soldier, but after all these years I think he is dead. I’m sorry for my tears, let’s get back to your story, and let me turn the tape recorder back on. Okay, go on!”After eluding the enemy with our tactics they started calling in for mortar support. They spread the area around us and some of them injured a few of my buddies. It slowed us down as we carried them on our shoulders taking turns in order not to get too tired. The enemy kept pace and on one occasion they came too close. The dog got loose because his handler had been one of those hit with mortars and I tried to stop him because those dogs were worth a lot. Sometimes I believe they protected theses trained dogs more than us.When I went after the dog they started shooting at him, but he managed to get a hold of one of the VC’s. I kept trying to shoot the VC, but with the dog too close I was afraid that I might miss and get him. Once I got closer I placed a round directly on his chest as the dog backed up for a brief moment. Rounds were flying all around me, but they too were careful not to shoot one of their own so I stayed as close to him as possible.Once I figured he was dead I did get him off and when he did respond he came towards me. A bullet ripped into him and I tried to drag him closer to me, but a grenade had been thrown towards us. I was halfway down when it when off and it blew part of my face off not to say the least in other places too as you can see. My buddies did not leave there to die as navy ships responded with their heavy rounds. Somehow we got the support we needed because we were told none would be coming. We found out later that we were not to speak about it because someone owed someone else a favor, and it was the one thing that saved our lives.We were airlifted out of there by some brave helicopter pilots that volunteered to risk their own lives to come to the rescue mission they had placed us in. Later on there was a debriefing and we were not at liberty to talk to anybody about the whole thing. Since I was in the hospital it took a while to relay the message to me about keeping quiet and with half of my face missing I couldn’t talk very much anyways. I was badly wounded and once I recovered they sent me back to a recovery area…They tried to make me pretty, but too many things were missing. My arms and legs don’t move much, however; one hand is able to move and I’ve learn to make the most of it. Now don’t think they didn’t try to help me or anything like that. I told them I didn’t want my wife to know about what had happened because I didn’t want her to see what I really am, a freak. I stopped writing to her and I told some of my friends to tell her I had gone missing. “She’s been looking for me, but that’s another story if you want to hear about it?”

Part VI The Young Journalist

oscarelizondo

Harlingen, United States

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