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11 11 11 11 11 …=\(=_, 0-i/=V:r. , I I “Move it out! Keep in on line!” The words were repeated at “Yeah!” If II II intervals in the distance. “How bad’s he hit?” They resumed their forward motion, a little slower now, “He’s okay!” he lied. He didn’t want Milota to know how bad II II everyone quiet, concentrating on the hill. Frank’s part of the it was. Price should have known that. line reached the base of the hill. The first terrace rose to chest ‘t level, like an auditorium stage. II Still lying on his back, he reached down to his belt, un – snapped his first-aid pouch and pulled out a dressing. He held II II There was no prelude. the package up to his face and tried to tear the thick plastic , No first shots. covering. His hands were slippery from the blood on Milota’s II 11 , Instantly. shirt. He couldn’t get a grip. He put the package in the corner of II II Like the first split-seconds of a nearby bolt of lightning, a his mouth and tore it with his teeth. Rolling onto one elbow, he high-pitched crackling roar erupted. A continuous explosion of unwrapped the fist-sized bandage and placed it in the wound, 1ii rifles, machine guns and hand grenades blended into a single The gauzy bandage absorbed the blood, became saturated, ” ‘ sound. then disappeared except for the tie-down strands. Frank’s fin II Frank and the others ran stooped-over the short distance to gers were covered with more blood where they were touching II the face of the first terrace, crouching below it for cover. Frank the dressing, becoming sticky and clumsy as the blood coaguII was stunned. He had never heard such a sustained noise from lated. Sweat burned his eyes. He wiped his hands on his trous 1small arms. There were other firefights in which he had heard ers and then wiped his face. The wound was still bleeding. He. II noise of this intensity, but it had lasted only a second or two, had to stop it but he needed something bigger than a dressing. eventually dying away into scattered shots. This didn’t stop. He II He sat up, took off his helmet and shirt. He pulled his T-shirt 11 looked along the wall of the terrace at the line of men crouched over his head. He began packing the dingy cloth into the hole. Il against it. No one was being hit that he, could see. He wondered The bleeding was beginning to slow. Milota was muttering II where all the shooting was aimed at. something to himself. II II “Get to the top of the hill!” Sgt. Glasborne was shouting. Someone was yelling. II Everyone began dropping his pack. Frank shrugged his “I see ’em! I see ’em!” \\ II shoulders back, dropped his pack and climbed atop the terrace II Gentry was kneeling beside Frank, pointing into the bushes. -, ledge. The hedges above the terrace formed a small clearing like Frank looked where Gentry was pointing, but he couldn’t see II II a fenced-off back yard. Milota was slightly ahead of him on his , anything. Gentry aimed his rifle and fired in that direction. Ris II left. Price was even with him on his right. Frank couldn’t see ling to a crouch, Gentry began moving slowly towards one II anyone else because of the hedges on both sides. The three of hedges. II them were crouched over, walked toward the hedgeline ahead. clump of hedg I CRACK! “I see ’em! I see ’em” he shouted excitedly. . The back of Milota’s shirt billowed outward, like it was hang “Where?” Price yelled back. II ing on a clothesline and hit with a rock. Milota dropped his rifle, Frank turned to pick up his rifle. -, grabbed his belly and spun into the ground screaming. “Look out! Grenade!” Price screamed. 11 “Goddamgoddamgoddamfuckin’gooks!” Frank dropped his rifle, drew his knees up to his chest and -, II Frank and Price dropped to the ground. Frank began crawling wrapped his arms around his head. towards Milota, feverishly scanning the hedges surrounding WHAM! II them. The concussion lifted Frank off the ground a fraction of an “Price, did you see where it came from? Can you see any inch, ringing his ears. He heard bits of metal clicking through thing?” the brush and then a hissing sound as pieces of earth fell to the II “Can’t see shit!” ground. “Look out!” Price trotted past Milota and flopped down, aiming his rifle at He closed his eyes and held his breath. II the hedges in front of them. Frank crawled alongside Milota, WHAM! laying his rifle down. Milota was balled up in a fetal position Frank waited, pressing his arms against his ears to shut out 1 facing Frank, still screaming. the noise. “Goddam assholes! Goddam motherfuckers!” “Frank!” “Lemme see, Milota.” Frank raised his head and looked at Price. “Goddam fuckin’ gooks!” “Gentry’s hit.” “Shutup dammit, lemme look at you!” Frank rolled onto his stomach. A cloud of black, burnt He grabbed Milota’s wrist with one hand and pulled his arm smelling smoke drifted over him. Gentry was a few steps away, away from his stomach, lifting the front of Milota’s shirt with lying on his back. His arms were raised at the elbows, his fists the other hand. A trickle of blood ran into his navel. It didn’t clinching and unclinching. look that bad, but he had to check for an exit wound. Frank began crawling the few feet towards Gentry. The stub ,’ He rose to his knees, stepped over Milota and lay down fac bly grass scratched his bare stomach and chest. He could feel crumbs of dirt rolling along his belly, under his belt and into his ing Milota’s back. He lifted the tail of Milota’s shirt. It was red and slick with blood. A large red crater covered the small of crotch. He wanted to stand up and brush himself off. Milota’s back. Bits of tissue were suspended in a scarlet jelly. He crawled alongside Gentry. He couldn’t see any wounds. Oh shit, Frank said softly, as he rolled onto his back. He Gentry was staring at his hands. t i stared at the sky for a moment, trying to slow his breathing. The “My hands. I can’t feel my hands,” he said quietly. 11 roar continued. Price had begun shooting into the hedges. “Where you hit, Bill?” “Frank!” Price yelled. “It’s my hands.” 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 Ti’ 11 Ti ‘ 11 11 Ti’ 11 11 “..=y6 =-_-x =7\(=ye =x =0=7-\(=x =7\(=,x =x =361-_—_,\(..=76=-_-_7\(..=;4=7\(=_-,-=A-7\(=,/e=ye=y\(=,A=7\(= A=._7\(=ye= -_,A=ye.= “Gimme some cover!” 12 FEBRUARY 27, 1981