Thursday, November 26, 2009
Remember Our Troops at Thanksgiving
On Thanksgiving Day in 1970, my platoon and I worked our way toward a landing zone where we were scheduled to receive a Thanksgiving dinner as part of a resupply. A few hundred meters short of the landing zone, we stumbled upon a North Vietnamese bunker complex which was, thankfully, unoccupied.
It was a gigantic complex, complete with large bunkers and even classrooms. We had to clear every single structure, but there were no bad guys or enemy supplies. I radioed the coordinates to my company commander, and we moved to the landing zone to wait for the resupply helicopter.
A couple of Red Cross girls (we called them Donut Dollies) were on the chopper, and they delivered our turkey, stuffing and other food. It was great to see a couple of attractive "round-eyed" girls. We were out in the jungle with enemy soldiers not very far away, but the touch of Americana raised everyone's spirits.
Just as we were about to enjoy the food, we received word that our unit was dropping gas on the bunkers we had cleared. This was an effort to make them unusable for the enemy. Unfortunately, those making the drop misjudged the wind, and we started to get a little tingling in our eyes.
We had to pack up everything, including the Thanksgiving meal and the Donut Dollies, and move to another landing zone a long distance away. The girls weren't used to moving through the jungle, so they were understandably a little scared about the proximity of the bad guys.
We eventually made it to the other landing zone and enjoyed the meal. The Red Cross girls flew away on the helicopter while we moved out on our next mission - with full stomachs and renewed energy.
Today, in Iraq, Afghanistan and other lesser known places around the world, our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are holding the line in the war on terror. They have placed their lives on the line for all of us, and some of them have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Remember them in your prayers on Thanksgiving. Without their efforts, this would be a much different world.
For my fellow warriors who may read this, may God protect you this day and every day. You are indeed appreciated by those you left behind...
Charles M. Grist