War Stories

A Moment in Time

by David Shattuck

A Moment in Time
David Shattuck
2/35th 1965/66

I do not speak of the real bad times, only the ones that involve myself and my survival -- key word being survival. I mourn the loss of those who did not survive but keep their circumstance...Silent and sacred...Homer is SSgt Hollis.... He is black and the black guys call him Homeboy.... We white guys call him Homer.....I would follow him to Hell.....And I have.....

We were coming in hot.... The door gunner was busy trying to sort things out.... At about 10 to 15 feet Homer hollered go and out I went...It was a long drop and I twisted my ankle when I landed although at the time I really didn't notice.... There was a lot of madness on the LZ and I was running at Port Arms to the tree line where I had seen several guys who went in just before us, making their way.... I was in the open and I wanted some cover badly.... Within the gunfire I could hear Homer hollering behind me to set up a perimeter on the tree line, although I can't remember his exact words.... I found a likely looking refuge and breathed a sigh of relief... Then I saw the machine gun barrel...I reacted but it was slow.... I was moving so slow it was like everything was nearly at a standstill.....I was waiting for the burn as I had been wounded before and I knew the drill but I couldn't get my rifle to any sort of firing position fast enough....Everything was just so slow....I remember I was running and that made things worse...I had to slow down to react....The machine gun was now in full sight and I still hadn't pulled the trigger.... The whole thing is playing out in slow-motion it seems.....I'm searching now for the NVA but my vision is playing tricks with me....My mind is racing and I'm not comprehending what I'm seeing....I think I'm hearing a loud screaming kind of insane war cry and I realize its me.....Everything in my body is tight and then I realize no one is manning the gun.....They abandoned it and fled into the bush...This all happened in a fraction but seemed like an eternity.....And has stayed with me for 48 years and counting.....

Dave Shattuck HHC 2/35 Inf. Spring of 1965/ Fall of 1966