By Wes Zanone

There are several things you donít want with you on an ambush. One is the enemy, another is diarrhea.

I donít know where I got it. I suppose it could have been from the hot chow the night before or maybe my system was rebelling against C-Rations. It was probably from the noodles I bought in the village.

It hit me in mid-afternoon and didnít let up. I had terrible cramps and a slight fever. Things could have been worse I guess. I was fortunate that we werenít "humpiní the boonies". We were in a large village where I had the luxury of a real commode seat that weíd mounted on some empty ammo boxes.

When I found out that my squad was scheduled for an ambush that night, I begged our new platoon leader to leave me behind. My pleas were useless.

The ambush site was near a bridge just north of the village. The focus of the ambush, the killing zone, was the junction of the main road and a trail that ran parallel to the river. My position was on the right flank, overlooking the trail but out of the killing zone. I was alone.

Several times during the night I had to answer natureís call. Not wanting to go near my position, I'd feel my way out by following the Claymore wire. Then I'd step off to one side or the other, drop my pants and cut loose. I took care not to step where Iíd gone before. I was as quiet as I could be, but the next morning my pals asked me why I had made so much noise.

I ran out of toilet paper after the first couple of trips, then I used my handkerchief and then my T-shirt. Luckily the cramps ceased before I had to use any more clothing. I was planning on using my uniform shirt next and then the pants if necessary. Over the years Iíve often wondered what a site it would have been to see a grunt walking into the village with nothing on but boots, a helmet, and a pistol belt.

Itís a good thing the enemy didnít show up. If Iíd had to set off the Claymore I would have blown my own shit away, literally.

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Added 12/19/96