Tet '68

John Larson

This story is not about gallantry or courage (above and beyond). It's just about the death of innocence for a few of the betrayed.

Me and another guy (Woodhead) were pulling security for Newport Depot just outside the gate. It started out as an ordinary night of making sure the right people got into the depot and went to the right place. We were sitting in our jeep watching some small arms fire in the distance. I remember Woodhead commented on how crazy it was to be sitting here and watching the war go on 2 or 3 miles away. It's strange how we all could become so numbed to it happening all around us. Nothing unusual, or so it seemed.

All of a sudden rockets started landing inside the depot and the small arms fire wasn't in the distance anymore - it was just about on top of us. I felt myself go into that familiar automatic 'do what you have to do' numb rush.

There was a bunker about 50 yards off to the one side. I grab my M-60 and Woodhead got the radio and we headed for it. I can still remember how long it seemed to get to the safety of the bunker. It was like everything was in slow motion. Just as we hit the bunker all hell broke loose. I was sure this was it. There were about 8 of us in there and scared as shit as we heard the mortars and rockets continuing to land inside the depot. This went on for hours literally. Our radio was no longer working so we had no contact with the outside at all.

I just had to get a good look at what was happening around us. So like a fool I got out of the bunker just far enough to see the closest thing I've seen to a vision of Hell. The sky was lite up like daytime and everywhere were dead VC. There was no point in doing anything except get my ass back in the bunker.

This lasted until dawn, it had to be at least 8 hours we were in this 'box' just waiting for the direct hit that never came. It's strange, but I can still see the eyes of the other guys in that bunker like it was yesterday. Something died in all of us that night. Our innocence.


Those who never made it Home. Those who got lost on their way back Home. And those still searching for the America we called Home.

MARCH 1998

John Larson 
Class of 68; Long Binh - Tay Ninh 
720th MP Bn, Co.A, 18th Bde 

Copyright 1998 © John Larson All Rights Reserved

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