Smoke Bomb Hill, Ft Bragg, NC 1966
My father's A Team just before deployment to 5th Group in Vietnam. A story in every man. An odd A Team in that there were 13 men and not the usual 12. Two NCO's and a Lieutenant did not come back.
I remember a party at our quarters on post just before they left. Everyone of these men were crammed into our tiny living room. Wearing starched fatigues, drinking beer and smoking Marlboro's--I wandered among the spit shined Corcoran jump boots while the theme from, "The Magnificent Seven" boomed over a stereo. I looked at our dining room table and saw a pile of forest green berets with the red 7th Group flash sewn on the front. Some worn and some brand new. I'll never forget the smoke and laughter in that living room. Or that I was around something that was very real and they were going somewhere very dangerous. I'll never forget.
Many years later my mother recalled the same party. Late that night a young sergeant cornered her on the stairs to the only bathroom in the house. "Uh oh," she thought. "Here we go..." He leaned into her and said, "Don't worry about your husband, ma'am. Nothing's gonna happen to him. We're gonna make sure." And with that he turned around and walked away and was true to his word.