A veteran’s story


I heard the muffled explosion of the foot popper and froze.

“Mines! Medic! We need a medic!”, a voice ahead shouted.

Almost immediately there was another explosion. Minutes passed. No one talked or moved. I was sinking lower in the calf deep mud. Fear kept me from shifting my feet much.

More minutes before, “We need help up here, but be careful.” Overlock and I plodded up the jungle trail.

Rogers was on an air mattress. The three small toes and one-third of his right foot were missing. What remained of the foot was shattered and tied to the shin. The same for the medic.

I knelt and lit a cigarette for him. “The morphine working?”

“Yes. You still feel the pain, just don’t give a damn.”

“I’m sorry.”

His eyes flashed to mine. “I feel sorry for you guys. I’m going home.

William Sirtola