The Start of it All

by: Mike Stevens

“Staff Sergeant Lucas K. Duke, United States Marines Corps., reporting for duty, sir.” Luke Duke said as he walked up to the officer that was sending the units to their respective ships.

“Welcome to New Orleans Marine Corps. Base, Sergeant Duke, you can have a seat with your men over there” the officer said, pointing to a group of marines sitting on benches.”That’s your unit.”

“Thank you, sir.” Luke said, and did a stiff about face. He walked over to Uncle Jesse, Daisy, and Bo. He gave them all hugs.

“Now Luke, you keep yourself out of trouble over there, and come back home alive.” Jesse said.

“Will do, Uncle Jesse.” Luke replied. He then said goodbye, and turned around and walked to his unit. Jesse, Bo, and Daisy waved goodbye and drove away, not wanting to experience any feelings of pain or while they stood there and looked at Luke, knowing they wouldn’t be able to talk to him for at least a year.

“I sure hope Luke’ll be ok.” Bo said.

Luke was changing from his dress blues to his fatigues in the base locker room. He slung the bag that carried his ammunition, extra fatigues, and other items over his shoulder. He picked up his M16 rifle and walked outside.

“Good morning, sergeant.” a sergeant said as he snapped to parade rest as Luke walked past.

“Good Morning, Sergeant Currington.” Luke replied. He continued walking and Currington walked on into the locker room. Luke walked over to the benches that his unit was waiting on and sat down. Soon, the order came to board the troop transports. Luke stood up.

“Squad, atten-tion” he ordered. His squad stood up. Sergeant Currington, his A-Team, moved to the front of the squad. Luke moved to stand off to the side with the platoon sergeant and the other squad leaders. They all turned and marched as one platoon onto the troop transport that would take them to Vietnam. Luke took one look back at the base before he too went below to his quarters for the sailing trip to Vietnam.

The ship stopped at the landing site off the shore of Vietnam. Luke and his squad, completely geared up, stormed ashore and took cover. He hit the dirt behind a tree and leaned out, pointing with his M16. He saw the Vietcong guerilla ahead and shot off a three round burst, taking the guerilla out. He crawled forward on the thick grass and saw another, guerilla, and took him out too. Soon, the company commander, Captain Reynolds, stood up and gave the all clear. The company stood up and moved forward again, and took cover once more as the Vietcong began firing again. Luke rolled out from behind a log and shot four of the at once. He shouted out “Forward, forward, charge them Vietcong.”

The squad rose up and surged forward. Luke suddenly found Sergeant Currington at his side, charging with him. They all took cover once more, and Luke stood behind a tree this time. He leanded out and popped off a few shots, and then got back behind the big tree’s cover once again as a Vietcong machine gun opened up on them. He heard a scream as a soldier was shot. Luke got on his walkie talkie. “Corpsman Jackson, get over to that wounded soldier.” he yelled. Luke turned out, and dukcked back as the machine gun chattered a few rounds into the tree he was behind. Luke dropped to the ground with Sergeant Currington crawling behind him They got up, ducked down, and creeped around in the tall grass to flank the machine gunner. Luke knew that if he took care of the machine gunner, then this short battle would be pretty much over because the Vietcong’s main firepower at this post would be out of commission. He ducked out of cover and unloaded the rest of his ammo clip into the machine gunner. The gun fell silent as Luke quickly reloaded. The rest of this skirmish was just mopping up the rest of the Vietcong. An hour later, it was all over.

Once the squad got to the base in South Vietnam, just across the border with North Vietnam, Luke got right to work. His squad drilled in combat techniques, cleaned their weapons, sharpened their combat knives, and prepared for their patrols. The first patrol for the platoon left in one hour.

“Sergeant Duke” a voice said behind Luke.

Luke jumped up and spun around, standing stiffly at attention as he faced the Lieutenant speaking to him, his platoon leader.

“Sir” he said.

“Take your squad and report to the colonel at once” the lieutenant ordered.

“Yes sir” Luke said, as he saluted and turned around.

“Sergeant Currington, round up the squad and have them ready for duty pronto” Luke ordered.

“Yes, Sergeant” Currington replied, and ran off to round up the squad. Before long, they were all assembled before the colonel.

“Men, you are going on a raid. There is a Vietcong safehouse not far from here, you men are going to go in and take out the General hiding in there. Is that clear?? You are not to leave without the general.”

“Yes, Sir” was the immediate response. Luke took command.

“Squad, atten-hut. Left, face. Forward, march.” Luke marched the squad over to the waiting army truck and they all clambered inside. The truck’s engine started up as Luke climbed into the back with his squad and the truck drove off to the safehouse.

Once they got to the safehouse, the squad quickly disembarked and took cover in some weeds. The gurd looked around, climbed back into the cab with the driver, and they pulled off into some brush to wait for the squad. Luke turned around.

“Let’s go, the safehouse is just across that strem” Luke said. They forded the stream and hurried up through the brush, eventually coming up to the side of the safehouse. There were two guards posted outside the front entrance, a small group of five Vietcong soldiers spread around the house and near the truck parked next to the safehouse.

“Recon, and when the general arrives, we’ll execute our plan.” They reconnitered the area and reported back before nighfall.

“Spread out, in groups of three, which gives us five groups. You all know what to do.” They spread out around the safehouse, while Luke’s group and sergeant Currington’s groups took up positios near the road. They saw the General’s car coming. Luke stood up and walked to the center of the road, signalling for them to stop. The car stopped, the driver got out and pulled his handgun. But another of the squad members had already looped a string around his neck and taken the driver down, along with the gurad who was in the front seat, Currington took him out with a silenced pistol shot. They injected a sleep serum into the general’s arm, turned the car around, and drove to the truck. Luke radioed the remaining squad members at the safehouse and told them that they had the general. The guys back at the safehouse made for the truck, and when they got there, pushed the button that blew up the explosive charges placed around the safehouse. They all climbed into the truck and began the drive back to base.

“Great work, Sergeant Duke. The general is now in our custody and we have disarmed his troops, a great blow to the Vietcong. Keep up the good work. And sergeant, you may be in position to make gunnery sergeant soon. That is all.” the colonel said. Luke saluted and walked outside. It was turning out not to be so bad to have enlisted in the marines after all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *