All in a Day’s Work

On January 31, 1968, the North Vietnamese Army marched into Hue city in regular formation. There was no one to resist. They rounded up twelve hundred South Vietnamese government workers. American CIA operatives escaped through the sewer tunnels.

Months later, an American patrol came upon a suspicious mound near Hue and dug into it. They found hundreds of decapitated bodies. Several more mass graves with similar contents were discovered.

At 1st Marine Division forward headquarters in Phu Bai, a major was addressing a corporal. Beside them was a table covered with aerial photographs.

“You see,” said the major proudly, “I determine each morning’s fire mission on the basis of these photographs and intelligence reports of varying reliability.”

“To interdict enemy movements,” the corporal said. “But what about the villages?”

The corporal left the command bunker and walked toward several rows of hooches. He knew what those artillery rounds would do.

Copyright 2014 George Lowell Tollefson

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