I was deployed to a recon unit in Phu Bai, near the DMZ. Right away, I was in multiple firefights a day. We were fighting Vietcong and AVN [North Vietnamese Army]. The AVN were tough, man. They were well trained and well armed. They weren’t little guerrilla groups. They had Russian Grad-P rockets -- that’s a huge motherfucker, a huge mortar. They were really fighting for something. But what was I doing there? It didn’t make no sense.
After four months, I decided to go AWOL. They can call me a coward all they want, but I made up my mind not to go back. You motherfuckers ain’t gonna see me no more.
When I got back to Camp Eagle, I took some C-rations up to a bunker up on a hill. I sent word to the sergeant I was AWOL. At court martial, they busted me to zero rank, gave me a suspended sentence, and sent me back into the bush. I went AWOL again. This time they sent me to Long Binh Jail to fill sandbags. Everyone at LBJ was burnt up, a little cracked and crazy. A black officer tried to give me a week in the hole for not stopping on command. I said, "Fuck you, motherfucker," and punched him in the face. They beat me to a pulp. Everything felt like it was at the end of a tunnel, voices through a fog. They sent me to a minimum compound for bed rest. The food was dynamite. During my recovery, an Army shrink asked me how I felt. I said, "Let’s see, I'm in some bullshit war, back home they’re killing my people. How the fuck you think I feel?"