I had no idea how the attack into the tree line on the other side of the Agent Orange clearing would go down. Once more, as with each day’s move since I’d been in country, things just seemed to happen without a lot of verbal orders, command post meetings or formal preparations. In training, everything had been carefully choreographed in order to make sure no details were left out, or open questions, unanswered. The Marine Corp was known for being experts at the frontal attack. Their ‘fire and maneuver,’ method  involved a squad of men taking off with the fire teams roughly splitting up behind the squad leader. The squad would leap-frog across the exposed area, with one fire team dropping down to lay covering fire for the fire team nearby that was up and moving forward. That moving fire team would then drop, the process repeating itself over and over again until the whole company was safely, or unsafely, across.

My scout team surrounded me, all wearing the heavy packs we used to transport everything. In combat situations, the main packs would usually be discarded until the fighting ended and they could be retrieved. For reasons the Gunny had not shared with me, that wasn’t being done for this crossing, which could be damaging to everyone in the company, to say the least.