Breakfast in the mud pit was ham and lima beans served with canteen cup holders of instant black coffee. I didn’t ask the Gunny why the other men bothered to pull the cream and sugar from incoming C-rations. It didn’t matter. I remained so scared I was unwilling to impart more of my ignorance by asking questions that probably had no rational answers. I crouched and sipped the coffee from my holder. My Scout Sergeant was named Stevens and I found out that his job was to check around the perimeter and with the platoon leaders to keep me informed. My Kit Carson Scout was Nguyen, pronounced ‘new yen’. He wore no rank, although he had on a utility jacket. His job, Fusner said, was mostly to serve as an interpreter to members of the local civilian population we might encounter and also questions any prisoners we might take. He didn’t speak much English.

“How’s he supposed to interpret when he can’t even understand me?” I asked quietly.