It was an impossible mission but there was no other way. Nobody in the company was going to make it up the backside of Hill 975 without getting blown to smithereens no matter how it was done. The first time they’d gone up the back side of the connection plateau had probably worked because NVA forces occupying the outside and inside of the tip of the plateau never dreamed there was a rapid, nearly impossible, way for anyone up there to get back to the bottom unscathed.

I could not take Zippo with me because he was simply too big, and Fusner wasn’t going to be able to move up through the muddy, slippery, dark and forbidding chute wearing a radio, and the other junk he needed to stay in communication. Therefore, he wasn’t necessary. There would be no communication. Nguyen and I would go alone and we could wear nearly nothing. When things were slippery then only slippery worked. Slippery with plunging fingers and digging toes. No boots. No Colt. No M-16. Not even a K-Bar. My biggest worry, after the gnawing fear of going up that chute in the dead of night, was making sure the Army reconnaissance teams located at the top, if they were still alive, would not shoot us on sight, or even without seeing. There had been no fire from or on the top of the hill since the RPG incident claiming Captain Chance’s life, however. It was likely that the force at the top was following radio silence, or only keeping their radios on in a receive mode.