Our return to the company was without incident, although Casey would not shut up. His incessant chatter was more than bothersome, because it couldn’t be listened to for long without the listener realizing that something was seriously wrong with the man. Some of what he was saying was painful to hear, and potentially damaging to any ability I might have to command the company around him. The Gunny had agreed to a slight delay in our departure toward the objective.

“I need a new helmet,” Casey said, plopping himself down next to my laid out poncho cover, the Gunny having gathered his stuff and placed it next to my own without saying anything.