The mess of stationery I carried was a collection of soggy, semi-wet and dried water stains holding strands of paper together. The envelopes were in the best shape because I’d rolled them into a tight tube and used one of my extra trouser springs to hold them together. I released the spring and carefully pulled out an envelope in the very center, unfolding it as I went while making sure the pack of stationery and envelopes stayed guarded under the tipped-up edge of my tilted helmet. I was under my poncho cover, and the wet mud of the river bank wasn’t really all that wet, but still, I fought to maintain as much moisture security as I could cage together. The sun had fallen behind and above the clouds that poured drizzling rain down into the heart of the valley where the company, and what was left of Kilo, had gone down following the debacle of taking out the cliff top snipers. Blowing the drums along with them had been a great positive bonus.

It wasn’t quiet by any means but at least the night would not be owned by the NVA.