There was nothing to be done about the grenade at the moment, because there were other things that had to be done. I had to make sure that the artillery registrations I’d made earlier with Fire Base Cunningham for bringing rounds in along the lower edge of our position were adjusted accurately. The close proximity between those rounds and the Marines dug in near the base of the hill was vitally important. I also had to get up to the top of the ridge and find out what was going on, as the sporadic small arms fire from both sides continued, although the sounds were considerably dampened by the never-ending rain. The area along the whole top of that ridge could be reached by artillery, as long as Kilo Company wasn’t closing fast in bringing up our flank support. I reached down to gather in my poncho. I wanted some protection from the beating rain. The force of the falling water actually made my shoulders and thighs ache from the constant impacts of the wind-driven drops.

The Gunny brushed my hand aside. “Gotta use that poncho, the skipper needs a place to hole up and he’s pretty much out of it,” he said, his lips only a few inches from my left ear.

I wanted to tell him to give the captain Pilson’s poncho or maybe Jurgens’, if the sergeant could be found anywhere outside of the protective layer of Marines he’d no doubt buried himself under, but I said nothing. Fusner needed his poncho to protect the radio. I noted that the fading light reflected brightly off of the moving ponchos anyway, particularly since our position on the side of the hill allowed every Marine in the company to be visible by the enemy below at some angle or other. My own muddy and crud filled exterior made me all but invisible against the mud and crud of the hillside. I gave up the idea of hanging on to the poncho and shrugged off the mild discomfort I felt over losing it.