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The day was bright and clear. It started as any other day in Nam and I had no way of knowing it would be a different kind of day. It was the day that Darryl Lintner died. It was the 20th day of April, 1968. We were operating east of highway one and the Song Bo River, moving through deserted villages looking for Charlie.

I was serving with the 101st Airborne Division in I Corp in the Republic of South Vietnam. We were Recon (E-1/501st). I had come into the unit as a volunteer from a mortar platoon because I envied the guys in Recon. They were a proud bunch of guys. They were a close unit. They were confident and well trained. I wanted to be with them, and serve with them.

It was hot and humid (just like most other days) with the temperature soaring over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. We were just moving around the area looking for the enemy and not making any contact. We had had several days respite. We knew the enemy was in the area, and our senses were alert.

I was about seventy-five meters from the lead element when there was rifle fire from the village we were approaching. I immediately recognized the sound of AK47s and the return fire of M-16s. Everyone hit the dirt (we were in a rice paddy with two large mounds of some sort) and began looking for enemy targets. We wondered what was happening at the front and how we could support them.

We soon received word that one of our guys had been hit. We didn't know how badly. Then we heard that there was one KIA. I thought we had two down, one wounded and one killed. As it turned out, Darryl was the only one hit. He had been shot in the leg, and then was hit by a second, fatal round.

Darryl was a quiet, dependable young man from Perryville, Missouri (several years ago, when I lived in Missouri, I tried to locate members of his family but no one knew of them). He had come to Recon as a replacement and had been with us for about a month. I was sorry to see him go that way.

We didn't make much headway against the VC that day. They were pretty well entrenched and we were pretty much in the open. We pulled back late in the day to a secure area for the night. The next morning, we went back into the ville with the assistance of a line company. The VC were still there and the fighting continued.

About mid-morning, I took note of our left flank. There was a canal running the length of the rice paddy we were in which was lined with a bamboo thicket. The more I thought about it, I began to worry about the possibility of a VC surprise from the canal. As quickly as I could, I moved to the edge of the canal and slipped down into the water under a low hanging tree.

As I sat there, I observed the area on the far side of the canal and especially the area adjacent to the village, which was about fifty or sixty meters to my front. My position was cooler than that of the rice paddy so I enjoyed the respite from the heat. It may have been longer but it seemed like just a few minutes when I saw a VC calmly walk to the edge of the canal down by the village. He didn't seem to be in any hurry.

I raised my M-16 slowly and centered the front sights on his chest. Everything seemed to move slowly as I squeezed off two rounds and watched him fall. He kind of turned as he fell and slid down into the brush on the side of the canal. I could see him lying there and he didn't move. It seemed as if only ten or fifteen minutes passed when I saw a second VC just beyond where the first one lay. I repeated the process and scored my second kill of the day. I never saw any more of the enemy that day.

I told our platoon leader and Staff SGT Kleckler about the incident. I wanted to go over there and check out the area but was denied permission (I wanted to collect an AK47 for a souvenir). I felt in a small way that I had gotten revenge for Darryl being killed but it was a small trade off. If nothing else, there were two less of the enemy who wouldn't be shooting at my friends or myself.

Ron Kuvik, Sgt E-5 Retired
E-1/501st Infantry (Recon)
101st Airborne Division

This writing was extracted from our old website.