|The bush harbored
not only the enemy but dozens of denizens ready to strike,
sting, bite and prick you. But the jungle was also a thing of
beauty. It was mesmerizing. Trees and plants never before seen
by westerners covered the steep slopes of the undulating
mountains. Unseen monkeys howled at you and "fuck-you"
birds screeched with regularity.
Occasionally you'd catch a glimpse of a multicolored parrot or
some small, fleeting brown bird. But for the most part the bush
was devoid of the sight of birds. I supposed they'd all flown
off to Cambodia or Laos to get away from the bombing -- just
like the gooks.
At night the creepy crawlers came out. The centipedes and
millipedes -- long, fuzzy and glowing with the decaying
phosphorescence of the jungle floor clinging to their hairy
little legs. Large rats, foraging in the grass
and giving the grunt on watch a start, also patrolled the night
along with blood-thirsty mosquitoes. The malaria-carrying
skeeters were relentless and no less than a heavy lacquering of
"bug juice" and covering up with clothing could repel
them. At daybreak the mosquitoes took a nap, but it was as if
the sun had played reveille for the flies and gnats. (Please see
Photo No. 16.)