L/Cpl. Ben Reed of Eunice, La., stands atop Signal Hill overlooking Vandegrift Combat Base. Ben and members of Kilo 3/9 were preparing to leave the communications post for Operation Utah Mesa to the south.


My name is Ben Reed. When I was 19, I volunteered for the U.S. Marines and they got me in shape physically and mentally. But what they couldn't do was prepare me for a "grunt's" role in something they called the Vietnam War. The horrors and hardship far exceeded anything I'd ever experienced before ... or since. But you know what? We always kept our sense of humor because we found, too often, that it was the ability to laugh at our futility and our plight that kept us going. Humor especially played a role as we sought a proper place to call home and to sleep... (Please see photo No. 2)


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