The heat and high grass in the summer of 1969 quickly sapped a grunt's energy, even when he wasn't humping in 
the high hills.


Tall elephant grass, often reaching heights of 8 to 10 feet, was a particular nemesis to the grunt. Technically known as Napier Grass, elephant grass loomed over the grunt as he walked through what at times seem to be miles of solid walls of its razor-edged blades. It also held the heat in like an oven while it sliced away at the arms and face, creating small cuts that soon became infected -- jungle rot or the creeping crud.

Elephant grass also concealed holes, nasty drop-offs, and depressions caused by bomb craters. Often the point man found himself tumbling helplessly into a hole. The damned grass also hid the enemy.

Perhaps the only good thing about elephant grass was that you could collect a batch of it each night to "feather" your bed.

Shown here taking a break from the heat, are, from left, Dave Parker of Oregon, Bill House of Kentucky, Joe Harris of Virginia, Dave Bartosek of Pittsburgh, and Frank Bokan of Philadelphia. (Please see Photo No. 12)


 Photos 10--18