|The next morning, another stranger came over and said,
"PFC Reed, come with me, I'm sending you up to your squad.
Move it, asshole." I figured that was going to be my name
for a while, so I followed him to a big metal-floored helipad.
After sitting there for about an hour, and flinching every time
one of Stud's artillery pieces fired off, they choppered me up
to the top of 700-foot high Signal Hill, a communications
complex for the Marines and Air Force. I was assigned to Kilo 2
Bravo -- that's second platoon's second squad.
Signal Hill had a great view of Stud below in the east, a
sweeping valley to the south, the strange Rockpile to the north
and mountains leading to Laos on the west. The photo on this
page was shot from just behind the helipad and looking up at
I wound up spending my first week, maybe 10 days, up on
Signal Hill. Scary as shit at night on watch, unnerving when
mortar rounds landed in the compound and worrisome when trip
flares went off in the concertina wire for no apparent reason.
We ran long, security patrols in the daytime but all in all it
wasn't that bad ... (Please see photo No. 4).