Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look upon them as your beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death. -Sun Tzu
Fourth Platoon was shot all to hell coming out of the A Shau Valley. John and Gunny were dead. Two other Marines bound for Glory with them. The last helicopter lifted away under a hail of enemy machine gun fire. Knoxville, Tennessee seemed a million miles away, Young High School, the Southern Circle Drive In Restaurant, Suzie and Samantha, the rock quarry. Red lay in a pool of his own blood thinking about his mama and daddy on Gilbert Lane. Pasamenus was doing his best to help his damaged friend, but Pasamenus was fighting his own battle against post traumatic shock. Red passed out while the pilot was shouting something about losing altitude. 1968 was a bad year for both Hanoi and Washington. Hanoi was losing every battle and Washington was losing the war.
Plato's Cave, taken from The Republic written around 370 BC, describes an allegory between perceived reality and the actual truth. Vietnam was like that. Come with us now on our return voyage into the Iron Storm, in this, the sequel to Garden of Eden.
Guard against the imposters of pretended patriotism. -George Washington
All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, they're behind us ... they can't get away this time. -Major General Lewis B "Chesty" Puller, USMC, Chosin Reservoir, Korea