They were coming. He could barely see them, but they were there, skimming the treetops. Escape. The soldier on front of me screamed, firing his M-60 straight up, tracers arcing into the night sky. Not that you could hear him screaming, or even firing, over the sound of the battle around us.
This was the crescendo, nothing could get worse than this. We were trapped atop the only building left standing in town, everything else around us flattened by the days fighting. Three men left from our squad, a dozen or so from the rest of the platoon. The deafening sound was an entire NVA division pummeling our building with everything they had – artillery falling, by some miracle, everywhere except our rooftop, rifle fire pinging off the cement walls of the building below us.
But we were free now, the helicopters less than a klick away. That’s when one of those odd moments of silence came over the battlefield at that precise second. Just that second. That’s when the helicopter exploded, and I broke. Just one second.