December 13th, 1968 we (B Co 1/502 Infantry 101st Airborne Division) got off C-141’s at Bien Hoa Republic of Vietnam.
From there we convoyed to our base camp at Cu Chi which was west of Bien Hoa. We were in deuce and a halfs. As we traveled off the airbase and though the country side it was hot and humid and filled with expectation.
Ironically the first thing to attack our convoy was groups of kids yelling for candy and cigarettes, and that was strange but cute. They were the most adorable kids you would find on the planet. They were barefoot and had shorts and a tank or t shirt or just the shorts. We all had something to throw them and they loved it and so did we. Sooner or later we ran out of things to throw to them and that was when they began to yell and curse at us, go figure…
Once up north in I Corps and running patrols we got settled in country the kids in the villages were priceless and that was when I knew what I was here for. They were more like kids not hustlers but I guess each set had their own life to live only for today and went about in the way they knew how.
Once on our base camp, which was surrounded by barbed wire the Mamasans would walk up to the edge of the wire and bring fruit , vegetables, Vietnamese cigarettes and trinkets and pot to sell or exchange them for American whiskey, candy, cigarettes or whatever.
They brought the kids as a sympathy tool and it usually worked. In the long haul kids were kids and it was a damn shame to see them walking barefoot as they did with their noses running, rashes and bug bites on some of them and we were there to help them get a better life and failed.
These little ones knew nothing about freedom at this time. I wonder where he or she is now and what he or she is doing?