December 24, 1969
The desire of the United States to equip the South Vietnamese to fight their own war and the
desire to reduce the size of the United States ground troops had given hopes for an early exit
from the war for troops such as myself. In the spirit of Christmas it only made sense that
soldiers that would be going home in a few weeks anyway should be allowed to leave early to
celebrate the holidays with their families.
All I really wanted for Christmas was orders to go home. As each day passed it became obvious that the visions dancing in my head of being on an airplane humming "I'll be home for Christmas" would soon be dashed.
Christmas Eve arrived and I was humming "I'll be home for Christmas", but the emphasis had shifted to the phrase "If only in my dreams." Because I only had a few days left in the field, I was no longer being made to go out on the nightly ambushes. I decided if I could not go to Christmas, I could use my time to bring some Christmas cheer to my squad in Vietnam.
I found an extra engineering stake that we used to hold up the barbed wire in front of our position. I drove the six foot stake into the ground just outside the door of our bunker affectionately known as the pig palace. I ran 4 pieces of barbed wire from the top of the stake to the ground to produce a pyramid shape. I took more barbed wire and wrapped it around the pyramid from top to bottom until it took on the shape of a Christmas tree.
I started decorating the tree useing a belt of M-60 machine gun ammo for garland. I used machine gun links as hooks to hang ornaments made from everything from grenades to M-16 ammunition.
I used five rounds from our .50 caliber machine gun to form a five pointed star that I placed on top of the tree. As I stepped back to look at the metallic tree, I realized I couldn't beat my sword into a plowshare, but for a moment I could use my sword to make a wish of
|Story INDEX||NEXT Story|
Return to Base Camp