One Delta Day

8th of November 67-A Tribute to Paul Risinger


   "It was the 3d of June, another hot and dusty Delta day."  Yeah, sing it Bobbie Gentry. Except this was the 8th of November and there was no dust-- Too much god damn water in this Delta, especially during the rainy season.  The song, a favorite on the radio, kept going through my mind  It was hot though-especially for being only 8:30 in the morning.  The sun felt like it had been up all night just waiting to ambush us as we  emerged from the thick, protective walls of Fort Courage  to cross the moat, then to wait on the rice paddy dikes for our rides.  We hadnít made it past the battery of 105 self-propelled Howitzers and I was already feeling the sting of the sweat as it ran into my eyes.  The big guns were quiet this early in the morning, the crews sleeping inside the steel walls.  They do a lot of their work at night, hitting plotted targets, hooches, hoping to catch a squad of VC in their night meetings.  The VC could usually move freely under the blanket of darkness, when few of us were mobile.  Darkness finds us on guard, in positions out in the field or in our camps.  The flares we send up donít really breach the darkness-they throw an eerie light and as they descend, they conjure moving shadows and only serve to increase the paranoia.  Itís nothing, just a shadow.