Tag Archives: punji stick

And a B-52 for you

By Tom Skiens

In October 1968 I got a punji stick in my left knee while conducting a combat assault with Charley Company of the 4/3 Inf. I found the punji stick by a large gray moss and debris covered rock I was hiding behind.

I was hiding behind the rock because that’s what I always did when I reached the destination of a combat assault. I would get off the chopper, hide behind a rock or tree, or a piece of bamboo or an anthill or a chick dressed up like a rice paddy Dyke on a motorcycle. I could hide behind a single blade of grass, Or you or him. I was determined to hide behind something because that’s how the army had trained me.

Even though I was an expert at hiding I always liked to be on the first lift of a combat assault. Maybe then I would catch some shit and get out of the bush in a half-way, sort of respectful manner. It never occurred to me that I could die again. Hell, I had already died once.

So I am hiding behind this rock covered with debris from the two B-52s who, 1/2 hour earlier, had dropped half their load in this huge valley that had its mouth pointing in a northeasterly direction.

The B-52’s did a 180 and dropped the rest of their load in the valley. “C” and “D” companies were far enough away to be safe but close enough to be impressed. We could feel the shaking of the earth like God taking command of the planet with a completely controlling hand and moving it about. The sound was a deep, deep rumble unlike the sharp smacking sound of artillery or the air moving freight train sound of 16 inch rounds as they passed overhead. This sound was God awful death from 40,000 feet. Hundreds of bombs going off individually and combining into one move the earth rumble.
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