Third Battalion, Fifth Marines
Monsoon or The Good, The Bad, The Dead
by Brad Reynolds
I never thought much about rain when I lived in Washington. Its just a way of life there. There was always a sweet smell after the rain has cleansed the earth and the pollutants from the air. It makes the flowers bloom, and knocks off the dead petals, making the circle of life complete.
In Vietnam, the country in and along the South China Sea has what they call Monsoons, where the winds blow so fierce that it sounds like a train rumbling through a mountain tunnel. Then the rain starts, coming down with such force that you can see it bounce at least two inches off the ground.
Dry, hardpacked ground becomes as slippery as any ice skating rink. The red mud oozed into your boots, making you feel like you just stepped into a bathtub of chocolate pudding.
Vast areas of meadow lands become lakes; rivers overflow causing the surrounding landscape to change drastically.
We played in the rain, had mud fights, and even showered outside when it rained hard enough.
We would go on patrols and laugh when one of us would slip and fall off the rice paddy dikes into the muddy, murky water.
Then, as quick as Mother Nature reclaims the dying flower petals, so does the slippery dike. A man falls, struggles to stand up. The weight of his pack and rifle hold him down. As he gasps for air, the red mud gets in his nose and cakes his face.
With a grasping motion, he sinks below the mud and water.
What just a few seconds before was panic water and mud splashing and calls for help is nothing but dead silence.