The night visitors came into my dreams last week and brought back a happening from years ago on a dusty road in Indochina. It was on a Saturday, I think…we didn’t pay much attention to days then. A truck had run over a mine in the road, and the Vietnamese engineers were trying to fill in the hole to make the road ahead of us passable. They had brought in several loads of rock and dirt, and a bulldozer operator was smoothing things out.

Going by the book, we were supposed to go first when the road opened, but as we started to pull onto the roadway, a man driving a bus took off ahead of us, and another bomb blew up the bus and knocked the dozer operator into a rice paddy. I watched as the entire bus was blown about twenty feet in the air and came down with a horrible noise.

A small girl was on the bus with her dad, and the explosion sent a piece of metal which nearly sliced off her leg. She never cried. I know she was in shock, but her eyes were open. She looked straight at me, and one by one at the other guys with me. A guy named Andy picked her up, and though not our official job, we took her back to an advisor compound where she died.

We had done our best to accept the death of the military, but not a young kid. None of us had dared to show any emotion for fear of scaring her more. I never knew trying not to show any emotions would catch up with me later, but I have relived this happening many times since in my life.

The thing that we could never figure out was where the second bomb came from, because it was in almost the same place. I myself believe the bomb was attached to the bus itself, while we were right there. And the worst part is some of the people knew that the bus would not have been empty on the road at that time of day. Some of those people standing around had been on the bus before it was stopped where the truck had been blown up.

It is too bad there is no way we can reach into ourselves and simply have things of this nature removed.

– From Freddie Webb, Jan 2024