“Hey, Mistah Reporter,” the tall, muscular Specialist Four shouted out to me in the spring of 1968 as he hoisted up his gear from the A Shau Valley floor in northernmost South Vietnam. He was preparing to move up the steep mountain trail to shoot dead or chase away any North Vietnamese troopers who had infiltrated through our lines on the mountainside during our first night. The bad guys might be lying in an ambush position at the top of the mountain.
“Does your newspaper say you have to go with us?”
“No,” I answered.
“You’re going with us anyway?”
“Where’s your weapon?”
“There’ll be plenty of weapons lying around if we get in trouble,” I answered.
“So, you’re going with us even though you don’t have to go, and you don’t even have a weapon?”
“Well, Mistah Reporter, all I can say is that you’ve got shit for brains.”