Lieutenant Colonel Bradley Newman stood at the window of his prison-like but sterile hospital room. If only he could see the runway – his runway – and his brave boys as they flew out and returned. He’d heard the planes as they returned a few minutes before, and it sounded good. He’d heard nine leaving, and nine returning. He’d take that math any day of the week!
Colonel Burns, his second-in-command should be due any minute now, with the morning’s mission report.
There was a knock at the door. “Enter!” He shouted.
“Good morning sir, I have good news this morning,” replied the adjutant.
“Do you mean nine out and nine back in? I head that. Or do you mean that the idiots in the north have finally come to their senses and agreed to end this madness?
“I wish, sir. Oh how I wish that were true. At least then you’d feel comfortable in leaving this god-forsaken land and returning home where you could get topnotch care,” replied the adjutant.
“Let’s hear the report.”
“As you already know, it was nine out, and nine back in. If that was not good news enough, they hit the target, and really plastered it! Yesterday afternoon the Navy boys had spotted an AA battery on hill 713, just above the Valley we hit this morning, and they took out that battery fifteen minutes before our boys arrived! So it was smooth sailing for 132nd. We were able to make three passes, and they boys report multiple secondary explosions. So they hit something for sure… something besides simply jungle!”
The Colonel grinned broadly. “When you get it typed up, send me a copy please. At least they let me read the reports here!”
“And tell the boys that I’m proud of ‘em, and that I promise that I’ll be back with ‘em soon.”
“Yes sir.” Then the adjutant snapped to attention, gave a quick salute, turned and walked out of the room.”
In the hallway, a nurse in white was waiting. “So, how was he this morning?” she asked.
“About the same. About the same as he was yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that. Cynthia, I think it was General William Tecumseh Sherman who said that ‘war is hell.’ And he was right. It especially is and was and still is for Colonel Newman. Sixty-seven years later, and he’s still fighting the Korean War. Yes, I’d say that war certainly is hell for Colonel Newman.