"The Wind"


"The Wind"

As told by Wayne Walker




      My Recon Platoon was immediately west of the Tuy Hoa rice bowl, in the foothill mountains.

 We had to cross a saddle ridge from one hilltop to another about a half a half mile away, traveling

 south. The saddle was about 3 feet wide with a trail worn into the middle. On both sides of the

 saddle was an extremely steep drop off, where a troop would roll a quarter mile before being

 stopped in a rocky bottom. To our left, east, we could see all the way to the South China Sea.

 There was a steady 60 mph wind coming from off the ocean, whipping up a major sandstorm that

 obscured Tuy Hoa City and our Battalion base camp. We laughed that the REMF's

  were caught in a sandstorm, in Vietnam of all places.                                                                           

     As the wind reached the saddle it was funneled upward and accelerated to about 90 mph. As we

 took a break and contemplated the crossing it became not so funny, looking like we would be

 blown right off the narrow ridge. The Point and his Slack man started down cautiously, at first

 looking like they were going to drop to their hands and knees and crawl across. But then they

 gained confidence and leaned way left, into the wind. As they reached the bottom of the saddle

 they broke into a long stride lope. As they started up the other side of the saddle they began to

 run as fast as if they had no load. I was utterly perplexed at how this was possible. When it got to

be my turn the answer soon became clear. The wind began to lift the weight of the ruck and by the

 time I got to the bottom and started back up the ruck started to act like a sail, it was necessary only

 to lean into it far enough so each foot would land squarely on the trail, and let the wind do all thework, exhilarating!