"Fish Ponds"


"Fish Ponds"

As told by Wayne Walker





        Flying high into Vietnam in a Continental 707, wondering vaguely why no fighter

 escort, wondering how anyplace can be so brilliantly green, noticing at first that you can

 see no sign of war. 

       Descending to 5,000 feet, and seeing a pillar of smoke rising as high as the plane, then,

 having seen the one pillar, seeing that there is a dozen of them, thinking "oh-oh".  At

 maybe 3,000 feet seeing the rice paddies and the little villages all tightly packed in a

 defensive posture.

      Then the fish ponds became apparent, hundreds upon thousands of perfectly round

 fish ponds, some all alone, others in lines and sprays, some blue, many brown, a few

 milky colored. 

      The Buck Sergeant sitting next to me was returning for a second tour and did not seem

 pleased by that, taciturn and silent he was.  As we descended he began to wake and swear

 softly to himself.  I said, hey Sarge, "how come they got so many fish ponds all over the

 place"?  He said "what the hell you jabbering about now"?

      He leans over me, takes a quick look, sits back and says, "bomb craters", he did not

 even bother to add "DF Cherry".

     Then I could see it properly, that the "fish ponds" in their streaks and sprays

 encroached upon the neatly contoured paddy dikes and the villages.