flowing down river,
petals from the
lotus flower


The day the YRBM-17, the river boat repair barge I was stationed on, was hit by enemy rocket fire, is a day I will never forget. It was the day the Vietnam War jumped out of the television screen into my lap. I was eating with my shipmates in the base chow hall when the rocket fire hit. Instinctively, we left the cover of the chow hall and ran towards the YRBM-17. Looking at the rockets exploding, not knowing which way to go, forcing myself to concentrate on survival, shelving, for the moment, the
fear that wanted to surface.... focusing on the now in a sea of adrenaline day I was sitting on the sofa with my family watching news reports about the war, munching on popcorn. Seemingly the next day, I was dodging rockets and automatic fire. Out of nowhere, the telltale whistle of an incoming rocket. My buddies and I kissed the deck, the sky raining shrapnel in every direction. When we got back on our feet, a shipmate lay before us in a pool of blood.





Vietnam Ruminations - Robert D. Wilson
Copyright Robert D. Wilson, 2003