Now, the whole situation became very unstable, so I moved my Duster to the edge
of the perimeter. My big guns were inoperative, but I hoped to do damage
with my .50. Surreal – fascinating – mesmerizing to watch
the NVA in gray uniforms and African safari hats swarm through our line, firing
on the move. Funny, as I think back on that moment, what I remember most
is my surprise at how much bigger they were than their VC cousins, and I thought
it curious to see women ammo bearers follow the men through the wire.
rotated the turret toward the biggest hole in our perimeter and fired my .50
at anything that moved. Hard to say how long the fighting went on. I
fired hundreds of rounds. The NVA were everywhere, and one must have
moved in behind me, because his RPG hit my Duster, it blew me out of the tub,
and I landed on my belly in the mud fifty feet away.
Dazed and in shock, my
ears rang, and I couldn’t move. I could
not will my body to do anything. Face pressed into the mud, I looked
up, and when my eyes focused, I saw them run past me, saw their black sandals
made from old truck tires, uniform pants muddy and stained, saw them fire their
AK-47s, and then move on. In the heat of the battle, they thought I was
dead. Sometime later, our guys got the upper hand and finally pushed
them back through the wire. I don’t remember any of that, but it
was still dark when they found me and called for a medic.
- The phenomena of fight, flight or freeze are part of what has
been termed the “general-purpose defense response control network" and
reacts in response to signs of danger encoded in unpleasant sights, sensations
or smells. Anger, avoidance and defensiveness are emotions activated
by the amygdala, and all three are primary symptoms of posttraumatic
stress disorder.. It is believed the origin of the amygdala
and its function began with the early fishes and activated ancestral
signs of distress to facilitate rapid choices for action. Lance
experienced a major traumatic event that night on the Cambodian border,
and his reaction was automatic and self-preserving.