“Phone Call from Montana”

Volume 8 | Spring 2018

by David Vancil

for Col. Gerald Schumacher, US Army (Ret.)


In your call, you reminded me that during the night
of the day I left Dien Khanh to rotate home, VC
swarmed the compound. I learned a woman running
toward District Headquarters took six bullets and lay
a day later in the dirt clutching her dead child. I’d never
known the full story before, because in the letter
you wrote in 1970 that reached me in Saigon, where
I waited on a bunk to board a Braniff airliner and fly
home to what I hoped was sanity, you said everyone was
safe. Yet, forty-odd years later, I remember how my hand shook
as I read your letter and how afraid I was to stay or leave.