Join Free! | Login    
   Popular! Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry
Where Authors and Readers come together!


Featured Authors:  Beverly Mahone, iRobert Davis, iKarin Fleischhaker-Griffin, iS Zachary, iMyra Darwish, iStephen Cafaro, iMandeep Khera, i

  Home > War > Articles Popular: Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry     

John Podlaski

· + Follow Me
· Contact Me
· Books
· Articles
· Blog
· 10 Titles
· 3 Reviews
· Save to My Library
· Share with Friends!
Member Since: Jul, 2010

John Podlaski, click here to update your pages on AuthorsDen.

Featured Book
This Is The Place, By Award-Winning Author Carolyn Howard-Jo
by Carolyn HowardJohnson

A novel set in Utah in the 50s, "This Is The Place" is a love story that reveals mysteries of the heart as well as the secrets of what some consider a mysterious place an..  
BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members

What did it feel like to be a Cherry in Vietnam?
by John Podlaski   
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
Last edited: Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Posted: Thursday, October 13, 2011

  Print   Save    Follow    Share 

Recent articles by
John Podlaski

Cherries Awarded Best Audiobook of 2012
Thought Provoking - Facts of a Terrible Time
A Veteran's Tribute
What Is A Vietnam Veteran?
Mother Nature vs. Infantry Soldier in Vietnam
Have You Ever Been Really Scared?
Personal Hygiene in the Jungles of Vietnam
           >> View all

Second article in support of Cherries - A Vietnam War Novel


Let me preface this post by saying that over 2.5 million U.S. men and women served in Vietnam during the period of 1959 – 1975. However, only 10% of the total were in the Infantry and ‘humped the boonies’ in search of the elusive enemy, the remaining 90% were support and administrative staff. I’m not saying that only the Infantry soldiers were at risk here, but unless the support bases were mortared, rocketed or attacked, it was usually the ‘grunts’ or ‘booney rats’ who were caught in enemy ambushes and booby traps, or stumbled into well-camouflaged enemy bunker complexes only to be pinned down for hours in the middle of the jungle.

Imagine, if you will, that most Cherries in Vietnam had graduated from high school within the past year; some never finished high school and were quickly drafted into the military. Now these eighteen year olds are thrust into a hostile environment where they had to do things never imagined in wildest of dreams or even thought to be humanly possible in accomplishing.  Nineteen year old Corporals and Sergeants were in charge of squads and twenty-one year old Lieutenants and Captains ran the platoons and companies. Turnover was rampant and a soldier with experience in the jungle was highly respected and was in most cases a lower ranked enlisted man and not an officer.

I had a difficult time over the years in trying to explain to my family and friends what it was like to be a grunt in Vietnam. It was only when the movie ‘Platoon’ came out that I was able to ‘show’ them. I could relate to the role played by Charlie Sheen in the movie. That first hump in the bush (patrol in the jungle) when he passes out from exhaustion because of carrying more than what was needed on his back. The average weight of a grunt’s rucksack and supplies was about sixty-five pounds. Now if you also had to carry either an M-60 machine gun or PRC-25 radio on top of that, then you had to add twenty-six more pounds to your load. Humping all that weight was difficult in itself, let alone, looking everywhere like a chameleon; eyes darting about looking every which way to make sure you spot a booby trap or an enemy soldier before either of them find you first.  Finally, the stress of getting ambushed at any moment also took its toll on these young teenage soldiers. The adrenaline was pumped up and standing by, but when nothing happened during a patrol (which happened often), the bleeding off of this extra energy took time and made you more anxious than you already were. I can also remember the scene of Charlie Sheen’s first night in the bush when the enemy soldiers were walking straight toward him in the pitch-black darkness. You are on watch and the only one awake, every sound is amplified ten fold and your mind and the shadows are playing tricks on you. To understand this feeling, imagine yourself waking up in your bed during the middle of the night and you are thinking that a burglar might be standing near your bed. You break out in a cold sweat, your heart beats so loud, it can be heard in the house next door. You are paralyzed, frozen to the spot and too afraid to move your head or sit up to have a look around. This is real fear! Now multiply that feeling by twenty-four hours a day and three-hundred-sixty-five days. You have just experienced how a Cherry felt on his first day in the jungle.



Web Site: Cherries - A Vietnam War Novel

Want to review or comment on this article?
Click here to login!

Need a FREE Reader Membership?
Click here for your Membership!

Popular War Articles
  1. Thank You for Your Service--Book Review
  3. Centenary of a Needless Bloodbath
  4. WAR
  5. EMail From General Patton
  6. Patriotism & Remembrance

Female Suicide Bombers by Rosemarie Skaine

Photographs, appendices, notes, bibliography, glossary, index, softcover, $35...  
BookAds by Silver, Gold and Platinum Members

Female Suicide Bombers by Rosemarie Skaine

Photographs, appendices, notes, bibliography, glossary, index, softcover, $35...  
BookAds by Silver, Gold and Platinum Members

Authors alphabetically: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Featured Authors | New to AuthorsDen? | Add AuthorsDen to your Site
Share AD with your friends | Need Help? | About us

Problem with this page?   Report it to AuthorsDen
AuthorsDen, Inc. All rights reserved.