A young draftee is inducted, indoctrinated, schooled, and trained, BUT it is his natural talent with a rifle that makes him one of the best to serve in Vietnam. Working with the C.I.A., the young draftee is assigned 'hit missions' that others can only imagine. Serving with the Army Special Forces, the draftee is in the thick of the 'advisor years' in the early 1960's.
The CIA Major asked Warren if he might speak with his shooter and Captain Warren dispatched one of the Montagnard scouts to get PFC Alex Dutton. Alex returned to the command post and was told ‘the Major’ wanted to have a word with him. The two men were left alone in the command center and the Major sat across a table from him, lighting up a cigarette before he started speaking. Finally, the Major asked Alex if he was prepared to assist his country in a very secretive mission. Alex replied that he was a soldier and prepared to do his duty. The Major said, ‘Outside pressure is being applied to a neutral country and we need someone to eliminate a key member of the communist forces.’ Alex waited until the Major explained the entire mission and when the Major asked for questions he was ready. ‘Why me? I know you must have other shooters in your system.’ The Major was nodding before Alex got to the end of his question. The target is a Communist Chinese Colonel that will be returning to China at the end of the week. It would take two, maybe three days, to requisition a shooter from the Saigon district. Phu Bai was one hundred and thirty miles from the Laotian capitol of Vientiane, while Saigon was more than two hundred and fifty miles away. Alex told the Major he was willing to accept the mission if he was really needed. The Major said, ‘You help us out here and I promise I will take care of you.’ Alex said okay and the two shook hands. The Major told Alex to get some rest while he arranged transportation and a guide to get him to the target. Alex returned to his tent and went straight to bed.
Eight hours later Alex woke up and right after a trip to the latrine he noticed a black unmarked Huey helicopter on the landing pad at Phu Bai. Usually when the chopper is unmarked it means someone does not want to be connected with the mission should it go bad. Sergeant Kroger was walking past Alex’s tent and shouted out, ‘Captain wants to see you as soon as you get something to eat.’ Mess Sergeant Matthews was ready when Alex arrived at the dining hall with eggs, steak, biscuits, fresh tomatoes, and lots of coffee. When Alex entered the command center he was greeted by a strange face. Cambodian scout Lookie Wah had grown up in the Laotian capitol of Vientiane and promised the Major he would bring young Alex back home safely. Both men attached silencers to the barrels of their rifles for this mission. Alex packed a radio beacon, three pounds of
C-4 explosive, four magazines with twenty rounds each for the M-14, five fragmentation grenades, two canteens of water, and one complete loaf of bread. If worse came to worse, he could live off of bread for a few days. Good friend Doc Cook even gave up a small can of grape jam for Alex to eat with the bread. The radio beacon transmitted a homing ‘beeping’ signal for extraction forces to find them when they were ready. The black Huey started to turn over its turbo engine and Alex grabbed his gear and headed for the chopper.
The helicopter would follow the Mekong River all the way to Vientiane and the trip would take about an hour. Just before liftoff, the Major came to the door of the Huey and said, ‘You might find a use for this.’ He handed Alex a Leica rangefinder painted a camouflage green. ‘It belongs to my commanding officer, so you better bring it back,’ the Major said with a grin. He also was saying something else, but the chopper drowned him out as it lifted off the pad at Phu Bai. Lookie Wah, the scout, spoke better English than did Dah Kim, Alex’s regular scout. Lookie told Alex he had been schooled by French teachers growing up in Vientiane and they taught their students in French, English, and Mandarin Chinese. Crew members of the Huey kept off the radio and concentrated on flying via instruments and line of sight. The crew chief of the Huey had some cheese, crackers, and coffee from a thermos, which he offered to both men. It was just approaching dusk when the skyline of Vientiane came into view. The chopper made a wide swing around the southeastern side of town and dropped off the two soldiers two miles from the palace grounds. It would be foot travel from here. Alex and Lookie were both wearing camouflage fatigues, a black baseball cap, and faces blackened with burnt cork. They traveled just off the road but followed the highway into town. It was almost pitch dark when they came to the palace grounds. It was an ancient testament to the glory of Buda. Lots of gold and ivory were lavishly on display at the palace and this was in stark contrast to the buildings surrounding it. Lookie located a vacant two story building that had been a warehouse at one time before communism had driven out the commercial business. They made their way to the roof of the building and erected a small hiding spot in one of the corners nearest the palace. A faded wool blanket covered them and visually hid them from any taller buildings in the area. Alex checked out the palace through the scope on his rifle and made out two or three windows where he thought he might have a good shot. There was a social function underway at the palace and the first floor was over-flowing with guests. Alex had been given a photo of Colonel Chi Don and he was hoping the Colonel was in uniform so he could be easily identified. Whatever the function was, it began to wind down about an hour and a half later. Guests started to make their way out of the palace grounds to various colored cars, all with adorning flags flying from the front bumper. Alex thought to himself, ‘everybody is a big shot here, I should just start shooting.’ That is what he thought, but he knew what his assignment was and he continued to scan the guests looking for the Chinese Colonel. One of the Laotian Generals was talking to a group in front of a big fire place. The mantel of the fire place was full of gold trinkets and photos of the ancestry of the current prime minister. The General was accompanied by a striking looking woman. She had long dark hair and her flaming red dress was cut high on the sides. Alex watched closely as she moved her weight from one side to the other and revealed a great deal of long leg. He thought to himself, ‘She must be from Thailand since the Cambodian and Laotian women do not look this good.’ Alex watched as the beautiful woman worked the room. She would shake her hair from time to time and that always brought another glance from most of the men in the room. She was gorgeous and she knew it. Alex was admiring the beauty from across the street, but the ten-power scope allowed him to survey her face closely, which was without a flaw. Alex was reminded of a porcelain doll in looking at her face. The woman bent over to set her drink down on a table and suddenly the scope was filled with the face of Chinese Colonel Chi Don, the target.