‘Reflections’ takes you from early 1964 through late 1968, incorporating the time that Ron Stone spent in the service of the U.S. Army Intelligence Agency. In four short years he goes from the innocence of a twenty year old man involved in the daily activities of school, dating, and partying with his friends,..to the serious business of spying for the National Security Agency, going on patrol in forbidden North Vietnam, and assassinating targets assigned by the Central Intelligence Agency. Stone was specially picked for assignment with the Army Special Forces in the remote mountains of South Vietnam to listen to Radio Hanoi transmissions to the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army forces in the south. Initially overwhelmed by the responsibilities, Stone flourishes in the position with the Green Berets and goes on patrol with Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol members of the 101st Airborne Division. The reader is along on those patrols, but also subjected to the red tape and snafu’s from dealing with REMF’s. Upon returning home to the states, Stone finds the war is not behind him and even held against him by soldiers at his last duty station. ‘Reflections’ is the story of one man’s fight with every man’s enemies…
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Reflections On A Black Wall
Sergeant Mexia had been walking point, then radioman Frog, Banner in the middle, me, and then Zorn. Mexia held up his hand to stop everyone in
their tracks. He turned to face us and pointed to his nose. For the first time I could smell the rich aroma of coffee in the air. It was so strong that it ignited that hunger inside for a cup. We had discovered not just a mobile transmitter with maybe a squad of men, but a full company sized unit with fixed buildings.
There were four or five buildings and the first to be identified was the mess hall because some KP’s were already there preparing for the days first meal. Two other buildings were identified as barracks with clothing hanging out of some windows and at the bottom of the hill we discovered the headquarters building.
One lone sentry was on duty and sitting in a chair on the front porch of the
building. I spotted the radio antenna tower and traced coax cables down to
the back of the headquarters building. While Sergeant Banner placed his
BAR to cover the barracks, Mexia and Frog tried to get closer to the front of
Headquarters and would cover our exit. Zorn and I made our way to the back
of the building where we discovered a window. I looked in and it was indeed the radio shack we were looking for. It looked just like most radio communications positions I had seen in the past. A table with a transmitter-receiver on it with some code books and other papers left askew by an operator in a hurry to get away to eat or get some sleep. One wall had a door exiting to the right, where we had just come around, another door went deeper into the headquarters building, and then a closet door to the left. It was this side of the building that
was drenched in the full force of the moonlight . I told Zorn to hoist me
up to the window and then signal Mexia and Frog that I was inside. Banner had
his attention glued to the barracks with the BAR. It would take me no longer
than five minutes to place the FM mike in place and then I would come
back out the same way I went in. Zorn understood and lifted me up and in the
Once inside, I immediately went to the books on the table looking for anything
to do with codes or frequencies. There was some clothing on hooks next to
the closet door and I went through the pockets quickly to see if there was
anything there of importance. Sixty seconds into the room I decided to get
down to the business at hand. I dropped down on my back and slid under the table holding the trans/ceiver. On the bottom of the table I taped the microphone to the underside with that silver duct tape that holds the entire U.S. Army together. The microphone would work just as long as the nine volt battery held out. It was a Duracell so I hoped for long life for the battery and myself. I had just finished sliding out from under the table when I heard a small squeak. The closet door to the moonlit side of the building opened. It was not a closet but a door leading outside down a short hallway. The door swung open and there was a young North Vietnamese Officer. I remember him vividly.
He was wearing a khaki shirt and green pants, but no cap on his head. The door added to the light from the window and both seemed to combine to
illuminate me lying there on the floor. On the other hand, the NVA officer was also caught in the light of the doorway and I saw him before he saw me. The total surprise was evident on his face. Never did he expect to come to work and find an American soldier lying on the floor of his office. He froze for just an extra instant and that allowed me to pull the 45 from my shoulder holster and fire. The flash from the first shot lit up the room and his face. His eyes were wide open, as was his mouth, but no sound came. The silencer must have worked as I fired again, thinking, this is America’s most powerful handgun and all I heard was “whoosh.” In the second flash I saw the deep-set eyes and high cheekbones typical of all Vietnamese, but this was the face of a man that knew he was about to die. Chances are, by the second round he was already dead, but he just had not fallen to the floor yet.
All of this was rushing through my head at the speed of light and if he was
still vertical he was still alive. I pulled the trigger the third time and the flash froze him in mid-air. It was exactly the effect of strobe lights on a dance floor. Each time the gun went off he was in a different pose in a different position. The third blast of the 45 lifted him completely off his feet and rocketed him back out the door he had just entered. I lay on my back there on the floor and watched as he flew backwards in slow motion and tumbled to the ground. My thoughts were racing full blast now, but I had been trained to do a job and I wanted to complete it before I left. I looked around the room to see if I was leaving any tale-telling clues of my invasion. Since the door was already open I decided to use it as my exit, but suddenly Zorn was standing in
the doorway. He said he had gone to relay my message to Sergeant Mexia and
saw the NVA officer coming to the building but it was too late to try and warn me. We could not leave the dead body there to announce our visit so I picked up his body and Zorn wiped up what little blood had hit the dirt floor and also grabbed the NVA’s weapon. It was a new AK-47 automatic rifle. I lugged the enemy soldier to the treeline and we waited for the others to join us. While we
were waiting I went through all of his pockets and found a letter from home, a
wallet containing his identification card, a little money, and a picture of his girlfriend or wife (he was not wearing a ring). The others arrived about ten minutes after us and we made our way back into the woods. We had come and gone, killing one of the officers of the camp, and no one else even heard a sound to arouse them from their slumber.