As we departed Đắk Tô, so was an American convoy traveling south to Pleiku through Kon Tum. It made no sense to ride ahead of them or be last, so I pushed my way into the convoy, not moving too fast. Nearer the middle was the safest bet, I thought. This would be my first experience of many traveling inside a large convoy. We were always encouraged to do this as a way of avoiding mines and capture. Needless to say, my ambivalence about doing this was great as it seemed like the ultimate compromise to my mission. However, on this day, ambivalence be dammed. The safest way south before dark (even I did not risk the roads at night except within city limits) was to make our way south in this convoy. Perhaps because we were heading south and away from the fighting up north of Đắk Tô, or perhaps because it was just too large to move too fast, the pace south was more relaxed than a northbound convoy. I relaxed and began to enjoy, even laughed to myself about the craziness of it all.
Suddenly, we stopped. The sounds of war were upon us. Men started jumping out of vehicles, throwing on flak jackets and helmets, clutching furiously at their M-16s. “Get out, get in the ditch” the lieutenant in the vehicle behind me barked in my ear upon seeing me sitting momentarily stunned.
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