General Trinh is delivering papers
by: Walter Guest
Lou Gorski went looking for Steve Kincaid. Ordinarily he would go first to Kincaid's hut even if he knew Kincaid was elsewhere. He couldn't see enough of the beautiful Rhade girl the sergeant was sleeping with. But this time he wanted to find him fast. He had news that had to change everyone's plans. It was disastrous news.
Gorski couldn't believe how much his plans had changed since four days ago. Major Whalen had sent for him then.
"I see you've got some radio background, Lieutenant," Whalen said. He had his service record in front of him. "Think you could handle a field assignment as an operator""
He knew he could but, why send and officer on an enlisted man's assignment? "Are we short specialists, sir?" He didn't want to sound sarcastic but he was afraid he did.
"No we're not, but I need something more than just a radio operator." Whalen explained the assignment to him.
"We need to know what the hell is happening out there," Whalen summed up. "I can't order you to go. This would have to be strictly voluntary."
A lot of things went through Gorski's mind. "My tour is up in two months," he said.
"We need you bad," Whalen said, "but if you say no, nothing will appear on your record."
"I don't like the idea of spying."
"This assignment is crucial to the war effort," Whalen said impatiently. "Now give me your answer. Yes or no."
So here he was, in a Rhade village, pretending to be an enlisted man, a Specialist Second Class. He was tanning for thirty minutes every day so he could soon try to pass himself off as a Rhade. Right now, as he looked for Sergeant Kincaid, he was wearing two-piece fatigues.
Kincaid was in the assembly hut where Hao was explaining the M-16 to about thirty Rhade. Gorski called him outside.
"Charlie has taken Ban Me Thuot!" Gorski told him excitedly.
Kincaid smiled a tight little smile and said, "Good."
Gorski didn't know what to make of his reaction. "They had tanks! They overran the town!"
"Our people got our okay, didn't they?" Kincaid asked quickly.
"Yes. They got out." Gorski studied his face. "Aren't you worried?"
"Charlie won't keep the town long."
"Kincaid, don't you realize that's the first province capital the Viet Cong has taken? Doesn't that mean anything to you?"
"Yeah," Kincaid said slowly. "It means Whalen will give us everything we ask for."