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It was raining hard on the dreadful night when Daniel O’ Conell PFC is shot in the upper arm, he remembered that most of all. Not the pain or smell of death all around him, just the rain, and a rain so hard it bounced off the rocks and leaves all around him.
They had just entered a clearing in the jungle somewhere North West of Nha Trang, and were in the process of moving round the edge staying low, when all around them gunfire had erupted just as the heavens opened and the rain came down. It bounced off them like rocks, bullets flew, as the bodies fell, ripping through flesh and bone. Daniel threw himself into the tangle of bushes next to him. He hugged the ground as bullets, tracer fire flew over his head and pinged off nearby rocks, within seconds the patrol was completely decimated, and just before the fire ended, Daniel felt a blow against his right arm. A glacial spasm of pain like the stab of a dagger of ice frozen from a poisoned well ran down his arm followed by the feeling of wetness as blood flowed.
He pulled himself deeper into the jungle as silence descended and that silence now appeared to be a source of additional peril. Daniel listened intently for any sounds of movement nearby; the enemy had arrived, like ghosts in the night. No warning and suddenly death was all about.
He was now in serious harm’s way with only his training to rely on, a training that ended just under a month ago. He tried to think but the pain in his arm made it difficult, and he knew he needed to attend to the wound speedily less infection set in. Inch by inch he moved back into the deeper darkness of the jungle, listening out for any sound that would mean the enemy was close by. He heard a crunching sound off to his right and froze. Looking in the direction of the sound, he saw silhouetted, a figure carrying the familiar AK assault rifle, standard issue for the Vietcong. Rising to a crouch, he tested the movement of his arm and found that although painful it would still operate. The figure had his back to Daniel. Sliding out his K-bar he quickly rushed forward, just like in boot camp sentry removal training-left hand covers mouth, kick to back of knee, K-bar into the right side of neck and slicing round, taking out the voice box. Blood gushed and silently the man died.