I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than the enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will. My rifle and I know that what counts in war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, or the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit.
The recruit behind me elbowed me aside roughly unexpectedly and sent me rolling down a small gully. I clutched my M-14 rifle to my chest and tumbled head over heels. Somehow I ended up on my back, my pack wedged tightly in the crook of a very small tree. I struggled to get up but was unable move. I looked up and saw my Platoon Commander SSgt. McAllister passing by on the road, several yards up.
“Is your rifle okay, Private?” Grabbing my M-14 he examined it to see if my front or rear sights were damaged. “Yes, Sir. Platoon Commander. I…the Private’s weapon is okay. Sir.” Satisfied that it was okay, he then looked down, surprised to see me still laying on my back. Scowling, he barked at me: