Due to gale force winds and torrential rain Michael’s commercial flight to Hawaii was cancelled.. Stranded with three Air force officers it appeared that he would be spending the night in an airport chair One oi the Air Force officers suggested that instead of waiting until the next morning they take a cab to Travis Air Force base and try to hitch a ride with one of the regular flights to Hawaii..
Michael who was having reactions to the preventive injections that he had received at the Naval base yesterday was willing to take that chance.
A cargo flight was headed for Hawaii, and then on to Vietnam, and the pilots were more than happy to provide rides to the stranded group. The flights were anything but smooth ,and on two separate occasions Michael made his way to the rear of the planes and regurgitated. Eventually after hours of turbulence and motion sickness Michael arrived at the Da Nang airport. After exiting the plane he was immersed in a sea of civilians and military personnel, and it took him twenty minutes to find his way to an information area. He was informed that that one of the chopper pilots would give him a lift to the marine base,, and was escorted after a review of his orders to a spot behind the main runway. Michael waited for almost two hours before a chopper landed in his area. It was at the close of the day ,and dusk was settling on the area. Suddenly a chopper appeared and landed almost thirty yards from Michael’s area. After the blade stopped spinning a tall lanky pilot opened the cockpit door and dropped down to the ground.:”Where are you headed sir”? Michael eagerly responded to the Marine base at Da Phu.”” .Hop on I am Frank Jorgensen but everybody calls me Jorgie I see by your papers that you are a physician. Is this your first time in Nam’”? Michael nodded”Yes it is””I don’t envy you Doc.I have carted more dead and mangled bodies than anyone should see in a lifetime.”Before Michael could respond Jorgie had started the engine and the whirling sound of the propeller made conv”ersation impossible.
Once airborne the light had faded almost completely, and the flight was engulfed in darkness”I had hoped to get you to the base before complete darkness Doc but it is too late so I am going to Have to drop you.?” “Drop me? Where the hell are you going to drop me?” About five minutes from the base. We have no patrols out now and would be sitting ducks for a VC missile. I will land in an a open area ,and pick you up at daybreak once our patrols are out.”Michael was terrified at the thought of being alone on the ground in this strange war zone..Fergie asked.” Do you have a weapon Doc?” Michael in an almost feeble voice replied” No I don’t.Z”
“Look behind the back seat. There should be an automatic rifle. Take it and during the night none of our patrols are out ,so if anything comes out of the tall weeds it is going to be VC. Open fire before they have a chance to shoot at you. “ Michel thought to himself that Bellevue was a picnic compared to this insanity.
Jorgie dropped Michael off in a clearing between two areas of large weeds. “See you in the morning Doc.”
As the chopper flew away Michael sat on the ground, and over the next three hours glanced at his watch every twenty seconds. It was a still clear night ,and suddenly he was aware that the weeds about thirty yards from him were appearing g to move. He could barely breathe ,and there was absolutely no saliva in his mouth. Closer and closer the weeds were moving, and with trembling hands he pointed his weapon and was ready to fire. At the very last moment the weeds unfolded and a Bengal Tiger sauntered out and either did not notice Michael or was disinterested and entered the second weed area.