“My Brothers Keep”

Stories of Vietnam
by Louis Merrins

Edited by James M. Merrins (Introduction and 26 stories)

Introduction to the Stories  [HERE]
Editor’s Notes: I asked my brother Louis to tell how and why he came to write his stories. He recorded an audio tape two weeks before his death in May 2017 (following more than 10 years of illness). I transcribed this introduction from audio tape in October 2017.

Pre-Vietnam Stories

#1 Recruitment [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: Late May, early June 1966 – Just after graduation from Forest Park Community College, St. Louis, Missouri and prior to induction into the Army on June 22, 1966.

#2 Jump School – Part One [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: Fort Benning, Georgia – Not clear where stories split [see Jump School – Part Two].

#3 Jump School – Part Two [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: Fort Benning, Georgia – Not clear where stories split [see Jump School – Part One].

#4 82nd Airborne [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: Dates not recalled – Ft. Bragg, North Carolina – 82nd Airborne Headquarters Company (for XVIII Division).

Vietnam Stories

#5 First Day [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: Around November 6th or 7th, , 1967 – the field, Vietnam – This was our leaving the fire support base at An Khe and being placed into a forward artillery base. This happened two weeks after we had landed in Vietnam which was on the 23rd of October, 1967.

#6 Second Day [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: Around November 7th or 8th, 1967 – forward artillery base, Vietnam – This was the following day, where we moved out into a valley. This was about two weeks after we had landed in Vietnam which was on the 23rd of October, 1967.

#7 Third Day [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: November 1967 – forward artillery base, Vietnam – This story had to do with us ambushing a company of NVA in a village. …Thanksgiving of 1967 and the main emphasis was that we learned that, or we surmised that, we were never actually going to be periodically taken out of the jungle for rest and recreation, like most outfits did.

#8 Thanks [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: Late 1967 – jungle, Vietnam.

#9 Sleepless Nights [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: Late December, prior to Christmas 1967 – forward base, Vietnam – I was having night sweats and chills.

#10 Fever [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: December 23 and 24, 1967 to January 2nd 1968 – Vietnam.

Writer’s Notes: Early 1968 – the rear, Vietnam – This was after leaving the hospital. I had lost 22 lbs. and was unfit for duty with an active Airborne unit.

#12 Second Coming [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: Around April 1, 1968 – the rear (Pleiku) to the field, Vietnam – This was my return to the field after REMF.

#13 Bad Day [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: Early 1968 – forward base, Vietnam – Fourth day back in the field.

#14 Deadly Night [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: 1968 – the field, Vietnam.

#15 The Lieutenant – Part One [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: field Vietnam – I served with Lieutenant Atkins for about a week, and then I received orders for my special leave, which is the story “Leave,” about my return to the United States for 30 days.

#16 The Lieutenant – Part Two [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: The field ,Vietnam

#17 Leave [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: This was about before, during, and my return from 30 days leave in the US.

#18 Firefight [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: The field, Vietnam – I am not real sure but I really feel like it’s probably during that period of time after we left Bong Son Firebase.

#19 Bullseye [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: The field ,Vietnam

#20 A.W.O.L. [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: The rear , for resupply, Vietnam

#21 Weapon [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: The rear, Vietnam

#22 Baldy [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: The rear, Firebase Bong Son, Vietnam

#23 Armor [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: The field, Vietnam – the unit was moved south, out of jungle.

#24 Death Times Three [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: – The field, Vietnam – This describes a period in time from when I came back to Vietnam in July 1968 until I was transferred to Saigon. It occurred at the end of my time in the field and describes a day before I left the field.

#25 Endings [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: Beginning of August 1968 – before leaving and just after leaving the field for Saigon, Vietnam.

#26 Guns [HERE]
Writer’s Notes: The rear, Vietnam – My last story – The end of time with the 173rd Airborne Unit

Contact James Merrins, Ed.D.
Comments, corrections, source documents, and questions welcome
42 Rosalyn Court, Fredonia, New York 14063
(716) 672-5473, FAX (716) 672-5472, jmerrins@cecomet.net