In the Heat of the Summer

Katzenbach, John

Atheneum, 1982

p. 85

“[In Vietnam there was] the counterinsurgency, the savagery, the lack of defined enemies, the lack of a front, the shapelessness of it all, especially when combined with the contradictions of the war. I mean, here were men out in the field, performing routine tasks of terrible consequences: they feared they would step on a land mine, lose their legs or their genitals; that they would be lost in an alien environment; that they would suddenly find themselves in the midst of a firefight, unable to see or to fight the enemy, surrounded by death. And then, moments later, they would be on some hilltop and a helicopter would land, and everyone would drink a cold Coke or have a Schlitz, just as if they were back home, almost. This is incredibly disorienting. In effect, they did not know where they were.’