New guy in Nam: A nightmare remembered
Author Brady, Martin
Publication title: Chicago Sun – Times; Chicago, Ill.
Gabriel Sauers is unceremoniously welcomed into Echo Company, where contempt for the F.N.G. (“f- – – ing new guy”) is only grudgingly suppressed by battle-hardened peers. But after a raw recruit is blown away by rifle fire, the young man begins to cherish something more than self-respect.
The enemy – dinks, gooks, Charlie – always finds ways to break up the monotony, however. Huddled among the vines with his M-16, Sauers witnesses the deadly hailstorm of bullets from the weapons of a seemingly disembodied and thoroughly inscrutable adversary.
F.N.G. reaches its climax when Sauers’ best friend’s lower torso is torn apart by a land mine, an event that destroys what little grasp of sanity Sauers has left. He plays out the remainder of his rotation in an evacuation hospital, suffering from the ubiquitous – and euphemistically termed – battle fatigue.