Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Last thought from a dying soldier

I was reading George Wilson’s Mud Soldiers the other day, and this exchange, at end of a hard fight in Vietnam in March 1966, struck me. Kroah heard a shout from First Lieutenant Steinberg, commander of the 4th Platoon. ‘I need some help over here!’ ‘George, I can’t help you,’ Kroah shouted back. ‘I’ve been ...

Beverly & Pack / Flickr.com
Beverly & Pack / Flickr.com
Beverly & Pack / Flickr.com

I was reading George Wilson's Mud Soldiers the other day, and this exchange, at end of a hard fight in Vietnam in March 1966, struck me.

Kroah heard a shout from First Lieutenant Steinberg, commander of the 4th Platoon. 'I need some help over here!'

'George, I can't help you,' Kroah shouted back. ‘I've been hit five times.'

I was reading George Wilson’s Mud Soldiers the other day, and this exchange, at end of a hard fight in Vietnam in March 1966, struck me.

Kroah heard a shout from First Lieutenant Steinberg, commander of the 4th Platoon. ‘I need some help over here!’

‘George, I can’t help you,’ Kroah shouted back. ‘I’ve been hit five times.’

I’ve been hit seven,’ Steinberg replied.

‘Always the bullshitter, huh, George?’

‘No bullshit, man.’

And it wasn’t. Steinberg died with those words."

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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