Magazine article WLA ; War, Literature and the Arts

A Season for War

Magazine article WLA ; War, Literature and the Arts

A Season for War

Article excerpt

They had overcome him in the end, tenaciously... taking him down. Their heavy shots splashed into him.with that courageous passion peculiar to hunters.

-James Salter

Billy and I pot-shot what we mistook for a duck

back in 7th grade at Lake Kahola, Chase County.

The bird dove, surfaced for air, dove and surfaced again,

forced down by salvos of # 6 bird shot until it floated

and washed to shore. I presented the bird to my father

like a sinner's offering to his Priest and remember saying,

If it had flown, it might have lived. A loon, father said

without taking it. They don't often range in Kansas

and they're never in season. Last time I saw Billy was Da Nang.

A forward air controller flying O-1E Bird Dogs, he marked

VC positions with the bright smoke of white phosphorus

rockets.

I flew one mission. Rode the tandem seat. We packed M-16's.

He controlled the aircraft by working the stick with his

knees-

hands free to fire through pop-open windows. …

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