"We Gotta Get Out
of This Place"
In a youth culture dominated by rock 'n'roll, "We Gotta Get Out of This Place, "sung by a British group called The Animals, was one of the most popular songs for troops in Vietnam. Its title alone expressed what was on the mind of even the most ardent soldier. In a war in which each of us knew from the day we arrived in country the date on which we could expect to leave, getting out of Vietnam was what almost all of us longed for.
We looked forward to the day when we could consider ourselves "short," when we'd be "two-digit midgets"—have under a hundred days left in country—when we'd need, as we joked, a stepladder to get into bed and a parachute to get out.
Our time in Vietnam, though, was not without its diversions. Letters to and from those we loved were our lifeline to the World Holidays were emotional anchors that we celebrated as best we could R&R—five- or six-day jaunts to such places as Bangkok or Hong Kong or Hawaii—were anticipated eagerly But getting home was our goal.____________________