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Gallery of War

Page 17

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Vietnam Coast 1968
Archival Print #V-GL104CH
(c)2003 L. Nollenberger

It was not long before we arrived off the coast of Nam. My buddy had been right. All we did was shoot, shoot, shoot and shoot some more. Eight hours a day I spent inside the mount. Exploding projectiles flew repeatedly over a sandy ridge that lined the majority of the coastline. We heard them explode but could not see the hits. Marine choppers would verify if we had hit the target. It was monotonous and noisy. We wore ear plugs but my ears still rang by the end of the shift. Even when off duty, sleep was nearly impossible due to the sound of the gun mounts blasting. The blasts echoed throughout the ship like a cannon in a wind tunnel. The battleship New Jersey had taken up position a few miles out of range of the ground to air missiles that were frequently aimed at ships at sea. And when her guns fired the sea shook with the force of an earthquake. If that was not bad enough, it was hot and it was humid. Sweat poured from our bodies almost constantly. This was Vietnam and this was war!