Erick W. Miller
Let me explain briefly what a stand down is. It is simply a brief vacation for the infantry. The infantry does the real job of war which hasn’t changed much since primitive tribes were throwing rocks at each other. We earned our vacations and in reality, never got enough in Vietnam.
So there we were in a convoy on our way to stand down at Camp Eagle. We were on the road between Bastogne and Binningham. We considered this road safe. Hell, to us, anything outside of the mountains was considered the rear. This was a well traveled road, swept for mines daily with constant traffic and choppers overhead every few minutes.
Fortunately for me, I was in the third vehicle in line. The explosion was deafening. With pounding hearts and great sadness. Witnessed the Jeep at the head of the convoy fly straight up about twenty-five feet into the air. The mine they hit was probably meant for one of our trucks instead. Of course there were no survivors in the Jeep. As if this wasn’t enough of a tragedy, one of the men riding in the Jeep was going in to DEROS which meant that his tour was over. Those men died so our vacation could continue. Lord have mercy.
Erick W. Miller 13 Nov. 1997 Rewritten and revised 5 July 2002