I spent 30 April forty-two years ago aboard the Oklahoma City sailing in the South China Sea. I was asleep most of that day, but when I was awake I was badgered by recollections. I began to suspect that some of them were of things that didn’t happen.
In the blog I posted yesterday, the forty-second anniversary of the fall of Saigon, I mentioned that by 29 April 1975, I was in such bad shape from lack of food and sleep that I was starting to hallucinate. Bob Hartley, Gary Hickman (the two communicators who volunteered to stay with me through the fall of Saigon), and I had been isolated in our office suite at Tan Son Nhat on the northern edge of the city for the better part of a week. We had run out of food and were on an alternating schedule of one guy resting for two hours while the other two worked. We couldn’t sleep because of the small arms fire and the shelling. Our compound was hit with rockets and artillery—the building next to us blew up and two Marine guards at our gate were killed.
After I got back to the states in mid-May, I was diagnosed with amoebic dysentery, ear damage, and pneumonia due to muscle fatigue, inadequate diet, and sleep deprivation. But at the time, all I knew was that I had to keep going.
I have memories I can’t verify. Were they waking nightmares or did they really happen?
I don’t write about what might have happened, only what I know happened. Yet these pseudo-memories still haunt me. They’ll remain leftovers from a brain sick from hunger and exhaustion.
I’ve never read of anyone else suffering from memories of things that might not have happened. If any of my readers can enlighten me, please do.