Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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David Douglas Duncan

War

Vietnam
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Marine standing and crying amidst the cargo plane wreckage.

"A loaded C-130, machine-gunned during its final seconds in the air, skidded the length of the [Khe Sanh] runway in a fireball . . . and exploded . . . Rescue teams fought the holocaust with foam . . . [and] ignored suffocating heat and . . . danger . . . The fire chief, without even a mask, had tried to enter the cabin, but its roof collapsed just ahead of him. It had been hopeless from the start. Finally, the rescue team chief . . . stood exhausted by the hulk of the plane. And helpless tears streaked his face. [February 1968.]" War Without Heroes, pp. 216-220.