Author's Name: Matthew Kotraba

Title: "Chopper Count"

I was a twelve year old grade school kid who was aware of the current events and one of my interests was the activity over in Vietnam. I would watch the news and pay attention to daily events. I also had to pick up the Globe Democrat daily for my dad, it was seven cents then. I suddenly realized there was a story each day in the paper about the US and VietCong advancements. For some strange reason I became transfixed on the daily helicopter counts. It was amazing to read how many of our airships went down and with them a crew and young soldiers. It was sad and exciting at the same time, I wished I could be there.

I had a cousin there already and two older brothers, Kurt and Steve. They were sixteen and seventeen and I knew they would get their letters from Uncle Sam to sign up for the draft. It was right after the Tet offensive I realized this thing could go on awhile. That is when I changed my feelings and became afraid that they may be called up and one of those choppers could be carrying my brothers in a few years. I never joined the military and my brothers did get their draft numbers but never had to go, thank the good lord.