The book, ‘The Killing Zone’ by Frederick Downs, is an autobiography of his own experiences in the war of Vietnam 1967. He splits the book into multiple sections and is in the format of diary inserts describing his journey from start to finish of his time in Asia and his physical and mental incidents. The first chapter is titles ‘The Bridges’ and his journal entries start September 8, 1967 when he arrives to Vietnam. He describes looking down at the war zone and being surprised by how many lights were actually illuminated and that the aircraft to be shot down. Downs didn’t expect the war zone to look so inhabited and visible from the skies. He thought that he was physically prepared for what he was getting himself into, but mentally he
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As Downs checked in with his Sergeant, he receives all of his gear, weaponry, and paperwork. He was told that he had to attend a three-day training class before he could be assigned to the field, which thoroughly upset Downs considering that he had been training for over a year and a half, and was very eager to just get out into the field and see action.
What really stood out to me was a section where he described a night before heading out into the depths of Vietnam. He was sleeping on a cot and decided to sleep fully clothed but removed his boots so he would be more comfortable. Downs said that it would be the last time that he would ever be able to sleep with his boots off while being in Vietnam. If something happened in the middle of the night, he wouldn’t have time to lace up his boot. It makes me really think about the things that I take for granted in my life, where I can come home and just kick off my shoes and plop down on the couch. He had to endure so much being in Vietnam and especially the aftermath of the war having to relearn how to live. Reading books like this puts into perspective how easy my life is and how much I take for granted. If something awakes me in the middle of the night, I get frustrated knowing that I have to be awake in a few hours. In his position, not