Part 1

After Perry's dream of going to college is thwarted, he enlists to fight in the Vietnam War, where he becomes increasingly disillusioned with the war effort.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. specialist
    an expert devoted to one occupation or branch of learning
    Specialist Fifth Class Judy Duncan looked sharp in her dress uniform as she leaned against the Coke machine.
  2. infantry
    an army unit consisting of soldiers who fight on foot
    We picked up about fifty more guys in Anchorage, most of them infantry from Fort Lewis.
  3. military
    the armed forces of a nation
    We landed at a commercial airport because of some kind of disturbance at the military facilities.
  4. facility
    a building or place that provides a particular service
    We landed at a commercial airport because of some kind of disturbance at the military facilities.
  5. lieutenant
    a commissioned military officer
    A tall, square-shouldered first lieutenant gave out meal tickets, and we were told we could use them at the airport cafeteria.
  6. civilian
    a nonmilitary citizen
    The people at the cafeteria were civilians, and they didn’t want any part of our meal tickets.
  7. parasol
    a handheld collapsible source of shade
    I bought a few souvenirs to send home, a little parasol for Mom and some Japanese comics for my brother Ken.
  8. gear
    equipment consisting of miscellaneous articles
    “You will have your gear ready to deplane the moment we touch down."
  9. personnel
    group of people willing to obey orders
    “Medical personnel assigned to the Sixty-seventh Group or the 312th or the Twenty-third Battalion fall out and get in those buses over there."
  10. battalion
    an army unit consisting of a headquarters and companies
    “Medical personnel assigned to the Sixty-seventh Group or the 312th or the Twenty-third Battalion fall out and get in those buses over there."
  11. soldier
    an enlisted man or woman who serves in an army
    There were Vietnamese soldiers around, too.
  12. mingle
    bring or combine together or with something else
    “You know, mingle some blood."
  13. truce
    a state of peace agreed to between opponents
    “They’re supposed to be signing a truce or something in Paris."
  14. orientation
    a course introducing a new situation or environment
    “I heard that the orientation officer broke his ankle playing basketball.”
  15. quota
    a prescribed number
    “I got to kill eight more Cong before I get my quota."
  16. malaria
    a disease caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite
    Once a week for malaria, twice a week if you’re too stupid to remember the day you last took them.
  17. penicillin
    antibiotic used in the treatment of infections and diseases
    They got venereal diseases over here that eat penicillin for breakfast.
  18. ration
    the food allowance for one day
    Peewee looked out over the trucks, which were mostly packed with crates of rations and supplies.
  19. shroud
    cover as if with a burial garment
    In the other direction, where we thought the action would be, there were mountains shrouded in haze.
  20. shrapnel
    shell containing lead pellets that explodes in flight
    The captain who greeted us was wearing a flak jacket, the heavy vest that was supposed to stop bullets and shrapnel.
  21. corporal
    a noncommissioned officer in the armed forces
    We were told by a corporal that Alpha Company was “In the Deep.”
  22. colonel
    a commissioned officer in the Army or Air Force or Marines
    “My father’s a colonel,” Jenkins said.
  23. agitate
    move or cause to move back and forth
    They kept at it for a while, Peewee agitating until I felt that for him it was just some kind of sport.
  24. teem
    move in large numbers
    I could break the loneliness, the feeling of not belonging to the life that teemed around me, by going to the basketball courts.
  25. surveillance
    close observation of a person or group
    “You could get into surveillance with your test scores,” a lieutenant had said.
  26. silhouette
    an outline of a solid object as cast by its shadow
    On the very top they were black silhouettes against the sky.
  27. lope
    run easily
    They seemed to do a kind of slow lope, lifting their feet more than they had to.
  28. theology
    the rational and systematic study of religion
    “They said I can probably get into the theology school there but they can’t accept me formally until six months before my admission date.”
  29. smirk
    a smile expressing smugness or scorn instead of pleasure
    He had a smirk on his face.
  30. convoy
    a procession of land vehicles traveling together
    “They must have got a convoy,” Brunner said.
  31. flank
    the side of military or naval formation
    Third platoon’s responsibility is just to protect the left flank of the LZ.
  32. caliber
    diameter of a tube or gun barrel
    The .50 caliber started spitting, and the shells came out at an enormous rate.
  33. scurry
    rushing about hastily in an undignified way
    I saw something furry scurrying just outside the wire.
  34. draft
    compulsory military service
    “You got drafted?”
  35. enlist
    join the military
    " Enlisted.”
  36. waver
    emit unsteady sounds, alternating in amplitude or frequency
    Her voice was high and wavered uncertainly as she spoke.
  37. regiment
    army unit smaller than a division
    “They put three down on their reports, I send three in to Regiment.”
  38. lurch
    the act of moving forward suddenly
    Suddenly it picked up speed, wheels squealing, lurching from one side of the narrow street to the other.
  39. nauseous
    feeling about to vomit
    I was getting nauseous from the stink.
  40. stationery
    paper cut to an appropriate size for writing letters
    We had some gung-ho stationery, the kind with a picture of GIs jumping out of a chopper on it.
  41. tripod
    a three-legged rack used for support
    Scotty was leveling the legs of the tripod, and I jerked open the metal ammo case.
  42. plasma
    the watery fluid in which blood cells are suspended
    One guy had a plasma bottle strapped to his helmet.
  43. pacify
    ease the anger, agitation, or strong emotion of
    We came into the village to pacify the people who lived there.
Created on April 6, 2013 (updated July 24, 2018)

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