We were moving as quietly as possible along the outskirts of a town believed to be home to a coca-producing operation. The idea was to get in close enough to observe and then bust everyone in one surprise movement.
I was in the fifth position as our squad used a small ditch for cover during the daylight raid.
The going was slow and to add to the situation, it had rained most of the night before and the ground had turned to a mud that caked itself all over everything. Now with the sun beating down, the rain turned to humidity which left each of us feeling drained.
We had stopped in order to catch our breath, have a swallow of canteen-warm water and to reassess our position in relationship with the village. I had jus’ finished moving up and down the line checking on my Marines when I was suddenly and violently struck in the back of the head.
The force of the blow knocked me off-balance and found myself scattered, face down in the muddy goo. I immediately thought I had been sniper shot from behind as did the Marines around me.
They were hunkered down, rifles at the ready, expecting to engage the enemy. However instead of gunfire, snickering could be heard coming from the men.
While it was a struggle, I managed to roll myself over and sit up. I saw one of the Marines pointing to a pile of rocks.
At first I didn’t know what he was pointing at — then I saw the slight movement of a child — maybe seven or eight years old. In his hand he had a slingshot — what I grew up knowing as a wrist-rocket.
The little shit had smacked me in the back of my helmet from a good 100 feet away.