The Horrors of Vietnam Warfare

Charlie Bowman’s story “Picking up the bodies” is from April of 1967. During this time Bowman was outside of Chu Chi in the Wolfhounds company area. The Viet Cong had built an extensive network of tunnels underneath the city, which it used during the war to set booby traps and transport troops. In fact, Bowman nicknames the surrounding forest as “Booby Trap City”. The company returned to Chu Chi to help another Company that was under attack. Bowman discloses how when the he arrived, “everywhere [he] looked there were bodies, some missing pieces, some whole, and others just blown apart”. He expressed that “it was like watching a horror movie only 100 times [worse]”. The bodies were counted to 110 Viet Cong and then were buried with a bulldozer into a mass grave. Charlie Bowman’s experiences in the Vietnam War stayed with him long after he returned to the United States. He describes how “years later [he] would dream about those bodies”. As he aged, “the dreams [faded] some” and he no longer woke “up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat”. However, he believed that these memories “will never go away or end” and so he tried “to live with them best [he could], knowing one day they will end”.