The Killing Zone Summary

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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…show more content…
The conditions in Vietnam are very harsh for Downs to endure; it is extremely hot and humid, and the bugs are miserable. On his way to his company he was clean shaven and very put together, and the men who surrounded him were absolutely filthy with cuts and dirt on them, while smelling horrendous. He gets questioned to why he was carrying so much with him in his pack because those extra few pounds will make a huge difference while having to climb through the jungle going from village to village. The quality of living is unimaginable having to be on guard 24/7 would only make things worse. While talking to the men in his platoon two hundred yards away a BAR was fired upon them and all the men threw themselves into the dirt in a defensive position. He asked one of the men next to him how he knew what exactly had been fired upon them and he writes, “Once I had been shot at with a particular weapon, I would never forget it, he causally remarked” (29). It blows my mind that this was an everyday life style for these men, and people actually volunteer for these kinds of things. One of his duties while being there is to burn down any village they came across. They didn’t harm the people at all, but they were ordered to destroy all of the dwellings. It didn’t matter if it was a whole village or a single hut; it was going to be demolished. This was a daily thing for him until him and his men were to guard a series of bridges

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