The Looking Glass Sea – A Rescue

A Rescue Most Ironic On the light cruiser USS Oklahoma City, we were crossing the Java Sea. We were bound south for Jakarta that morning. The equatorial waters were so warm and still that we seemed to be on some quiet pond rather than the furthest reaches of the Pacific. Only our ship disturbed the glassy water. In the distance, clouds rose and formed, and metamorphosed and puffed and spread with startling rapidity. They were mottled with pink and... Read More

The Enemy Within: A Saigon Odyssey

Darkness was thick on the Mekong River delta that night, making it difficult to keep my bearings, but I was able to orient myself by the light of shell flashes to the West, near Saigon.  The larger bursts were like cameraflashes, and my eye took pictures, etching onto my memory the sirensong beauty of the land we were about to quit in defeat.  A hundred or so Vietnamese refugees crowded the open deck of our vessel as we made our way past the Vungtao... Read More

The Fire of Rajastan Never Dies

THE FIRE OF RAJASTAN NEVER DIES “Fire is sacred to all the Rajputs, but especially to the desert people,” Prayag Singh said to me. “It burns within us, and never dies.” “Is that why you say you have the hottest chilies in all of India?” I asked jokingly. “Yes,” he said with a straight face. “You will see, perhaps, tonight in the village.” He spurred his camel to a quicker pace, and we followed... Read More