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I was thinking “we gotta be close.” My land navigation skills are sufficient and via pace count and time I knew we were in the area. We had been moving through the jungle for close to two hours. We were being relatively quiet – not bad for close to 25 guys. The Malaysians carried next to nothing and the Americans had their standard fare – roughly 65-90lbs of equipment. As I alluded to in my last chronicle, our standing joke is 3000lbs of light weight gear. I had on Night Observation Devices (NODs). They were second generation so wipe all that Zero Dark Thirty equipment out of your head. These were monocular and did not adjust to depth, meaning that if you wanted to look at your map you had to reach up and adjust them, then readjust them for moving. And when moving they worked for longer range looking vice what is happening at your feet. I saw some serious headers taken by guys wearing NODs. And you haven’t really lived until you’ve fallen with your ruck on, driving your head into the ground whilst wearing said NODs.
We had sent out the Landing Zone (LZ) link up team hours earlier. Just before dark Sgt. Johnny had come back confirming the link up point. Earlier in the afternoon we finished drying out, ate (including some delicious wild mangoes and papayas) and finalized our plan. As Early Evening Nautical Twilight – EENT came on (because saying “dusk” is so arduous) we rucked up and started moving. The Malay’s tactics were fast and light and they moved OUT. We slowed them down as our tactics are slow and deliberate. There is a debate to be had about this but this is not the time nor place.