He touched her picture once through his fatigue shirt pocket as he finished checking his gear, the plane’s engines lulling him into a state not quite sleepy, but not quite alert either. The last order of business was the freshly oiled and loaded Thompson that he unslung from his shoulder. He gave the weapon a once over before replacing it around his neck. His .45 automatic side arm was safely ensconced in a left belt holster. It was dark outside the Skytrain’s windows, the people below using their blackout curtains to their full effect.
The craggy and scarred face of his platoon sergeant broke through his reverie. “Five minutes to Drop Zone, LT.”
He nodded, standing up as tall as he could in the cabin. He swallowed hard, clearing his throat to get attention. “Troops, listen up. We have a job to do so let’s get it done. The sooner we finish, the sooner we go home.” The overhead lights blinked once, then twice. “On your feet.”
He gave his parachute one final check as his sergeant opened the plane’s door. A whistling wind entered the cabin, teasing them with promises of glorious victory…or agonizing defeat. He stepped forward and placed his hands on both sides of the doorway and took a deep breath. Now or never, Virgil, he thought.
He pushed himself through the doorway and into the black.