The War: Showdown at Khe Sanh

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The Morning Inspection. Inside the base, Marines waited shoulder to shoulder in their trenches, bunkers and fighting holes all around the half-mile-wide perimeter. Everything in Khe Sanh is dug in, even the trucks: when not rolling they are parked radiator-deep in inclines bulldozed into the red clay. A morning inspection of the rolls of concertina wire circling the camp is mandatory: one night a squad of North Vietnamese crept up, neatly cut a passage through for future use, and replaced it to look as though nothing had been disturbed. Each day, as they wait, the Marines dig in deeper, filling shiny grey sandbags and adding more layers atop their bunkers, preparing for the inevitable moment when Giap makes the ultimate test of Khe Sanh's defenses.

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