When I arrived atop the bunker I found him wrapped in his poncho, with his chin firmly embedded in his chest. I could see his eyes closed in the available light emitted by moonglow, stars, and drifting flares. He did not stir even when I shook him by the shoulder and spoke in a normal voice. I would have thought him dead but for his snoring.
Failing to wake him I pondered the situation for a few moments. Seeing that there was no immediate threat, I called the Command Post (CP) on the bunker's field phone and requested that the senior officer join me.
He too climbed the bunker with the same results. Sitting there surrounded by the sleeping guards we discussed the situation at length. He was prepared to file charges, but I cited the problems in courts martial for sleeping on guard duty to dissuade him. How, I asked, could be be sure which guard was supposed to be awake, since we allowed the teams to set their own schedules of who was to be awake and who was to be asleep? I suggested that we simply teach them a lesson and, maybe, allow them to decide who was at fault and apply punishment as they saw fit.
He and I removed all weapons from the bunker. Thank God, we weren't Viet Cong. We were very inept at it. I forgot that a belt of ammunition was attached to the machine gun and it rattled loudly against the ammo can when I tried to pick up the weapon. The other officer fell off the bunker as we were working and landed on the sandbags stacked around the base with a sound similar to a car running into a fence. Even so, we were able to remove both machine guns, all personal weapons, and the detonators for the claymore mines that surrounded the bunker.
After returning to the CP with our loot, we watched the sleeping men atop the bunker through starlight scopes as the sergeant of the guard rang them on the field phone. It rang a very long time. We could here it above the curses of the sergeant who was growing tired cranking his instrument until the guard who had been sitting behind the machine gun looked around groggily and finally answered.
The sergeant followed the script we had given him saying that Ground Surveillance Radar (I believed that I had heard of such a thing) had detected movement near his position and that he should watch out for anyone lurking nearby.
We waited awhile until the sergeant made his second call. Again, following our script, he told the guard that he should recon by fire – that is, fire a few rounds to see if anyone returned fire or reacted in some other way. We waited and watched. The guard lifted the poncho that had been covering his machine gun and we could see his body tense. Looking frantically left and right he stood up and tossed the poncho off the bunker. His buddies were awakened by the commotion and there was a hurried conference that we could not hear, and they left the top and entered the bunker where we had stolen their second machine gun.
Again, the sergeant called asking why the man hadn't fired. He lied. He claimed the gun had jammed, and the sergeant ordered him to fire a claymore mine. Of course, he couldn't; we had taken the detonators.
Finally, we walked to the bunker and explained what had happened. The guards began to argue among themselves as to who was supposed to be awake, and the man we had found sitting at the machine gun claimed that he had been awake the whole time.
We calmly explained that we were not going to file charges. However, our experience had taught us that the difficulty of climbing up and down the bunker in the dark and that we would not be surprised if one of them might also fall as the officer in charge had done. We advised them to be careful as someone could suffer injuries.
No one else fell that night nor did any of them sleep. Apparently, our suggestion was simply too subtle.