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A Root Beer Float

by Private First Class Steve Haisley

Hotel Company, BLT 2/26

"This is something that I wrote to honor PFC Doug Impson.

"It was printed in a Chicago area newspaper several years ago on Memorial Day. At the time it was printed, I had not yet had the opportunity to meet Doug's brother.

"I was wounded at LZ Margo and spent nearly 6 months in the hospital.​"

PFC Steve Haisley

Weapons Platoon, "H" Co, 2/26

A Conversation in the Jungle

We met on the afternoon of September 15, 1968.


We were both 19-year old Marines who were part of a battalion size operation in the hills of South Vietnam near the DMZ.


I don’t remember why we struck up a conversation that day, but I remember talking about home, how hot it was, and how nice it would be to have an ice cold root beer float.

I also remember you telling me that your nickname was Swampy. We talked for several minutes and parted ways.


Later that night our perimeter was probed by the NVA and you were killed.

An ornament of a root beer float.

For decades our conversation has haunted me. Why do I remember the trivial things we talked about that fateful day, but not your face?


Through the marvels of the Internet and a great deal of detective work, I was finally able to determine your name. I was also able to correspond with a friend of your family and your sister. Your sister and I e-mailed back and forth several times, but she told me that she couldn’t talk to me on the phone because the pain is still too great.

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