Cdr. Ausef- Fearless, Ausef would lead us into areas well watched by Communist gunners. As we crouched behind anything we could find, sniper's bullets tore through the leaves around us. Ausef stood upright, exposed, to show us where to step and what to avoid. The man had an aura of invincibility around him that infected his people. None of them were afraid of death. They laughed and joked under mortar fire. Ausef liked to get Communist gunners to fire on one another, a favorite trick. They loved to crawl up close to Communist posts and taunt the garrisons inside by bullhorn. Ausef staged volleyball games in ruins that provided just enough cover to protect the players from snipers but not enough to keep them from seeing a volleyball apexing briefly back and forth between unseen players. It was a game and it was fun, but it was a message too.

Here, Ausef displays weapons taken from a captured Communist post. Not only did they take the post, many of the garrison came over to his side. Under the weapons are stacks of papers tracking the loyalty of garrison conscripts to the Communist cause. Communist conscripts behind fortified walls could fight and play with Ausef or fight under suspicious officers imposing a Godless foreign ideology upon them. By 1988, they defected and came over in droves. Some of the men to the right of Ausef were former Communist soldiers. Their officers did not fare so well.

copyright 2005©David Dienstag
All Rights Reserved