What follows is a rough draft excerpt from one of my stories, The Pirate Hunters and the World of Esperee'. I have modified for use here as the original version would not make much sense because of where it is se(sci-fi). The word they is often over used as in "They said" or "They did" without they being identified. They are identified in this excerpt.
Were the people who wore these patches as either pilots or crew chiefs and gunners or the corpsman who flew medevac with us. They were in their late teens or early twenties and were of all creeds and colors. They had hopes and dreams and plans for what they would do when they returned to the world.
They would drink together and try to top each others tales of what they did on R&R. They would argue and fight with each other after too much to drink and they might even think the other person is the biggest jerk in the squadron, but they were willing to risk their life to save his.
They didn't fly for GOD and country and moms apple pie or the American war effort in Viet Nam, they flew because they wanted to. Everyone of them were volunteers. Some flew for the adrenaline rush and some flew because of the Walter Mitty in all of us. You were flying in your Spad high over the trenches and your silk scarf was waving in the slipstream. It was the ultimate cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers. Now the analogy would be the ultimate video game, only we didn't get three lives for a quarter.
They were nineteen or twenty year old kids who were suddenly responsible for four other peoples lives. They had to talk a pilot into a hot lz while both gunners were shooting and charlie was shooting back. They were the ones who had to help the corpsman when he had too many medevac to handle. They had to listen to the wounded scream in pain and fear loud enough to be heard over the sound of the engines and rotors. They were the ones who watched people die on the floor of their aircraft and felt anger and frustration because they could not save them.
They watched other aircraft crash and even tho they were only hundreds of feet apart, they might as well have been a hundred miles away because they could not stop what was happening. Their only hope was to land afterwards and try to save those they could. They had a bond with each other that is only found where lives are risked
They had to have a faith and trust in a pilot to make decisions that could save everybody's lives on the aircraft in a split second and as pilots, they had to have faith and trust in the crew chiefs and gunners abilities. They knew that one would try to save the other until his last breath had left his body.
Sometimes because we are human, the decisions that were made were flawed and when that happened, everyone would feel a loss. Other times they would die because that is the nature of war, and that would also fill the ones who were left alive with a sense of loss.
Over the years that have passed since they were young men who were turned old by what they saw and did, they have watched as the ones who did not die in a far away land have slowly dwindled in number. When they read or he-- of another one who 1-r. died , they think back to the times they spent with him.
At times they are they are asked to remember the ones who died and to honor their memories by telling others about them. They think back and try to bring the memories forth to share with people. They try to convey what he was like to talk to and laugh with. They use words to try and turn a two dimensional picture into a three dimensional person.
They write words and as they read them, they find out the words cannot convey what he was like, so they erase them and try again, only to find out that these words have failed also. They try again and again, knowing they will never succeed, until finally they send the words they hope will describe him, but they know the words will fall short of the mark.
That night, lying in bed, they will stare into the darkness, reliving many of the memories that were brought forth until they drift into a restless and fitful sleep. Slowly over the next few Days, the memories will be returned to that special place where they are kept until They needs to bring them forth again.