Headline:Old Soldier Fights For Vietnam

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Old Soldier Fights For Vietnam

October 10, 1972

Artist's rendition by Rocket staff artist Andrew B. Ericson

SAIGON - Reports have come to light that the Old Soldier, longtime superhero and ally of the United States, has impeded U.S. and South Vietnamese military progress, sparking accusations by some that the Soldier is aiding and abetting the enemy. However, military and civilian spokesmen here stress that the reports are unconfirmed, and there is no hard evidence whatsoever of the Soldier's presence in the strife-torn nation.

According to reports filed by men of the Third Battalion, Ninth Infantry Division, they were advancing under orders to secure the village of Dun Loc on September 20, when the Old Soldier appeared out of the jungle and demanded that they stand down and return to their home base. When NCOs ordered him to stand aside or be shot, he continued to block their progress, telling the men that if they wanted to enter the village, they'd have to shoot him to do so.

The unit's sergeant, whose name was not revealed by the authorities, chose to order his men to back down rather than engage in hostilities with such a respected figure. He and the men of his unit are currently under military arrest, awaiting investigation of the event and possible courts-martial.

"It was crazy," said one G.I. who claimed to be there, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We're just dogging along, seeing nothing, hearing nothing, then we come up near the village, and wham! All of a sudden, there he is, looking eight feet tall, made of granite and older than Mount Rushmore. When he said to stand down, man, that voice of his. You just want to do what he says, and throw in a salute while you're doing it."

The Old Soldier has not been seen since his disappearance at Pyongyang during the Korean conflict almost twenty years ago. Some experts on superhuman activity have suggested that if the men involved did see what they thought was the Soldier, it may have been an impostor, possibly with psionic or technological enhancements to duplicate the Soldier's distinctive effect on those around him. "They're doing amazing things with subsonic fields today," said Dr. Fabian Schoolcraft, author of Infernal Engines: How Technology Keeps Pace With the Superhuman. "A little unit, no bigger than my thumb and powered with a compact battery, could emit a field that would leave anyone in the area who wasn't shielded from it rattled, off-balance and open to suggestion. And that's just one way the Viet Cong could have faked up an ersatz Old Soldier, without even needing superhumans to do it."

Others suggest that the soldiers involved were simply lying. "They're a disgrace," said General Chauncey T. Rummolds (ret.). "A disgrace to their uniforms, a disgrace to their nation, and a disgrace to all right-thinking people everywhere. They're cowards, that's the real truth of it. Too chicken-scared to carry out their orders, so they made up a lie, smearing the memory of a gallant and uncompromisingly loyal warrior like the Old Soldier. I was at Normandy with the Soldier. I knew the man. It's a base lie, and a sad commentary on the state of American manhood. It disgusts me."

However, sources in the Administration indicate that the Pentagon is taking these charges quite seriously, averring that the men's stories don't vary in any significant details, and all the verifiable aspects of the reports do check out. There has long been a suspicion that the Old Soldier is not dead, but only awaiting the next time he was needed, and [OLD SOLDIER, p. A12]

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