It was Christmas Eve 1967, and a little more than a month before the Great Tet Offensive of 1968. 

The officers of our Heavy Field Artillery Battalion situated on a high hill just outside the city of Pleiku, Vietnam had volunteered to stand sentry duty so the enlisted men could enjoy a break that special evening. 

While walking our posts late that evening, a beautiful event transpired in the skies just above us.  A USAF "Puff the Magic Dragon" ground support 130 plane, bristling with machine guns and a cannon that normally spits its ammo in anger, this time brightened the sky with several flares just above the huge statue of the Virgin Mary and Child that stood atop of our hill and dominated the Pleiku skyline. 

It provided a majestic sight for the whole predominately Christian city of Pleiku to enjoy.  Moreover, it made a forever memorable Christmas image of peace and the meaning of Christmas in a nation otherwise overwhelmed by war.