The men of O'Briens platoon carry a plethera of physical items which differentiate depending on their desires and needs. Besides carrying pounds of equipment and weapons, these men carry diseases and emotional scarring. What is truly astonishing is the weight of their experiences of the Vietnam as young men. Their minds are still developing, but being molded into jadded soldiers. Having to replay images of death in ones mind for the rest of his life is traumatizing. I would have tried to escape reality somehow similar to how Ted Lavender and Jimmy Cross do. Although Lavender uses drugs, which I do not condone, I can sympathize with the desire to numb the current situation. Finishing their term is probably the best feeling for all the men.
It was flight, a kind of fleeing, a kind of falling, falling higher and higher, spinning off the edge of the earth and beyond the sun and through the vast, silent vacuum where there were no burdens and where everything weighed exactly nothing- Gone! they screamed. I'm sorry but I'm gone! - and so at night, not quite dreaming, they gave themselves over to lightness, they were carried, they were purely borne (23).