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         TUNNEL RATS      

by; Bob Neener Golf 2/9 Lima 3/3 1965-1966


Now hereís an interesting MOS that has no official designation.

Be all that you can Be 

               The Few,   The Proud,   The Tunnel Rats

Want to test your metal?

Want an adventure?

Want to scare the SHIT out of yourself?

Become a Tunnel Rat

Qualifications: SGT or below and small, weighing less than 160 lbs and no taller than 5í 7"

Us little Grunts always got the honors!

The tunnels in Nam, or tunnels anywhere in a WAR zone for that matter, have to be checked out. We always end up blowing the HELL Out of em, but, you never know, there may be documents, maps or other interesting material that can enhance our intelligence gathering mission, so you send in someone in to check it out before you blow it up, you send in a Tunnel Rat, I guess thatís why they always picked the most intelligent Grunts to go into those damn tunnels !!!!!!!!

Some of the tunnels we found in the Que Son Valley, actually led down into very large reinforced chambers. We once found an armory fully stocked with a lathe, machine tools and enough weapons and ammo for Battalion.

I was breaking in a Boot LT by the name of 2nd Lt Forrest Goodwin my last couple of months in NAM. He was with us maybe 4 weeks when we came upon a tunnel near Hill 81. We looked it over, it was narrow, about shoulder wide and appeared to go some distance from its opening, the ideal situation for the professional Tunnel Rat, and I had seen a few tunnels in my day, weighing in at almost 143 lbs and no taller than 5"7", I was perfect Tunnel Rat material..

LT Goodwin ordered me to check it out, so I asked him for his .45 sidearm (stating that "you canít easily go into a tunnel with an M-14") so he pulled this rusted hunk of steel from his holster. I swear to God his pistol had not been cleaned since it was first issued to him. It was as red with rust, as the red clay was on DaNang Air Base or any number of the surrounding hills.

I looked at the pistol, and looked at Lt Goodwin, then I took the pistol from his hand and pulled the slide back to chamber a round -- One minor problem, the slide locked up half way back and wouldnít move, the rust had gotten so bad the it just froze up.  So I calmly handed the pistol back to the LT and mumbled something along the lines of  "If that were my sidearm, you could have me Court Marshaled."

I then pulled a Grenade from my belt, pulled the pin, yelled "Fire in the Hole"  threw in the grenade in, and ran like hell (you never know if the tunnel contains ammo, which could trigger a larger explosion) so you always run like hell.

LT Goodwin never mentioned the incident again, and this episode successfully ended my career as a Tunnel Rat.

Simply put, Short Times donít make very good Tunnel Rats, we're too cautious!

By; Bob Neener                                                                                 G/2/9 - L/3/3  Vietnam 1965-1966