American Tunnel Rat Essay

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Tunnel rat- A specially trained Soldier who entered into man made tunnels in Vietnam to search for equipment, documents and prisoners. The American tunnel rat had to crawl or slide through long, narrow and most of the time pitch black tunnels. They faced death every time they entered a tunnel. The tunnels contained various items such as booby traps, mines, snakes and rats. In damp black holes made for slim Vietnamese Soldiers, most American tunnel rats found the tunnels to be claustrophobic panic almost uncontrollable (Bykofsky, 1985, April 30) Being this was a volunteer mission, anyone who had volunteered their services could also un-volunteer their services could walk away at any time (Rotmman, 2012). The tunnel rat conducted anywhere …show more content…

Military Assistance Commander in Vietnam (MACV) had decided to launch what was described as the largest and most destructive operation (Operation Cedar Falls) in the conflict. MACV had incorporated lessons learned during Operation CRIMP in a document that spelled out recommended techniques to detect and destroy tunnel complexes, especially those found in the war zones and Viet Cong bases.(Traas, 2010) The Cu Chi district was known as the Iron Triangle. The Iron Triangle was 60 square miles of wooded area. The American, Australians and South Vietnamese forces controlled the area during the day but the Viet Cong owned the area at night. On January 9th, 1967 Operation Cedar Falls was launched. It was designed to attack the Communist stronghold of Binh Duong province north of Saigon near the Cambodian border after hearing reports of a network of tunnels. (History, n.d.) The sweeps uncovered many tunnel systems. Over the next three weeks the tunnel rats worked daily to clear these sophisticated tunnels, some even under allied bases. On 18 January 1967, the tunnel rats had discovered a tunnel complex that had over half a million enemy documents. When the operation was complete, there were 750 confirmed enemy kills, as opposed to 72 American casualties. The U.S. Army destroyed over 525 tunnels and knocked out all of the Viet Cong’s medical facilities. (Mangold, 1985) These Soldiers earned the respect of the Viet

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