June 8-9, 1969
Mail call was the highlight of most given days. Today was an extra special day because
I had received a package from home while out on my last mission. I already knew what was
in the package, but I still couldn’t wait to open it.
When we were not on LRRP missions we slept on cots in one of the large traditional rectangular canvas army tents. We normally kept the sides rolled up to stay cool and a wall of sandbags about 2 feet high to protect us from rocket or mortar attacks. During the rainy season, the ground stayed muddy all the time and we used pallets to make a dry floor for our tent.
LRRP’s almost by definition are cool and collected men. So when a fellow LRRP screamed in the middle of the night, my blood went cold. I heard something hit the canvas above my head and then thump beside my cot. I glanced down to see a rat that had been catapulted from my tent mate's leg, scurry back into the safety of the tent flooring. The next day, I wrote my folks and requested a special "package."
I finished unwrapping the package and they were exactly what I had requested. Rat Traps. No, these were not little mouse traps but heavy duty rat traps that could handle the invading rats that had infiltrated our tent flooring.
The first two nights we had 10 kills. War can be so satisfying when the enemy walks into your trap.
Later, when we broke down the camp at Mary Lou, I gave the traps to a Montagnard boy that helped us take down the tents. He was pleased with the gift and indicated that he would use the traps to catch food. Although the rats were plenty big enough to eat, I still prefer to believe we had a language barrier.
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