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Tet 196814928 Reads  Printer-friendly page

VietnamIt has been 36 years since the tet offensive of 1968 broke out. However each year since then I remember my first time under fire, and what a mess I made of it. I arrived in country in September 1967, I was an 11B primary MOS. In Cam Ranh Bay I received orders for a military intelligence unit.
Boy did I have some delusions of grandeur thought I would be doing the snoop and creep looking for intelligence. The joke was on me. I was assigned to Security Platoon that provided security for the MI unit.

We were all 11B's except for the Platoon Leader, he was an MI type and as we were later find out, he didn't know squat about about Infantry tactics. Man I had it made there, no kidding, all we did was perimeter guard, gate guard, tower guard, guarded the detainees brought in for questioning, and once a week we would do a one click patrol around the compound.

I had not fired my weapon in anger until 3:10 in the morning on January 31st 1968. Man I was true FNG when that broke out. Hearing mortars being fired and not knowing what it was since I had not heard it yet, forgetting to take my M-14 off safe, and trying to fire it, not being able to focus on what was being said to me, I just knew I had to duck down and keep low in the guard tower I was in. Watching our mess hall getting half blown up, feeling the beating of all the pulses in my body, the way time seemed to slow down, but was actually going fast.

So I failed my first test under fire, but I was much better prepared when the May offensive in 1968 kicked off.
Note: by Robert Ryan, 525th Military Intelligence Group


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