As Everyone Knows...

As everyone knows, snakes are a big part of living in Vietnam. At the last reunion in 2008, Jim Fillerup told a rat story after dinner, which reminded me of this snake incident.

When we first moved in to Bu Dop we had to wait for the Engineers to finish pushing up the berm around the gun area. We had already been assigned our positions, so while we were waiting, we began to unload our personal stuff along with the material to build ammo bunkers and our hooch’s.  I was Section Chief of # 1 gun. I and one of the guys in my section, Frank Baumgartner, were deathly afraid of snakes. As the Engineers got into our position, they were digging deep and moving a lot of dirt. Yes, you guessed it. They uncovered the biggest snake nest in the whole wide world. There were hundreds of them crawling on top of each other and moving swiftly in every direction. Not being a snake wrangler, but instead a U.S. Army trained killer, my instinct was to KILL!!!!

Frank and I jumped up on top of the pile of material so as to distance ourselves from those wiggling bastards. I grabbed my M-16 and a few clips, put it on full automatic, and proceeded to annihilate as many as I possibly could. In the meantime, Frank grabbed the 60 caliber machine gun, and in full Rambo style, (long before Rambo was cool) he wrapped the belt of ammo around his left arm, held the 60 with his right hand and sprayed that snake pit from top to bottom until the entire belt was gone.

After the smoke cleared, and the dust settled, there were a few that were still moving, but not as fast as before. What happened next, to me ,was truly amazing. The mamma-sons and their kids dove into that pit and started grabbing dinner like there was no tomorrow. There were a few families that day that would have some meat on their plates.

Later that day, as we were trying to get set up and get the bunkers built, (# 1 gun, was always closest to the in and out gate, in walked a rabid dog, foaming at the mouth. The Captain was in my section at the time and ordered me to shoot the dog before he bit any of us. I grabbed my 16, did the deed, and again a mamma-son dragged away dinner.   Never did hear if a rabid dog makes a good meal.

Ken Wright  Then  and   Now
April 1970 - March 1971
Charlie Battery 6/27th Artillery


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