The 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam: Unparalleled and Unequaled

By Ira A. Hunt | Go to book overview

Appendix C
The Story of a Booby-Trap Casualty

The battalion has the assault helicopter assets today and members of the 2nd Platoon Alpha Company are on the PZ waiting for the “slicks.” Amongst the 2nd Squad is PFC Jones, infantryman, in-country for six weeks. The assault helicopters arrive and the 2nd Platoon fills five slicks. As they lift off the PZ, the day’s reconnaissance in force has started. About 20 minutes later, the 30 combat infantrymen are inserted 300 meters from a nipa line along a canal on the edge of the Plain of Reeds. Upon insertion, the men hit the ground behind a paddy dike, but it is a cold LZ. The platoon leader is now issuing instructions to move to the north and check the nipa line. It is about 1100 hrs in the morning as the men are closing in toward some dense underbrush in the tall coconut trees. So far, there has been no fire, however, they can see bunkers interspersed amongst the edge of the foliage. The Tiger Scout who is walking point raises his hand, indicating something suspicious. Everyone halts, and the squad leader comes forward to see what’s up. A visual inspection indicates a trip-wire grenade booby trap carefully camouflaged amongst the foliage.

(The majority of all booby traps are detected in the early morning, when
troops are fresh. Many of the booby traps are detected by the several hun-
dred Tiger Scouts, former VC themselves with an intimate knowledge of
VC tactics and techniques, which the 9th Infantry Division has operating
with the troops in the field. 70% of all booby traps encountered are detect-
ed. 72% are trip-wire grenade types. 36% of all booby traps encountered
are in the jungle. Only 6% of these booby traps are covered by VC fire; that
is, 94% have no one covering them, or if the VC are covering them, they
don’t fire. The majority of all grenade booby traps are Chicom.)

-160-

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