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Vietnam Letters Fictional Writings Of A Tunnel Rat

2428 words - 10 pages

The following are a selection of letters written by Sergeant John (Fingers) Heart to his wife, family and friends. John served in the 1st Infantry in Vietnam and was a part of the special 'Tunnel Rat' squad set up by Captain Herbert Thornton, also of the 1st Infantry. Originally called "Tunnel Runners" by the 25th Infantry Division, and "Ferrets" by the Australian Army, the term "Tunnel Rat" soon became their official accepted name. The tunnel rats were among the bravest in Vietnam, doing a job that not many others could, or would care to do.2 January 1966Dear everybody,Well, once again it's a hot and steamy day in Vietnam. I have heard that in a few days we shall be entering on a search and destroy mission named Operation "Crimp" around the Ho Bo woods, just south of the Iron Triangle. There have been reports of numerous firefights however the enemy always seems to disappear and everyone is intrigued by what's going on down there. It has been very enjoyable lately and some of the men are getting used to the comfort. Hot food and cold beer is dropped by the helicopters every day! I even got to have a shower and a proper shave today and it feels great.A group of greenhorns have just joined the unit and are getting their crash course in Vietnam fighting. They are all in awe of Jack (the Ox) Woods, our machine gunner who must be at least 6"8 and as strong as a mallee bull which causes quite a lot of amusement among the old hands including the Ox himself. They still haven't caught on to the card tricks of "Swifty" Johnson, who must have been the most shady character ever back in the old life however is now a great asset to the unit with his quick wit and sense of humour. I haven't been given a worthwhile nickname yet though it is on my list of priorities as it seems to be a must have in this place. I am getting used to the steady beat of the artillery fire and have actually slept quite well for the past week or so.Captain Thornton has his own theories about the upcoming operation. He has been to the area before and speaks of underground cities controlled by the VC. The Captain claims that a Vietnamese man told him who had apparently been serving undercover. The main system is said to contain, kitchens, a field hospital, communications and operations centres, storerooms and even room for the performance of plays! It sounds to fabulous to be true however from the reports of the enemy disappearing into thin air it might not be too far from the truth.Other than that, I'm in fantastic form and feel really great. We often play a game of footy at the end of the day or at lunch time. I told some of the blokes about Dave's offer to play for Geelong and they all want to meet a real life footy star. Well got to go the lights disappearing fast. Take care and I'll write another letter once I arrive in camp for the operation,John12 January 1966Dear Anne,I am sorry that it has been a while since my last letter however we have been fervently searching for the tunnel...

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