Water Buffalo
Route 13, (N/Saigon) Ben Cat

by: Frank McClellan,
SFC US Army Retired

1st Bn 16th Infantry, 1st Division
Vietnam, 1965
(© 2000)

Water Buffalo Ambush! 1965

Sometimes there are humor stories in combat.

I still remember so clearly when we got in country. It was October 1965 and I was with the 1st Bn 16th Infantry, 1st Division. I guess you could say that we were the 1st combat Infantry unit given to search and destroy the VC and North Vietnam Army.

Well, we received our 1st incoming small arms fire on Route 13 (North of Saigon), and cleared an area at a place Called Ben Cat. We set up security such as claymore mines, wire, and whatever. Shortly around 0100 hours we heard loud noises in the Rice Paddies to the front of us and thought there must be a  Battalion size VC unit trying to get into the perimeter.

Well, we received the order to fire all weapons at ten minute intervals and to cease fire every 3 minutes. This went on until first light. When we could see the paddies clearly we saw that we had a kill of 19 -- water buffalos, that is.

We could not stop laughing for the rest of the day.  Needless to say that the owner of the cattle (Papa San) was pissed.

Frank McClellan,
SFC US Army Retired