© 2006) by T.J. McGinley,
Tiger Force
1/327/101  Abn. Div. VN – 1968-1969


Jammed -1968

After years of fighting the Chinese, Japanese, French, and finally, the Americans, the Vietnamese had established a trail and tunnel systems throughout the country of South Vietnam that was complex, deep, and well used. 

One day in June of 1968, we came upon such a trail.  It snaked through the jungle for several miles and in some places was more then seven feet deep and four feet wide. We set up an ambush over looking such a ravine and waited.

The way an ambush was set up was that the first thing an enemy solider would hit would be a well-concealed trip flare wire, which would alarm us of his presence.  After tripping the flare, he was faced with two claymore mines.  Claymores are electronically controlled devices designed to blast in one direction and totally destroy everything in that direction for several yards.

Then there was us, maybe twelve men armed to the teeth with all the weapons of the day and plenty of ammo, lying in silence.
In a flash, our wait was over and the trip flare popped and both claymores exploded.  At times like this, you shoot first and ask questions later.  We were giving it all we had for a while, when the order came down to cease firing.

In the ravine directly in front of us, we heard some rustling, this soldier was smart enough to have run toward us, rather than away from us where he surely would have been killed. A shot rang out then a metallic click and a voice, cursing in his native tongue, the North Vietnamese soldier was alone and his weapon had jammed.  He was in a tight spot and he knew it.

We started firing, and again the order to cease firing came down. All combat soldiers know what it’s like to experience a jammed weapon in a firefight. We heard another single shot, click and more cursing in Vietnamese. 

After a few moments of laughter from both sides, the young North Vietnamese soldier slipped away. We all cheered him for his heroics.

I personally had a great deal of respect for these courageous fighters and never made the mistake of underestimating their bravery under fire.

T.J. McGinley
Tiger Force
1/327/101  Abn.Div. VN – 68-69