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(Cont. from Page-1, When Pointmen Collide) a short distance down this particular trail. The forest was extremely thick around us, and not even the birds were making noise as we silently moved like smoke.

Albee kept moving faster and faster. Up ahead I could see the trail bent to the left, the thick forest making a opaque wall, on each side, obstructing our view around the curve. Albee went around the curve, just as a fully outfitted NVA soldier came around the corner in the opposite direction. They met face to face colliding in the apex of the bend in the trail.

The three of us just behind Albee heard the collision. SCHMOPPP! It sounded like two 35 pound smoked hams being slapped together as hard as you could.

"F#%&!" said Albee, as he fell to his back holding his face, rolling on his rucksack like a turtle.

"AAIIEEE!" cried the NVA as he too fell backwards with the clatter of equipment.

The slack man and myself ran up the few steps to Albee's side, and looked at the two fallen troopers. As I looked up, I started to laugh at the incredible site of the two men writhing on the ground, blood coming from between their fingers. I realized I was looking into the eyes of another soldier -- an NVA soldier! He was just starting to laugh, too!

We all realized that this was one unfunny situation, and both the slack man and I whipped up our rifles and let
loose a magazine load in the direction of the NVA, as they did the same.

The combination of black humor, sheer terror, and the sudden dump of adrenaline was a combination of sensations I have never again duplicated. No one was hit on either side, and Albee and the other point man both crawled off to their respective sides. We recovered, then chased the enemy down the trail. We lost site of them in a few minutes, and returned to our laager for the night. We surmised that we had all been luckier
than hell, and took home the lesson: Never use the trail!

Hank Ortega

Viet Cong Detector
Central Highlands near Pleiku

by: John C. Chronister
SFC John Chronister
NCOIC, Awards and Casualty Branch
© 2006

 I served in Vietnam during 1967 - 1968 with the 4th src="https://www.war-stories.com/images/chronister-vc-detector-1-1967.jpg" target="_blank" alt="War-Stories.com" width="700" height="870">War-Stories.comInfantry   Division located in the Central Highlands near Pleiku. While   serving with the AG Division, I learned that the Division had a   homemade Viet Cong  Detector in the form of a hand crafted box with switches,  wires, etc which was routinely taken to nearby villages that  had volunteer VC informers. I managed to obtain a copy of  the diagram and instructions.

  I never witnessed it's actual use but I did hear that it was very impressive, and is a very interesting story.

SFC John Chronister
NCOIC, Awards and Casualty Branch

 [Discussing the above further, the way it would work would be to have an informant in the village, concealed, but where he could see the detector. Then you would announce all the men had to walk between the boxes and if the lights light up he was a Viet Cong! Of course the informant would push a button when a known-to-him VC walked near the detector. Pretty soon, the young men would take off running. The gadget apparently worked effectively for a while, but the temptation for an ugly informant to better his odds with the ladies as the only man left in town could prove too tempting. Heh-heh.]