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  • Writer's pictureJoe Lyons

This Day in History By Doug Miller

December 31, 1969; Delta Company is still working in the same area where the day before we lost Marlin (KIA) and Young, Howard and Piccirillo (WIA). Ben Chua had always been a strong hold for the NVA/VC and a dangerous area to work. Late in the afternoon we decided on a location for our night ambush position.

It was a trail that showed some recent foot activity (Ho Chi Minh sandal prints). Ho Chi Minh sandals were worn by enemy soldiers. They were made from recycled tires. We waited until the last light to move into the AP (ambush position). We setup our claymores to cover the kill zone and placed mechanical claymores up and down the trail.

We called our position into TOC (tactical operations center) and plotted the location with Artillery (red legs) at Fire Base Kien. We established a watch schedule and remained at 100% until darkness fell. Throughout the night we could see and hear Night Hawks (helicopters fitted with infrared night vision and electric mini guns that fired 4,000 rounds a minute) working in the area.

They were used at night for close in support or when targets of opportunity were located. Suddenly, at approximately 0500 on January 1, 1970, one of the mechanical claymores detonated. We checked out the area but could only find the remains of a rabbit that apparently set off the device.

It wasn’t a good start to the New Year for the rabbit. I still have 217 days left in-country.


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