What were Tunnel Rats in Vietnam?

Tunnel rats were usually soldiers who were physically small—able to fit inside the tight spaces of the Viet Cong tunnels. They traveled light, carrying only a pistol, a knife and a flashlight.

What did a tunnel rat do in Vietnam?

The tunnel rats were American, Australian, New Zealander, and South Vietnamese soldiers who performed underground search and destroy missions during the Vietnam War. Later, similar teams were used by the Soviet Army during the Soviet–Afghan War and by the Israel Defense Forces in campaigns in the Middle East.

What was the life expectancy of a tunnel rat in Vietnam?

The life expectancy of a tunnel rat is about two seconds.” Garza described the underground tunnels as treacherous. “You would go into a hole and come out 10 or 15 miles away. There were houses down there and hospitals,” Garza noted.

How many tunnel rats were killed in Vietnam?

That both sets of men had to endure this life is appalling. There were never more than 100 Tunnel Rats in country at any one time and around 700 in total. There were 36 killed and 200 wounded.

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What percentage of tunnel rats died?

A tunnel rat checks out a possible ventilation shaft. Marrett reportedly spent weeks in the bush locating and disarming mines, “During that period 36 of us were killed and around 200 were wounded, giving us a casualty rate of 33 percent, high even by Vietnam War standards.

Why are punji sticks banned?

To make the Punji sticks more dangerous and poisonous, the Vietnamese army laced sharpened tips of sticks with toxic plants, animal urine, frogs, or even human faeces, to cause infection. … The use of punji sticks in any act of conflict is banned from use under the 1980 Geneva Convention.

Are Tunnel Rats still used today?

Today, some of the tunnels used in the war still exist, preserved and maintained by the Vietnamese government. Visitors can crawl through sections of the tunnels used by Vietcong troops and Tunnel Rats alike – but now, at least, there are no mines, booby traps or poisonous snakes to contend with!

Who was the most decorated soldier in Vietnam?

He earned 38 military decorations during his career, and has been called the most decorated U.S. soldier of the Vietnam War.

Jorge Otero Barreto
Years of service 1959–1970
Rank Sergeant First Class
Unit 101st Airborne 25th Infantry 82nd Airborne 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team
Battles/wars Vietnam War ( WIA )

How long did drafted soldiers serve in Vietnam?

The draft was far from ideal as a source of military manpower. Because draftees served only for two years, it was not worthwhile putting them through long training programs. The technical specialties had to be filled with volunteers.

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Are there still prisoners of war from Vietnam?

The Vietnam POW/MIA issue is unique for a number of reasons. … As of 2015, more than 1,600 of those were still “unaccounted-for.” The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) of the U.S. Department of Defense lists 687 U.S. POWs as having returned alive from the Vietnam War.

What unit saw the most combat in Vietnam?

Activated in 1915, as the 173rd Infantry Brigade, the unit saw service in World War II but is best known for its actions during the Vietnam War.

How many soldiers were bitten by snakes in Vietnam?

The United States Archives and other sources suggest that between 25 and 50 American soldiers a year were bitten by snakes during the war in Vietnam. Some 10,786 American soldiers died of non-combat causes, including 9,107 by accidents and 938 due to illness.

What were the odds of surviving Vietnam?

According to the book Dirty Little Secrets of the Vietnam War, approximately 2.7 million American men and women served in the Vietnam War. About 1.8% were killed in action (KIA) or 18 out of every 1000. About 5.6% were seriously wounded and survived or 56 out of every 1000.

How did the Viet Cong dig tunnels?

“During the monsoon season, the Viet Cong were able to dig the tunnels by hand in the moist clayey soil,” Olson explains. “The alluvial terrace soils were degraded in a tropical climate for thousands of years. … “The soil tunnels became stable, resilient, and hard to destroy with bombs.

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What is a sapper in Vietnam?

Surprise attacks by elite Communist units known as sappers were one of the most serious—and feared—threats to Americans in Vietnam. … Under an umbrella of NVA mortar fire, the sappers raced through the compound tossing gas grenades and canvas satchels loaded with explosives.

How many helicopters were lost in Vietnam?

According to the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association, a total of 11,846 helicopters were shot down or crashed during the war, resulting in nearly 5,000 American pilots and crew killed.