Skip to main content

Chapter 3 - Jungle Warfare

This first appeared in the Lumberjack News of Eureka, California and in 1964 in the Redwood Ripsaw. Ye editor was the author of this book.

Gee Whiz Two, (Army Intelligence) had just called me back into service on account of I was in the army 45 years ago, and having been a lumberjack for fifty years ago, they figured I would understand jungle warfare, and would be just the cookie for Vietnam.

I understood jungle warfare all right, because I well remember one time in the early 1920s when a bunch of us Wobblies hit the jungles under the bridge in Fargo, North Dakota that was occupied by a lot of "Big Hoosiers" (Not necessarily from Indiana). These Big Hoosiers didn't like us Wobblies because we were "Reds" so there was hell to pay for a while and when the dust settled the big Hoosiers were gone and the "Wise Guys" (Wobblies) had the jungles. Yessir! I knew about jungle fighting all right!

So now, the column wends its way thru the brush over in Vietnam with me representing Army Gee Whiz Two walking beside the Looie who is in charge of this column of infantry.[1] I have a big blue arm band on to identify me as Gee Whiz 2. We are just now entering a village in a clearing and some of the natives are making brick with a new process using hemp instead of straw for binders. Other are tending crops, and still others are clearing more land in order to increase acreage.

The Looie halth the column and asks: "who is in charge here?"

A man who I making bricks steps up and says, "I am the mayor, so what's on your mind?"

"Well," says the Looie, "we are supposed to find out if you have any Communists here, and if you do have, we are supposed to burn the village and take you people to a strategic village where you can live in peace."

"Now then" says the mayor, "what ELSE were you told to do over here?"

The Looie says: "Well, we are supposed to find the former owners of this land, bring them back here, and restore freedom to you again."

The Mayor takes a deep breath and says: "Why dont you go back home and burn New York down as I hear They have Communists there too. You can always make a strategic village out of Yonkers, that is unless there are Communist there too. As to finding the former owners of this land and restoring 'Freedom' to us again, no thanks, we have had enough freedom, if thats what you call it. The Looie calls the platoon to attention and gives orders to burn the village and about that time to brush comes alive and suddenly we find ourselves surrounded by Viet Cong!"

They are armed with wicked looking French Chasspots. These are just French muskets, but just the same I don't like the smell of things around here! The Mayor says, "All right Mr. Looie, you take your platoon to hell out of here, but lay those tommy guns down first as we need them in our business here."

One of the Viet Cong guys hollers, "Hey chief, lookit that guy with the blue arm band on, he is REALLY a big Hoosier!" This leads me to believe I am on the wrong side in this hassle!

Footnote

[1] Looie = Lieutenant.