I didn't know if it was fact or myth about corpsmen getting stalked and killed by tigers, so when I read it I spent some time poking around the internet further. I found this picture, w/ caption -- http://www.flickr.com/photos/13184821@N07/1356786008/
Thought I'd share -- scary stuff. This book is very good indeed, I particularly like how the political ambitions of leadership cause decisions to be made the screw the grunts -- symbolic of the entire war.
A friend of mine was a member of a Marine recon team that was attacked by a tiger in 1969 near the DMZ. He had a stack of great color photos he shot of his buddies holding the (huge!)tiger at the airstrip (I don't remember exactly where...I think one of the combat bases on Route 9). They had just gotten off the chopper--boonie hats and war paint...the tiger's feet were tied to a big pole and 4 Marines could barely lift it. I believe this was one of two or three incidents that the author of MATTERHORN based his fictional episode on. I don't recall if anybody got hurt in this one . In a tiger attack about a year earlier I think, a Marine was killed. I just looked at the Flickr photos you came across. This is definitely a different incident. The tiger in the photos I saw was quite a bit larger (also the pole)...I remember the faces very well, and this is for sure a different group of guys. Also, I'm positive my incident was in '69, not '70. Anyway, amazing stuff. --james
I stayed stateside in the Sixties, but I had been told by those who returned that tigers used to be afraid of gunfire, and ran away from firefights. Eventually, though, they learned it was good place to find "leftovers."
In my book, "The Rescue of Streetcar 304", I tell the story of my 39 hours being chased by the Pathet Lao in Laos. During the 2nd night, a tiger killed a prey close enough near me to hear them rolling on the ground in the jungle. The next day, a small leopard came within 8 feet of me (in hiding) but never got a whiff of me it appeared, and a few hours later I personally watched as two Pathet Lao shot a tiger that was on the limb of a fallen tree. Probably the same tiger from the night before.... It's all in my book....
Your book sounds great--I will definitely get a copy of it! My workout buddy is a retired USAF pilot who flew A-7s over Laos (as you probably know, the air force got a bunch of em from the navy). Glad you made it out in one piece despite the best efforts of leopards, tigers and Bad Guys.--james
Thanks James...The hardback sold out and it's now out in trade paperback but amazon still does have a few leftover hardbacks, and an audio version is forthcoming...according to my publisher. The funniest story in my book, I'm told, is about my encounter with a pig during my first night of evasion.... For info, many of the Air Force guys referred to the A-7 Corsiar II as the "Sluff"
Jim...I would agree but during my two nights and 39 hours while evading in the jungle of central Laos I didn't encounter a single snake....even though the area was known to have at least 5 species of venemous snakes. Guess God was watching over me....
Unfortunately, even an expended Light Anti-Armor Weapon (LAW) could be deadly. Once the weapon was fired, and if the tube was carelessly disposed of, the VC could collapse it, so it looked unused, and fill it with explosives, and booby trap it so if anyone found it laying around and picked it up, would become dead or maimed
The tigers I describe in my book were observed during my time on the ground in Laos in '68...while evading Phatet Lao and NVN troops near Tchepone, Laos after they shot my plane down. I actually saw one shot while it was on a fallen tree and watched as the tiger fell to the ground. It was hunting prey near-by during the previous night....
I am a Marine,,,,, who while in Vietnam had shot and killed a over 400 lb. tiger on the evening of may 9, 1970, this tiger was on his way to a mountain stream which flowed down into an area we Marines called Happy Valley, as the tiger came closer to our ambush site...he caught the smell of stinky "Grunts on the Ground"...he dropped into the high elephant grass..started creeping up to our site...we fired as the large tiger was ...maybe 15ft away, and probably hunting for himself, we fired and killed that beautiful animal....felt so sad about that incident, so i do whatever i can to help preserve tigers in the wild.
Robert... I'm a retired Navy pilot and I started the discussion. I felt bad once also. After being shot down and while evading Pathet Lao guerillas in Laos, I watched as they shot a tiger in a tree. They were using it for food I supposed. I wrote about that incident in my book, "The Rescue of Streetcar 304" and afterward I often wondered if anyone else had encountered tigers in SE Asia.