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Tunnel Rat Pistol: The QSP Revolver

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June 23, 2011

Tunnel Rat Pistol: The QSP Revolver

By David E. Petzal

I’m indebted to John Blauvelt for this post, but first, a note from Mr. Jerry Wagoner of West Virginia, who informs me that New York’s disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner will shortly announce that he is running for President, and that his running mate will be Attorney General Eric Holder. Mr. Wagoner advises all of us to get our Weiner/Holder bumper stickers now before they’re all gone.

One of the most bizarre—and scariest—jobs to evolve in the Vietnam War was that of tunnel rat. Soldiers who drew that straw were small in stature and big in courage, as it was their job to crawl into the elaborate mazes that the Viet Cong called home and see what was what, and that frequently involved killing someone who had stayed behind to kill them, in the dark, from a couple of feet.

Tunnel rats quickly discovered that the Model 1911 .45 was not the ideal gun for the job—in an enclosed space its muzzle flash and report would leave a soldier deaf and blind. One solution was the Quiet Special Purpose Revolver, a highly modified S&W Model 29 .44 magnum. The standard barrel was replaced with a 1.372-inch-long unrifled tube, and the cylinder was bored out to accept six massive steel cartridges, each loaded with 15 tungsten-steel shot that developed a muzzle velocity of 750 fps.

The pellets were contained in a sabot, which was propelled by a primer—there was no powder charge—and the result was no flash and about as much noise as a cap pistol. Only 10 of the revolvers were made, and while they were lethal, they lacked the stopping power of the .45 ACP and there were reliability problems, so tunnel rats stuck with the old Model 1911 or whatever else they could scrounge.

If you’d like to read more, there’s a very good article on the QSPR called “The Bang in the Dark,” by Kevin Dockery in Vol. 5, No. 9 of The Small Arms Review. I couldn’t get it online, but maybe you can. And if there are any former tunnel rats reading this, pass in review.

Comments (45)

Top Rated
All Comments
from Amflyer wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

Wow. That would take some courage to crawl into those places. I imagine there was a fair amount of newly claustrophobic soldiers as a result.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

Imagine a full house load in a 44 Mag with a 1.372 barrel, if the bullet didn't get'ya, the blast and flaming flash will!

Yes Officer, that's him the one with scorched eyebrows and mustache!

Every so often at a DAV meeting, I'll run across someone with a cluster of Vietnam ribbons, a tiny white rat is hanging from the front of the cap.

What our Servicemen went through we will not ever hear all the horrific stories of heroism and those staying behind to aid and comfort the fallen.

There's another side to all of this we will never hear about. The heroism of the Cold War Veterans who died a paralyzing and horrific death to keep this Country safe.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from RipperIII wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

I once took a group of friends on a deep sea fishing trip down in the Gulf of Mexico.
we had a good Captain, he was loud, foul mouthed and intensely interested in our dates, but he got us into fish all day, his first mate was a diminutive man of about 5'6" and maybe 150# of lean ripped muscle.
He was the polar opposite of the Captain, never smiled, hardly spoke, and moved with the quick stealth of bob cat, and although he was extremely helpful in spotting fish and helping with the other chores, he was a bit unnerving in his demeanor and his ability to disappear and reappear randomly on that boat.
He sported two tattoos, one was the U.S.M.C. seal, the other was somewhat of a mystery.
I asked the Captain about it, and he informed me that his first mate had been a "tunnel rat".
It all made sense.
I respected that dude a great deal, as did the Captain, but it seemed that the guy bore the baggage of a very difficult duty.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from hengst wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Had to stop reading to tell some buddies that weiner/holder will be on the ticket...thats a good one.

Thanks for bringing up that little gem of a pistol and history behind it.

Vietnam vets have had my respect, thanks and admiration since I was a kid. The last few years or so I have gained even more respect for them and their actions.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

There was at least one advantage to being 6'5" tall. Sa-lute!

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I can only imagine!
Nothing else to say! I just can't imagine what being a "tunnel rat" was all about! My utmost respect for those guys!!

Bubba

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from bluegraytx wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

... even years later I still get the heebie-jeebies thinking about the tunnel rat job. I have tremendous respect for those assigned this duty, but I would have voluntered to let a firing squad use me for target practice before I'd crawl into one of those tunnels.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from CHKILCHII wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Ive got a buddy who was in the Army as a Ranger in Vietnam, he tells me that many of the airborn were issued .38's, which lacked the power that these fighting men wanted, so they would send home for .357 Magnums.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Must have been one hell of a primer charge to get 750 fps and lethality from a bunch of tungsten balls in a half in bbl.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from hillbillytoo wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Had a buddy in college, nick name Spider. Dropped out of school, went into the army, became a tunnel rat. His name is on the Wall. He was small, but all man.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from krwheeler wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I worked at the wyoming State Pen for a couple of years. One of my shift supervisors was a former tunnel rat. He was one of the most respected shift commanders at the Pen. Unfortunately he resigned when the State of Wyoming proved that it was too stupid to run a penitentiary.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from cesslin wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Through an enormous random stroke of luck, my friend and I found ourselves to be two of the very first Americans allowed into Vietnam, when that country started issuing tourist visas to Americans in September 1987. While in the South---we later went to Hanoi on that trip---we asked our government guides to go to the famous tunnels of Cu Chi. Permission was granted a day later.

Cu Chi had been opened to Soviet visitors and Vietnamese, but they mostly just listened to a lecture from a dour, stiff, middle-aged lady who had been in the tunnels during the war. She gave us, and some schoolchildren, the lecture, and then our guides took us to a tunnel entrance. Things were so poorly organized that they had no flashlights, so we entered by feeling our way along in absolute blackness. Every few feet we would fire off the flash on our cameras, and descend, or ascend, to another level, and feel our way further along on hands and knees.

I kept thinking about our soldiers who did this, not knowing when there would be the flash from the muzzle of a gun, a bite of a poison snake, or a pit with punji stakes.

We emerged after about 300 yards underground, remarking about how insanely tight the tunnels were. Oh no, said our guides, we had to dig them out to twice their real size so you westerners could fit.

I'm told that today the tunnels are one of the most popular tourist sites in Vietnam for Americans. There is an excellent book on the fighting in them entitled "The Tunnels of Cu Chi".

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

God Bless America.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

hillbillytoo

Veterans always get the shaft!

Every place I've worked, been and Church they all say on Memorial Day, how appreciated for the Veterans and a hero to the here at home.

Ya right, when there q-cards or teleprompter goes off, they go to work to see how they can get the dedicated Veteran to do what others don't want to do and for less if not for nothing!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Correction, hillbillytoo & krwheeler

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carney wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Nothing to say but to agree with Dr. Ralph.

"God Bless America".

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

What a waste of a mod 29...the tunnel rat story is just a scary thing to think about.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from 1uglymutha wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

try a healthy load of aa 1680 in any barrel length in a .44 mag. if the bullet dont get 'em the flame will. fun to shoot at night though.and a lot of unburned powder to clean up after.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Memorial Day always chaps me anyway. Everybody wants to sound off and thank the Veterans. The veterans that Memorial Day is about won't be standing up in church or other gathering, they are 6 feet under! Memorial Day is for our war dead. Get it right, America!

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans "To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to 'Taps."

The Moment of Remembrance is a step in the right direction to returning the meaning back to the day. What is needed is a full return to the original day of observance. Set aside one day out of the year for the nation to get together to remember, reflect and honor those who have given their all in service to their country.

But what may be needed to return the solemn, and even sacred, spirit back to Memorial Day is for a return to its traditional day of observance. Many feel that when Congress made the day into a three-day weekend in with the National Holiday Act of 1971, it made it all the easier for people to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. As the VFW stated in its 2002 Memorial Day address: "Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day."

Here's a raised middle finger to you who think Memorial Day is just for beer, barbeque, and boating!
They can kiss my Airborne a**!

+12 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Carney,

Bring me my meds!

WAM

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from meplat wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Mr Petzal,

You have surpassed yourself, my congratulations on your mastery of the language . . . ."Wiener/Holder" indeed !!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I have to agree with WAM on that one!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Amflyer wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

WAM, I hear you on the three-day weekend thing. Even worse is the Memorial day sales on everything from periscopes to prophylactics.

As for the parties or celebrations or whatever, I would mention that in some families a celebration is the way that death and loss is addressed. In my family, the old saying rings true: The only difference between a wedding and a funeral is that the latter has one less attendee.

Good point about Memorial day being for those that didn't come home though. I at least, didn't mind being reminded of that fact. I think everyone else may need to be reminded too.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from PigHunter wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Several years ago I worked with a former Marine tunnel rat. He was the smallest man in our office but probably had the largest naids.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dasmith wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I've also read and have seen pictures of tunnnel rats using .38 special revolvers as the noise was less in the tunnels.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

When I think of Del and WAM and the Gang, this is what I envision,

http://media.moddb.com/images/members/1/415/414111/imagesCABW1QH9.jpg

This has been a Clay Cooper NO "BS" MOMENT!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from NHshtr wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Hats off to the "Tunnel Rats"!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

PH

We had this guy named Schram and stood something like 5" 5ish" and he got stuck with every B52 and KC135 fuel cell job. The last word was he graduated Pararescue School one of the top of his class. Nothing bothered him, cold, heat or a fight, he carried his own weight and casted a shadow twice as large as the biggest guy in the shop. This fella would sneak up to you o'dark 30 at night out on the flight line and give a ear piercing scream scaring the crap out of'ya! I remember one day we just returned from deer hunting and had to put his AR15 in the Armory in Hanger 7 because he lived in the barracks. As he was getting ready to hand it to the Armorer, President Ford was walking our way and closing fast. Got real nervous we did!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Already

"He not only brought Americans comic relief in the middle of a great “recession,” but is at this very moment giving the Chinese and Taiwanese jobs making Weiner dolls and Wiener condoms."

"So, all hail to the great Weiner! Nobody will be looking for his picture on the Ketchup bottles at my local grocery store. Forever more, Nobody will think of him not as the big Weiner, but as the little squirt who took his own name much too seriously."

http://joyannaadams.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/the-big-weiner-is-now-the-l...

View of the inside of Air Force One,

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_g4jfQ9COILQ/SDECe2hT_lI/AAAAAAAAD1I/jvaL9I60JR...

And if this is funny enough,

Obama Condoms!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B94gbknl0D0&feature=player_embedded

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I have an old friend who was a tunnel rat. He never says much about the experience but I do know he used a 1911. He came home with about half of his left ear shot off from one trip into the hole. Obviously this wound is still evident today. He is one of a set of identical twins who were separated and adopted at birth. At about 50 he managed to reunite with the long lost sibling. Larry is a quiet thoughtful man who enjoys hunting in the mountains using his pre-'64 M-88 in .308. May God bless him for all those trips into the darkness so many years ago.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I do agree, no one under the age of fifty really understands what memorial day is about. To them it's about bbq and party. What? Someone died for me, really?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Back in 87, I was invited to go Moose hunting with my neighbor and we spent the night at his friend’s house just south of Fairbanks. He was a elderly man who homestead his property for many years, even had a heated toilet seat out in the outhouse. As we sat in his living room, I noticed many WW-II artifacts and paintings. He didn't talk very much about the Military, we talked about the weather and how his homestead project got started. Later that night, I found out he was a Captain in the Tuskegee Airmen Squadron of WW-II.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from CHKILCHII wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Jim in MO- Say that to all of the veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, Panama, Desert Storm.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from focusfront wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

The reason the NVA could keep the war going despite our bombing, napalming, and Agent Oranging the countryside flat was that their entire war effort was underground. They had miles and miles of tunnels including whole bases, and could move huge numbers of troops and material underground. Tunnel rats had a lot of work to do and none of it was good. It would seem to me that an ideal tunnel rat gun would be a Taurus Judge with a good load of buckshot, but naturally that gun didn't exist then. Nowadays we could send a little halftrack robot down the shaft and just blow the whole thing. These are the good old days.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

CHKILCHII

Could you clarify your comment above?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Amflyer wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I think he means that there are a lot of veterans of those campaigns, under 50 years of age, that would know the true meaning of Memorial Day.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

CHIKICHI,
It's not the men and women who serve today but the general public who never grew up with the draft. My father joined so did my uncle of WWII. My older brother and I was drafted during Vietnam. When I left the Army in late '73 the guys going in were all enlistees.
My point was many people today have no idea what Memorial day is about. It's just a day off work to them. Didn't mean to offend. My son will be getting discharged from the Marines very soon. Older bloggers can verify this.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Jim in MO

Thank you for your service and praise God that your son is home safely soon. Thank him for his service, too!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NWM wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Jim in MO, I have to respectfully disagree. There are non-Veterans under 50 that know that Memorial day is about. Though we are very, very few.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitetailredneck wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

that must of scared them pretty bad. they are running through the dark knowing that there is a killer out there but not knowing where they are

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Clay, Thanks but I am not a Ranger. I served in 'Nam with the 101st ABN Div which was Airmoble (moved by chopper, mostly UH1 Hueys). Never parachuted but have rappelled from a long way up.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Del,

The rappelling and fast roping was scarier to me than putting the knees in the breeze. Just me, I guess....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 41 weeks ago

Del in KS

I don't care if you worked supply!

SIR DEL, YOU SIR ARE A HERO IN MY EYE'S DESPITE WHAT WAS SAID IN THE PAST!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from gilligan1371 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

i made a post and its gone--

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Memorial Day always chaps me anyway. Everybody wants to sound off and thank the Veterans. The veterans that Memorial Day is about won't be standing up in church or other gathering, they are 6 feet under! Memorial Day is for our war dead. Get it right, America!

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans "To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to 'Taps."

The Moment of Remembrance is a step in the right direction to returning the meaning back to the day. What is needed is a full return to the original day of observance. Set aside one day out of the year for the nation to get together to remember, reflect and honor those who have given their all in service to their country.

But what may be needed to return the solemn, and even sacred, spirit back to Memorial Day is for a return to its traditional day of observance. Many feel that when Congress made the day into a three-day weekend in with the National Holiday Act of 1971, it made it all the easier for people to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. As the VFW stated in its 2002 Memorial Day address: "Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day."

Here's a raised middle finger to you who think Memorial Day is just for beer, barbeque, and boating!
They can kiss my Airborne a**!

+12 Good Comment? | | Report
from hillbillytoo wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Had a buddy in college, nick name Spider. Dropped out of school, went into the army, became a tunnel rat. His name is on the Wall. He was small, but all man.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from cesslin wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Through an enormous random stroke of luck, my friend and I found ourselves to be two of the very first Americans allowed into Vietnam, when that country started issuing tourist visas to Americans in September 1987. While in the South---we later went to Hanoi on that trip---we asked our government guides to go to the famous tunnels of Cu Chi. Permission was granted a day later.

Cu Chi had been opened to Soviet visitors and Vietnamese, but they mostly just listened to a lecture from a dour, stiff, middle-aged lady who had been in the tunnels during the war. She gave us, and some schoolchildren, the lecture, and then our guides took us to a tunnel entrance. Things were so poorly organized that they had no flashlights, so we entered by feeling our way along in absolute blackness. Every few feet we would fire off the flash on our cameras, and descend, or ascend, to another level, and feel our way further along on hands and knees.

I kept thinking about our soldiers who did this, not knowing when there would be the flash from the muzzle of a gun, a bite of a poison snake, or a pit with punji stakes.

We emerged after about 300 yards underground, remarking about how insanely tight the tunnels were. Oh no, said our guides, we had to dig them out to twice their real size so you westerners could fit.

I'm told that today the tunnels are one of the most popular tourist sites in Vietnam for Americans. There is an excellent book on the fighting in them entitled "The Tunnels of Cu Chi".

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

Imagine a full house load in a 44 Mag with a 1.372 barrel, if the bullet didn't get'ya, the blast and flaming flash will!

Yes Officer, that's him the one with scorched eyebrows and mustache!

Every so often at a DAV meeting, I'll run across someone with a cluster of Vietnam ribbons, a tiny white rat is hanging from the front of the cap.

What our Servicemen went through we will not ever hear all the horrific stories of heroism and those staying behind to aid and comfort the fallen.

There's another side to all of this we will never hear about. The heroism of the Cold War Veterans who died a paralyzing and horrific death to keep this Country safe.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

There was at least one advantage to being 6'5" tall. Sa-lute!

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Carney,

Bring me my meds!

WAM

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Back in 87, I was invited to go Moose hunting with my neighbor and we spent the night at his friend’s house just south of Fairbanks. He was a elderly man who homestead his property for many years, even had a heated toilet seat out in the outhouse. As we sat in his living room, I noticed many WW-II artifacts and paintings. He didn't talk very much about the Military, we talked about the weather and how his homestead project got started. Later that night, I found out he was a Captain in the Tuskegee Airmen Squadron of WW-II.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Amflyer wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

Wow. That would take some courage to crawl into those places. I imagine there was a fair amount of newly claustrophobic soldiers as a result.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from hengst wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Had to stop reading to tell some buddies that weiner/holder will be on the ticket...thats a good one.

Thanks for bringing up that little gem of a pistol and history behind it.

Vietnam vets have had my respect, thanks and admiration since I was a kid. The last few years or so I have gained even more respect for them and their actions.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I can only imagine!
Nothing else to say! I just can't imagine what being a "tunnel rat" was all about! My utmost respect for those guys!!

Bubba

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Must have been one hell of a primer charge to get 750 fps and lethality from a bunch of tungsten balls in a half in bbl.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

God Bless America.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carney wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Nothing to say but to agree with Dr. Ralph.

"God Bless America".

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

What a waste of a mod 29...the tunnel rat story is just a scary thing to think about.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from meplat wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Mr Petzal,

You have surpassed yourself, my congratulations on your mastery of the language . . . ."Wiener/Holder" indeed !!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Amflyer wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

WAM, I hear you on the three-day weekend thing. Even worse is the Memorial day sales on everything from periscopes to prophylactics.

As for the parties or celebrations or whatever, I would mention that in some families a celebration is the way that death and loss is addressed. In my family, the old saying rings true: The only difference between a wedding and a funeral is that the latter has one less attendee.

Good point about Memorial day being for those that didn't come home though. I at least, didn't mind being reminded of that fact. I think everyone else may need to be reminded too.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I have an old friend who was a tunnel rat. He never says much about the experience but I do know he used a 1911. He came home with about half of his left ear shot off from one trip into the hole. Obviously this wound is still evident today. He is one of a set of identical twins who were separated and adopted at birth. At about 50 he managed to reunite with the long lost sibling. Larry is a quiet thoughtful man who enjoys hunting in the mountains using his pre-'64 M-88 in .308. May God bless him for all those trips into the darkness so many years ago.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I do agree, no one under the age of fifty really understands what memorial day is about. To them it's about bbq and party. What? Someone died for me, really?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from RipperIII wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

I once took a group of friends on a deep sea fishing trip down in the Gulf of Mexico.
we had a good Captain, he was loud, foul mouthed and intensely interested in our dates, but he got us into fish all day, his first mate was a diminutive man of about 5'6" and maybe 150# of lean ripped muscle.
He was the polar opposite of the Captain, never smiled, hardly spoke, and moved with the quick stealth of bob cat, and although he was extremely helpful in spotting fish and helping with the other chores, he was a bit unnerving in his demeanor and his ability to disappear and reappear randomly on that boat.
He sported two tattoos, one was the U.S.M.C. seal, the other was somewhat of a mystery.
I asked the Captain about it, and he informed me that his first mate had been a "tunnel rat".
It all made sense.
I respected that dude a great deal, as did the Captain, but it seemed that the guy bore the baggage of a very difficult duty.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from bluegraytx wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

... even years later I still get the heebie-jeebies thinking about the tunnel rat job. I have tremendous respect for those assigned this duty, but I would have voluntered to let a firing squad use me for target practice before I'd crawl into one of those tunnels.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from CHKILCHII wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Ive got a buddy who was in the Army as a Ranger in Vietnam, he tells me that many of the airborn were issued .38's, which lacked the power that these fighting men wanted, so they would send home for .357 Magnums.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from krwheeler wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I worked at the wyoming State Pen for a couple of years. One of my shift supervisors was a former tunnel rat. He was one of the most respected shift commanders at the Pen. Unfortunately he resigned when the State of Wyoming proved that it was too stupid to run a penitentiary.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

hillbillytoo

Veterans always get the shaft!

Every place I've worked, been and Church they all say on Memorial Day, how appreciated for the Veterans and a hero to the here at home.

Ya right, when there q-cards or teleprompter goes off, they go to work to see how they can get the dedicated Veteran to do what others don't want to do and for less if not for nothing!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 1uglymutha wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

try a healthy load of aa 1680 in any barrel length in a .44 mag. if the bullet dont get 'em the flame will. fun to shoot at night though.and a lot of unburned powder to clean up after.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I have to agree with WAM on that one!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from PigHunter wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Several years ago I worked with a former Marine tunnel rat. He was the smallest man in our office but probably had the largest naids.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

When I think of Del and WAM and the Gang, this is what I envision,

http://media.moddb.com/images/members/1/415/414111/imagesCABW1QH9.jpg

This has been a Clay Cooper NO "BS" MOMENT!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from NHshtr wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Hats off to the "Tunnel Rats"!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Amflyer wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I think he means that there are a lot of veterans of those campaigns, under 50 years of age, that would know the true meaning of Memorial Day.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Clay, Thanks but I am not a Ranger. I served in 'Nam with the 101st ABN Div which was Airmoble (moved by chopper, mostly UH1 Hueys). Never parachuted but have rappelled from a long way up.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Correction, hillbillytoo & krwheeler

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from dasmith wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I've also read and have seen pictures of tunnnel rats using .38 special revolvers as the noise was less in the tunnels.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

PH

We had this guy named Schram and stood something like 5" 5ish" and he got stuck with every B52 and KC135 fuel cell job. The last word was he graduated Pararescue School one of the top of his class. Nothing bothered him, cold, heat or a fight, he carried his own weight and casted a shadow twice as large as the biggest guy in the shop. This fella would sneak up to you o'dark 30 at night out on the flight line and give a ear piercing scream scaring the crap out of'ya! I remember one day we just returned from deer hunting and had to put his AR15 in the Armory in Hanger 7 because he lived in the barracks. As he was getting ready to hand it to the Armorer, President Ford was walking our way and closing fast. Got real nervous we did!

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Already

"He not only brought Americans comic relief in the middle of a great “recession,” but is at this very moment giving the Chinese and Taiwanese jobs making Weiner dolls and Wiener condoms."

"So, all hail to the great Weiner! Nobody will be looking for his picture on the Ketchup bottles at my local grocery store. Forever more, Nobody will think of him not as the big Weiner, but as the little squirt who took his own name much too seriously."

http://joyannaadams.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/the-big-weiner-is-now-the-l...

View of the inside of Air Force One,

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_g4jfQ9COILQ/SDECe2hT_lI/AAAAAAAAD1I/jvaL9I60JR...

And if this is funny enough,

Obama Condoms!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B94gbknl0D0&feature=player_embedded

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from CHKILCHII wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Jim in MO- Say that to all of the veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, Panama, Desert Storm.

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from focusfront wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

The reason the NVA could keep the war going despite our bombing, napalming, and Agent Oranging the countryside flat was that their entire war effort was underground. They had miles and miles of tunnels including whole bases, and could move huge numbers of troops and material underground. Tunnel rats had a lot of work to do and none of it was good. It would seem to me that an ideal tunnel rat gun would be a Taurus Judge with a good load of buckshot, but naturally that gun didn't exist then. Nowadays we could send a little halftrack robot down the shaft and just blow the whole thing. These are the good old days.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

CHKILCHII

Could you clarify your comment above?

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from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

CHIKICHI,
It's not the men and women who serve today but the general public who never grew up with the draft. My father joined so did my uncle of WWII. My older brother and I was drafted during Vietnam. When I left the Army in late '73 the guys going in were all enlistees.
My point was many people today have no idea what Memorial day is about. It's just a day off work to them. Didn't mean to offend. My son will be getting discharged from the Marines very soon. Older bloggers can verify this.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Jim in MO

Thank you for your service and praise God that your son is home safely soon. Thank him for his service, too!

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from NWM wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Jim in MO, I have to respectfully disagree. There are non-Veterans under 50 that know that Memorial day is about. Though we are very, very few.

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from whitetailredneck wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

that must of scared them pretty bad. they are running through the dark knowing that there is a killer out there but not knowing where they are

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Del,

The rappelling and fast roping was scarier to me than putting the knees in the breeze. Just me, I guess....

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 41 weeks ago

Del in KS

I don't care if you worked supply!

SIR DEL, YOU SIR ARE A HERO IN MY EYE'S DESPITE WHAT WAS SAID IN THE PAST!

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from gilligan1371 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

i made a post and its gone--

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