Photos US Forces

LIFE MAGAZINE PHOTO: Marines with M14s land at Da Nang in Summer 1965, These ground troops were the first to land in Vietnam which would soon to esclate into full scale involvement in the years to come.

Another photo from around the same time frame Marines now are being transported in trucks to the frontlines, This war at first in public view was thought as another repeat of what happened in Korea but soon enough with extensive coverage of the violence learned about the horrors committed on live TV.

"One time I had to go up near the DMZ to check out rumors that the NVA had hidden a cache of weapons in a shallow lake. I rode on top of a Marine AMTRAC there and back. We didn’t find any weapons in the lake, but it was a nice day for a ride."

′′ The moment I made the second corner in the tunnel, it was dark as pitch. I felt like I was stuck in a narrow sewer pipe. I thought I heard a scraping sound and was absolutely immobile for a few minutes. I stayed there on my knees long enough to start believing I imagined the noise when I smelled nuoc nam, the rancid sauce made from fermented fish and salt most Vietnamese ate with rice.
I immediately covered my mouth with my left hand and tried to breathe slowly through my nose. If I could smell someone else's breath, I was sure he would feel mine. Vision is the last of the senses a tunnel rat depends on to find and kill your enemy. I knew for sure there was an enemy just a few inches away. I also knew we'd fight in the dark until one of us died.
A hard blow struck the left side of my face and started the hand to hand fight for my life. The hand that struck me on the left side of my face told me exactly where the enemy was. He was on my left and I knew it was the right hand because the thumb was close to my eye. I wrapped my left arm over my opponent's right arm, trapped it in my armpit and pulled it in my direction.
At the same time, I stepped forward with the intention of stabbing the chest or throat with the right hand, but somehow I had lost the knife.
So I struck the palm of my hand open where I thought the head would be. The palm of my hand hit and I felt teeth breaking. My right forearm was in his mouth and he bit me. I walked away and hit my right elbow in your throat.
We both knew he was dying and I could feel him trying to release his left arm before his time and air is up. My arms were aching, and I expected this to be over before I lost control when I heard and felt your larynx collapse.
He fought until the moment death claimed him.
Gradually, I realized that his movements had become less coordinated and more like seizures. Then all of a sudden even the seizures stopped. It all ended and I fell on the body. When I recovered, I unlocked the dead."
- Sergeant James Gillam from the 1th Battalion of the 22th Infantry Regiment in the Valley of Vinh Than, Vietnam, February 4, 1970.


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