Showing posts with label tunnel rat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tunnel rat. Show all posts

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Hey Cong Tien Gunner--Marine Joe Elizondo is Looking For You!

Vietnam veteran continues search for man who saved his life
By Jane Caffrey
May 26, 2017
"All I want to tell him is thank you," the former marine said with tears in his eyes. "Eight people got killed in the air. His family needs to know, that he's an angel. Can you imagine how many they saved?"
CORPUS CHRISTI - The Vietnam War claimed the lives of more than 58,000 American soldiers, including 100 from Corpus Christi, and with Memorial Day approaching one local veteran feels thankful to have survived that conflict.
The former Marine was close to death in Vietnam. Decades later, his search continues for the man that saved his life. He believes he will find him in Corpus Christi.

Joe Elizondo has three purple hearts and has been honored by U.S. presidents nine times for heroic acts, but he has a hero of his own from his time in Vietnam.

Elizondo was a gun squad leader and a tunnel rat, taking on dangerous underground missions. He was stationed in Cong Tien, one of the most dangerous war zones near the demilitarized area. It was so dangerous it was dubbed "The Place of Angels."

"We had gotten in the morning 11 lieutenants. And they had just arrived from the States. And the next day, only one survived," Elizondo recalled.

One morning, the Americans were ambushed.

"I got hit by a sniper, and the bullet went right through my side of my head, and went out the other side," Elizondo said, showing where the the bullet went through his neck.
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Friday, July 17, 2009

Vietnam Tunnel Rats share stories of service

Vietnam Veterans to share stories of the role played by 'tunnel rats'
by Rudi Larini/The Star-Ledger
Friday July 17, 2009, 5:00 AM
HOLMDEL -- Two Vietnam veterans Saturday will be sharing the story of "tunnel rats" and the role they played in the Vietnam War in a special program in Holmdel.

Veterans John Scafidi and Ron Giles will be part of the program scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at the Vietnam Era Educational Center of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Giles, a tunnel rat during the war, remembers groping his way through the pitch-black underground passageways. During one tunnel exploration, under the dim light of his flashlight, he discovered a strange object ahead of him. He could see it resembled a covered wok with small protrusions.

Curious, but even more cautious, he radioed his unit on the ground above and described what he saw to an Army engineer.

"He told me to turn around carefully, very slowly and get the hell out of there," Giles said.
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Vietnam Tunnel Rats share stories of service

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Reunited: Vietnam veterans celebrate reunion in Lubbock

Reunited: Vietnam veterans celebrate reunion in Lubbock
Monday, June 01, 2009
Story last updated at 6/1/2009 - 1:21 am

The unique bond that is formed between people who serve together in war was strongly displayed Friday when members of a Marine platoon that served together in

Vietnam gathered to remember and catch up.

Despite the years that have passed, the bond between these men remains strong.

Friday was an evening of recognition for First Platoon, India Company, Third Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment. They gather twice a year for memories and camaraderie.

Larry Wilson, their platoon leader more than 40 years ago, helps sponsor and organize these reunions.

"In 1997, we had our first reunion in Big Bear, Calif.," said Wilson, "and it was the first time I had seen anybody since I led them in battle in 1967."

"So when we got together," said Wilson, "it was such a wonderful experience that we decided we should do this more often."

He said they decided to honor platoon member Lionel (Jerry) Lucero of Lubbock this year because he was their "tunnel rat." Wilson said they sent him into the tunnels to look for the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese army, which used tunnels for storage and to hide from American forces.

"So I decided that this year we should come to Lubbock and see Jerry," said Wilson. Wilson said he had served here in the FBI in the 1970s, so he had a fondness for the city.
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