The Tunnel Rats

I know someone who was a tunnel rat. The stories he would tell. Tying a rope around your legs so they could pull you out if you got killed. Pouches of poisonous snakes and whatnot. Various other nastiness they would leave behind to kill the guys crawling in.
Thanks, Mike H. for this post! I knew a couple of "rats" when I served in Vietnam with the First Infantry Division in '69-'70. They were real professionals! I went into a tunnel complex that had been cleared and, with a rope around my feet, the platoon sergeant said, "Don't get lost under there." That scared me! I went in about 10'-15' when claustrophobia gripped me hard. I backed out as fast as I could and, even after all this time, I will occasionally dream about it. Anyway, I have no photos of any of the tunnel rats I knew but did find a couple I took when we found that tunnel system and it was a big one. Here's the main entrance:

It down in that hole and they had a camouflaged "hatch" covering the opening.

When we dropped smoke into the entrance, and put the "hatch" back into place, it took a few minutes but we saw air vent holes around us with smoke coming out. That's how we knew how big the complex was. We radioed back to base and had some flame throwers sent in. Here's a trooper heading toward the entrance:

I'm glad I don't have to do that stuff anymore!

As I recall, the guys with the flame throwers fired "wet shots" in all the vents that were found as well as the entrance. Once the fumes had a chance to travel, a grenade was chunked in the entrance. When that died down, combat engineers blew it up.

It frustrates me to no end that blatantly false information is being misrepresented by the author, Tom Laemlin, who in all honesty should turn his historian badge in. Anybody who's taken the time to learn about Tunnel Rats knows for a fact that they learned quickly NOT to use a 1911, as the 45 ACP fired in such close quarters and cramped conditions would leave your ears bleeding, and you would be left deaf afterwards. They almost always carried smaller calibers or at the very least fashioned silencers. It's a blatant money grab, and I'm pretty damn sure all/most Tunnel Rats would prefer you to not sell 1911's based on their military sacrifices. It doesn't reflect history. If you used a 1911 in the tunnels, you were a fool.
I’ve only known one person who can legitimately put that on his resume (I’ve seen his citation & bronze star). He is a quiet, unassuming and genuinely nice guy. I grew up with him and he’s always been that way. He did tunnels for about half a tour until his last trip down - the one where he said nope, never again. He said he came to a tee and could hear someone breathing but he couldn’t tell if it was left or right, and, while trying to decide, a grenade bounced off of his shoulder. He immediately decided left,left,LEFT - sticking his hand around the corner and emptying a .38 revolver, putting a round in the guy’s head. He then realized the grenade must be a dud or he’d be dead by now, and worked his way out of there as fast as he could. He said when he got out the first thing he did was tell his Lt that’s it. Never again. I’m done….. He’s still around, retired, still a great guy, but does admit to the occasional nightmare, although less frequently with the years…

Being claustrophobic, I have no idea where those brave young boys found the courage to do that…