HUNTING PARTY -
Members of a patrol from D Company, 35th Infantry pose with an 8-foot long tiger
they killed in the mountains east of Pleiku. The soldiers, on a night patrol
when the tiger began stalking them, shot the cat after waiting nervously until
it came within three meters of their position. (USA Photo by PFC John Uhlar)
CAMP ENARI — Big game hunters spend lavish sums of money for
high-powered rifles, hunting attire and knowledgeable guides to fill their
trophy rooms with game.
Private First Class Joe Barber of Detroit, and Private First Class Bob
Luster of Tiffon, Ohio, members of a patrol front Company D, 1st Battalion,
35th Infantry, commanded by Captain Ernest P. Hotart of Bryan, Tex., may never make the big
game hunter status.
But they will have pictures and relics of a 400-pound male tiger which
would surely make big game sportsmen green with envy.
While working in support of the 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry, commanded
by Lieutenant Colonel Donald W. Moreau of Leavenworth, Kari., the patrol was
to secure an area along Highway 19-E.
Patrol leader First Lieutenant James Tefteller of Gilmer, Tex., had
placed his men in their positions. After five hours of jungle quiet, PFC
Gilmer and Luster spotted movement far to their right flank.
"We both thought the movement was coming from a stray water
buffalo," stated PFC Barber, "so we held our fire In order to
continue the mission."
More than an hour passed and the movement in the brush continued in
circles around the position of the two Ivymen.
"The noise came closer," said PFC Luster, "but we still
could not distinguish what it was. It was about three meters away when we
first saw it was a tiger," he exclaimed.
Without much time to think, the two men opened fire on the now
crouched jungle cat. Five full magazines were emptied into the cat as it
leaped toward the men and then fell back, dead.
In the morning, the unusual KIA was carted back to Black-hawk Firebase
where infantry and cavalrymen marveled at more than seven feet of tiger.
Tiger suits in the jungles of Vietnam have become a common sight,
however, when it is still on the tiger it can be a nightmare as two Ivymen