Roger Ladd

Recon 1/35th

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 Stars & Stripes

15 Jan 68

Good Night's Sleep on a Mine

TAM KY, VIETNAM (IO) - When an infantryman is tired he can sleep just about anywhere. For 1st Lt. Roger Ladd of Modesto, Calif., this included sleeping on top of a "bouncing betty" mine. It wasn't until the next afternoon that his dangerous bed was discovered.

Ladd's platoon, the reconnaissance platoon of the 1st Bn. 35th Inf., 4th Div., had been operating as a blocking force the first day and found a good night location, an LZ that they considered to be safe.

They used the normal precaution in checking the area and then began to set up for the night. Ladd laid out his gear, inflated his air mattress and settled it on the mine. It didn't detonate.

Nor did it detonate the next morning when the platoon moved out. The mine went

undiscovered until the platoon returned.

Ladd went back to his sleeping area, not realizing how much his luck had already been pushed. But this time, as he laid down his rucksack, he noticed the mine's characteristic three prongs. Some of the camouflage had been knocked away.

The mine was detonated in place and Ladd spent the night in that very spot because, as he put it, "It was the one spot around here I knew was safe!"


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