War Stories

The Snake

by Vaughn Brauer
June 1966

The Snake

By Vaughn Brauer

B 2/35 June 1966

In early June 66, shortly after the battle at LZ 10 Alpha, I was assigned as the platoon leader of 1st Platoon, B 2/35. Shortly thereafter the Bn received an Intel report of a possible enemy weapons/ammo cache. The problem was that this cache was located beyond the range of the artillery. Our platoon was given the mission of patrolling to some high ground near the reported cache and establishing a small LZ. A section of 81mm mortars would then be flown in to cover us while we searched the area.

We arrived at the designated spot just before dusk and only had time to clear a small perimeter and dig prone foxholes before dark. Early the next morning: after an exhilarating breakfast of ham and lima beans, beefsteak, potatoes and gravy (lard?) etc; we continued expanding the LZ. Within 10 minutes, one of the troops dropped his machete, yelled Snake! He took off across the LZ (hitting the ground about every third step). Sure enough, it was a snake. A really BIG snake! You can see it on the website at Pictures/Bravo 2/35. After we killed it with a machete we noticed it was bulging in the center. We cut it open and found a small porcupine. Judging from the lack of decomposition, it must have been eaten the day we arrived. Apparently the snake had laid just outside our perimeter all night intending to spend the next few days digesting its meal. Nobody had any trouble staying awake after that!

By the way, does anyone recognize the 5th person from the left in the picture? He was the platoon RTO, was later promoted to SGT, and was wounded on 3/12/67. I just can't remember his name and wonder what has happened to him after all these years.

Vaughn Brauer

Plt Ldr/ XO B 2/35 Jun 66-Jun 67