A Minnesota PBS Initiative

Tet Offensive

A small group of U.S. soldiers in the jungle.

Public Domain courtesy of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Zero dark thirty on 31 January, 1968. Incoming! Start of the Tet offensive! Chaos!

By daylight, patrols were organized. I was to lead one that would take us through a hamlet where some "accommodating" women resided. During the briefing, I emphasized that we had better not "lose" any Marines, especially in that hamlet. We actually GAINED one Marine!

Like the rest of us, the start of the offensive caught him by surprise, but he was on the wrong side of the perimeter wire. Fearing for his life, he hunkered down. If he had approached our perimeter, he would have been killed either by NVA/VC or Marines defending our position. Our patrol afforded him safe passage. When debriefing our S2 (Intel Officer), I explained that not only did we not lose any Marines, we gained one!

There were not many light-hearted moments during the Tet offensive, but this was one.

Biographical Details

Primary Location During Vietnam: I CORPS, Vietnam Vietnam location marker

Story Subject: Military Service

Military Branch: U.S. Marine Corps

Dates of Service: 1964 - 1970

Unit: 1st Marine Division

Specialty: 0302 (Infantry Captain)

This story is part of Stories About The Tet Offensive. Go to the collection.

Story Themes: 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, Chanhassen, Gary Nash, I Corps, Levity, Marines, Patrol, Read, Tet Offensive

Previous Story
The Story Wall
Next Story
Return To Top