Remember the tiger?
|This incident took place
shortly after I arrived in Vietnam (Dec 67) at LZ Geronimo, which Bravo
Company secured for approximately five days. Geronimo was a fire support
base with a battery of six 105 mm artillery guns, and it was located on a
hilltop overlooking rice paddies to the west and jungle terrain to the east.
Geronimo was situated in a very attractive and serene area with magnificent
views of the Bong Son Plain and the mountains to the west. I believe the
helipad was located at the southern tip of the LZ and one had to climb a bit
of a hill to the location of the artillery battery. As usual, there was a
series of bunkers all around the firebase that we manned during the night.
This was during the monsoon season and there was a raging tropical storm on this particularly evening, with torrential rain and great flashes of lightening and thunder. Our bunker faced heavy undergrowth and was occupied by George Anderson, Frank Vena, a couple of other troopers and myself. I don't remember the trooper's name who was on watch, but it was approximately nine pm when he burst into our bunker white as a sheet, stammering and stuttering about a tiger. It seems that during one of the lightning flashes, he found himself face to face with a tiger and although he shouted or screamed, none of us heard him because of the storm. Apparently his reaction startled the tiger and instead of retreating toward the jungle underbrush, the tiger ran along the perimeter in the direction of the artillery battery. I can't remember exactly what happened when the cat got there, but there was a lot of shouting, rifle shots and commotion.
The frightened tiger was running in and out of the perimeter setting off our trips flares. He was shot at by several, but hit by none. This lasted for a half hour or so. I would appreciate it if anyone can add to this story. (Prepared by Gene Hedberg)
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