At first they thought it was a VC, and their hearts started to beat
faster, but then they were relieved
to see that it was actually a deer. Ray Mendez and Ray Tyndall, our intrepid infantrymen from the
"Dirty Third," the 3rd Platoon, B Co., 1st Battalion 6th Infantry, were pulling security duty
east of LZ Dottie for the dozers from the 39th Engineer Company (Land Clearing). The idea was
to get out in front of the "cut" to be sure that the Viet Cong were unable to emplace booby traps
for the unwary engineer troops. The Viet Cong could easily avoid the cumbersome vehicles while
they did their dirty work of planting mines near Hill 43, but they had to watch out for infantrymen
who were on the hunt.
Ray Tyndall took careful aim with his M16 rifle, and from about 150
yards, dropped the animal
with a single shot. And there were no pesky game wardens to enforce hunting season!
Ray Mendez and Ray Tyndall retrieve their kill. Now, what do you do with a deer out in the bush,
with no convenient meat locker? Why, you take it to your local butcher, and prepare for a feast.
Now the "Dirty Third" were a talented bunch -- one of the soldiers just happened to be a butcher
back in the world. Dan Holley (also the head chef) inspected the kill, pronounced it edible, and
helped the duo prepare their venison. Ray Tyndall, (the apprentice chef on the right) is grinning
broadly as he anticipates the feast. No C Rations tonight on Hill 43, nosiree, just first class dining.
They decide to use the convenient ammo can as a pot.
What to do while the venison slowly cooks? Being the excellent infantrymen that they were known
to be, the men from the Dirty Third cleaned their weapons and left their C rations unopened. Ray
Mendez, Ray Tyndall, Dan Holley, and Gene Arnspiger.
Thirty three years later, both Ray Mendez and Ray Tyndall remember their
venison as it simmered
over burning C4 (a flammable plastic explosive) in lieu of firewood. In Ray Mendez's words "m-m-
m-m- the aroma of fresh shot deer."
And then the deer proved to them all that it really was a Viet Cong
sympathizer. Within a few
hours Ray Mendez recalls that the men "ALL GOT SICKER THAN DOGS." They "barfed for
hours...." It seems that using the ammo can for a pot was not such a great idea after all.
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