Sunday, July 14, 2024

GI turns tables on the Viet Cong

by ROGER GREGORY / Contributing Writer
| July 10, 2024 1:00 AM

This tale is about a GI who turned the tables on the Viet Cong in 1968.

Since 1956, the VC has been building strong, non-detectable bunkers all over the Mekong Delta South of Saigon in Vietnam. But along came Army Captain Gerald Robertson. "To put it mildly, we were getting shellacked," Robertson said, adding the VC would sit back in these bunkers and wait for the Americans, and then hit the Americans hard with deaths and wounded. 

So Robertson got to thinking that he needed some Vietnamese soldiers on his side. As they knew the jungle and the delta, they knew the signs of the VC. 

He finally convinced his higher-ups to get him the Vietnamese soldiers that he needed and formed a unit of only 32 men. They then proceed to put it to the VC, they would be out a week or two at a time, attacking the bunkers, killing the VC and living off the land. At one point, out of food, they ate rats, Robertson said, "Not bad, sort of tastes like rabbit." 

During one month, Robertson's small unit had more VC kills than the entire 600-man 4th Battalion. Once a grenade blew him to the ground and wounded him with shrapnel in his leg. The VC came up to him to kill him, but Robertson shot him in the forehead and killed him. Then a VC comrade came and Robertson shot him between the eyes. And thus it went on for 10 more weeks until Robertson rotated home. He was awarded the Silver Star, three Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart and an Air Medal. You can say he was a very brave soldier.

Roger Gregory is a Vietnam veteran and business owner in Priest River.