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Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Screaming Eagles or 101st Airborne Division. Memories of Vietnam

A 106mm recoiless rifle gun crew. An old photo I came across. It was taken in Phan Thiet, South Vietnam. Probably in February or March 1968 when the US army and ARVN were trying to drive out entrenched Viet Cong. They were probably from the 101st Airborne Division who had a base camp just below the airstrip where I was stationed. The 'Screaming Eagles' as they liked to be known. This refers to their Divisional Eagle shoulder patch. The local Vietnamese referred to them by the rather uncomplimentary term of 'Chicken soldiers'. I say uncomplimentary as we were not very much appreciated by many of the Vietnamese as large parts of the town were destroyed by American bombs. On the other hand it might also just have been a case of mistaken identity and the American eagle was just taken for a chicken. The South Vietnamese soldiers or ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam)were going around catching and cooking any and every chicken they could lay their hands on. They had this tendency to live off the land.

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