Tiger Attacks During Vietnam War: Hidden Predators in the Bushes
The Vietnam war was horrifying for all people involved. Without clear lines, battle was confusing, difficult, and frustrating.
To make matters worse, the enemy wasn’t always a human - soldiers on both sides faced a neutral, hostile force that both sides would learn to fear.
This neutral enemy would be mother nature. The harsh environment, oppressive heat, mosquitoes, predators, diseases, etc. led to the demoralization of all people involved in the conflict.
Unexpectedly, one of mother nature’s most feared predators also joined the battle: the tiger.
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The Third Enemy: Mother Nature and Her Tiger
On December 22nd, 1968, a man-eating tiger stalked an American team - part of the 3rd Marine Recon Battalion performing a patrol near Quang Tri, Vietnam.
The six man recon team was on an observation mission near Fire Support Base Alpine, about six miles east of the Laotian Border.
The team had completed its assigned mission and was waiting to be heli-lifted from the area. Bad weather conditions prevented their immediate extraction and the team had posted a two-man radio watch while the others settled down to sleep.
The tiger attacked without making a single sound. Suddenly in the cover of darkness soldiers were alerted to a man screaming.
PFC Roy Regan, who had been sleeping next to the victim recalled, "I jumped up and saw the tiger with his mouth around my partner."
"All I could think about was to get the tiger away from him. I jumped at the tiger and the cat jerked his head and jumped into a bomb crater 10 meters away, still holding his prey."
The Marines quickly followed the tiger to the crater and opened fire on the attacking beast. They could not be sure which one of them actually killed the tiger, since they all fired at it. Once hit, the tiger released his prey and the man staggered out of the bomb crater.
"He looked dazed and he asked what happened", recalled PFC Maurice M. Howell (Richmond, Ky.).
The injured Marine was given first aid treatment and a Marine CH-46 helicopter arrived to pick up the injured Marine, the rest of the team and the dead tiger.
The injured Marine was rushed to the 3rd Medical Battalion Hospital at Quang Tri, suffering from lacerations and bites on the neck.
The tiger, measuring nine feet from head to tail, was transported to the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion headquarters.
The incident took place about ten miles south of the demilitarized zone near a spot where a young Marine was slain by a man-eating tiger Nov. 12.
Military authorities had sent out a Marine contingent and two professional South Vietnamese tiger hunters three weeks ago to find the killer tiger and three others believed in the area, but the hunt failed.
It is believed that this tiger had killed a man just a month earlier in the same area.
Note: photos of such tiger attacks are included in our YouTube video which you can watch now by clicking HERE.
The tiger had attacked Sgt. Goolden, and he luckily walked away from the incident alive.
Tiger Attacks Throughout The Entire War
Tiger attacks, statistically speaking, weren’t that common. However soldiers did see tigers, or report being stalked.
Some tigers hunted humans, and there are other reports of tigers attacking and killing humans, or people having risky encounters with them!
The biggest danger - excluding the enemy forces - was mother nature’s other arsenal, such as venomous snakes, dangerous insects, and deadly diseases being transmitted via mosquitoes, such as malaria.
All in all this conflict was horrifying not just from the horrors of war but also via the horrors of the land that it took part on.
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