Khe Sanh Rats

By: Doug Lennon

This story is for all the Marines that served at the Seige of Khe Sanh. As you can remember there was a lot of boredom, if you weren’t filling sand bags with that nice red clay or going on water runs and moving the ammo dumps around so the NVA could not just fire and knock them out. I’m sure you all remember the rat problem we had.

One day our guys decided to have some fun. We made a ring of fire using kerosene made some traps to catch some rats. Once we caught them we would douse them with the kerosene and throw them into the ring of fire. The other thing is at night in our underground bunkers we would put some cheese and crackers from our tasty C-Rations in the middle of floor, then wait to hear for the rats and when there was one moving around one of us would turn on the flash light and shine on it. The rest of us jar heads would throw our K-bars at the rats. You all remember we were more afraid of getting bit by a rat than being hit with incoming.

I can remember walking guard duty one night and went over by the garbage hole that the engineers would dig and I shined my flash light down there, and I seen rats as big as cats. So ending this story there are many memories to share such as where were you the day we got hit with 1300 incoming rounds. I also enjoyed playing back ally bridge for pennies to pass the time away. I was an artillery fire direction control man with the 13th Marines

Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!

Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!


  • Cpl G. Suniga

    Chuck Holland when were you in Nam? I was 7 Engineers in Da Nang 64/66.

  • “Bubba” 3/5/1st MarDiv.69-70

    When we were not in the boonies we usually had bunker duty at An Hoa Combat base. Bunker One was where we learned “rat racing”. Most of us had a Zippo lighter, so most of us also had lighter fluid. We would catch these monster rats in cage traps, douse them with lighter fluid and allow them to escape only to run through a ring of fire just outside the trap, catching fire. At night it was quite a spectacle watching a fire ball racing across the open space between the bunker and the perimeter wire.

  • Chuck Holland

    My guard bunker at the 7th Engineers Bn. was full of rats. They would crawl on my chest until I took a few out with my K-bar.

  • Charlie Ledbetter

    I remember the rats and the burning rat races. We had them at PhuBai and later at Camp Carroll.

  • Top Pro USMC ’64-’84

    Believe me, Khe Sanh had no exclusive deal for or with the rat population of Vietnam, they were everywhere. As primarily a communicator and during two and a half tours in country, I was most everywhere from Chu Lai to Dong Ha at one time for another. I would try to avoid any bunker from fear of the rats, more than fear of any incoming. I did know a few guys who had been bitten and had to go through the rabies treatment, which in those days was not an easy treatment. I hate hated the damn things nearly as much and the VC and NVA. Semper Fi!

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