By Matthew Saari

Tunnel rats.

Ed Hayes following his enlistment in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.

That was the unofficial moniker given to volunteer soldiers and Marines during the Vietnam War who were tasked with crawling through the often cramped and uncharted tunnels the Viet Cong dug throughout their country to fight first the French and then American armed forces.

Ed Hayes, 69, was a tunnel rat, serving in Vietnam from 1969 to 1971.

“You know what you’re getting into more or less,” said Hayes, a Granville High School graduate who lives in West Pawlet, Vermont. “They explain it to you a little bit.”

Hayes graduated from high school in 1967 and enlisted in the U.S. Army. After completing basic training Hayes was assigned the military occupational specialty of 11B – infantryman.

When shipped to Vietnam, Hayes was assigned to a mechanized infantry company with five armored personnel carriers (APCs). Although the APCs were able to carry troops, Hayes always found himself marching behind them on patrol.

“They used them for the wounded, more or less,” he said.

 

This is only a preview of the story published in the Whitehall Times. To read the full story, pick up a print copy of this week’s paper at the newsstand or read it online here.

 

This is only a preview of the story published in the Granville Sentinel. To read the full story, pick up a print copy of this week’s paper at the newsstand or read it online here.

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