The tunnel rats were American, Australian and New Zealand soldiers who performed underground search and destroy missions during the Viet Nam War.
Tunnel rats were generally, but not exclusively, men of smaller stature (5’6” and under), in order to fit in the narrow tunnels. Many were miners in civilian life.
Their primary mission was to kill the enemies and search the tunnels for intelligence, maps and documents, and recover any arms and ammunition found in the tunnels.
After searching the tunnel and getting out, they would get in again with C4 explosive charges, which would be placed at the tunnel’s bends and at strong points, in calculated amounts. After getting out and at a safe distance, they would detonate the charges and hence, demolish the tunnel.
Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.