The Crossbow War

Two hours after sunset, automatic weapons fire suddenly raked across our village, Buon Don Bak. It was October 4, 1962, in Darlac Province about 10 miles south of the provincial capital, Ban Me Thout. The Mnong tribesmen on perimeter guard duty immediately returned fire, the village chief sprang into action, ordering the partially trained 43 village defenders to man their assigned positions and directing the women and children to their trench-like shelters. Adding to the cacophony and confusion, a water buffalo was bellowing in pain and thrashing on the ground after taking a round from the Viet Cong. I ordered my 12-man Special Forces A-detachment to their assigned defense positions and told the radio operator to switch on our high frequency transceiver and report the attack to headquarters, located near Ban Me Thout.