The Secret of Operation Mongoose A-4
By Larry L. Martin

On my third day in Charlie Battery at A-4, we lined up for a police call to pick up the trash on the road inside the compound. Somewhere between Bunker #6 and #7 as we passed a pile of rubble, I saw the biggest rat I had ever seen. I was describing it to Mike Nored, and he asked me "Did it have a hairy tail?" I told him "Yes". He then informed me that what I had seen was a mongoose, because rats had slick tails. He also told me that a guy down on Gun #2 had one in a cage if I would like to see one up close and personal. Later that day I made my way down to Gun #2, bright shiny new fatigues and bright shiny new boots and all, and told them I was there to see the mongoose. I waited for a few minutes and a guy brought out this half-cage, half-box and said he would try to get him to come out of the box into the cage so I could get a better look. All you could see was a small piece of of black fur. When I was as close as possible, the guy hit the button on the bottom and the piece of fur smacked the cage and I about peed my pants. Everyone had a good laugh including me. Believe it or not, that incident made me feel a lot better about being there. I figured what the hell, if these guys can be this close to North Vietnam and still make jokes, they were OK in my book.