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Author's Name: Robert Ferguson

Title: "TET Build Up"

In December, 1967, I was working at CAC Hotel 6, a Marine Combined Action Company that included about 15 Marines and about 15 PF South Vietnamese militia, between Hwy 1 and a mountain range, the Ho Chi Minh Trail was on the other side. The village of Nuoc Ngoc was about halfway between Danang and Phu Bai. When I first arrived as a replacement in September, 1967, things were comparatively peaceful with no major contact however toward the end of my tour in December we could feel the NVA build up. One night I was on radio watch when T.P Brady, who was on a night ambush across the Nuoc Ngoc bridge with five or six Marines and five or six PF's, called in that he could see a large number of NVA who were wearing helmets, flack jackets and were heavily armed. When a radio operator from headquarters asked him how close they were T.P whispered a never-to-be-forgotten response, "Do you want to talk to one of them?" I still laugh about that but not what happened after I rotated home. I received a note from T.P telling me that on January 7, 1968, our village had been overrun and that about of the guys had been killed and everyone else was shot up. This attack was apparently a tune up for the TET Offensive which took place several weeks later. Based on what I experienced before I left, this attack should have been no surprise, it was almost inevitable. From what I understand, the build up around my village was not unique, everyone was running into more NVA. The TET Offensive was totally predictable by the grunts in the field. It's too bad all of the T.P. Brady's in Vietnam at that time were seemingly ignored, the outcome could have been much better.