Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans

COMBAT STORIES FROM Vietnam

Jerry Sinn | Reconnaissance Platoon, Engineer Battalion, 1st Infantry Division - Army

6:40   |   Jerry Sinn retired as a three star General but he started out as a draftee who decided to go to Officer Candidate School. Trained as a combat engineer and sent to Vietnam, he was surprised at the type of equipment he was issued for an assignment to the reconnaissance platoon. That's when he found out he was a Tunnel Rat.

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Videos ( 6 )
Vietnam
  • Jerry Sinn  |  Vietnam  |  Reconnaissance Platoon, Engineer Battalion, 1st Infantry Division  |  6:46

    The Tunnel Rats went right down into the Viet Cong's holes in the ground and eliminated them. When new Lieutenant Jerry Sinn got a taste of it, he knew he could do it. The teams were experienced, disciplined and deliberate, and since it was the 1st infantry Division, no less was expected.

  • Jerry Sinn  |  Vietnam  |  Multiple Units  |  6:14

    In his initial Vietnam assignment, Jerry Sinn respected and trusted his Vietnamese scouts. But when he later served with a different outfit, the South Vietnamese soldiers he was assisting were incompetent and he was not very impressed with them. He was impressed by the Australians and enjoyed working with them and he has nothing but praise for the officers and enlisted men of the 1st Infantry Division.

  • Jerry Sinn  |  Vietnam  |  Reconnaissance Platoon, Engineer Battalion, 1st Infantry Division  |  6:14

    It was the most incredible Tunnel Rat mission he had in Vietnam. Jerry Sinn recalls flying into a hot landing zone and having a terrific firefight before his team even got to the tunnel. Then they discovered they were right in the middle of a Viet Cong bunker complex. Before it was over, he was wounded and one of his team had earned a Silver Star.

  • Jerry Sinn  |  Vietnam  |  Multiple Units  |  7:45

    Jerry Sinn describes what it was like commanding Rome Plow units in Vietnam. The Rome Plows were specially equipped bulldozers that cut down trees and punched through the jungle so assault units could move. It was dangerous work and it caught up with him in Cambodia.

  • Jerry Sinn  |  Vietnam  |  Multiple Units  |  3:54

    His most vivid memory of Vietnam? It was the way his commander broke the news that he and his men would get no rest before leaving one battlefield for the next. His worst day? It involved rocket fire and a tourniquet. During all this, he was oblivious to news or media.

  • Jerry Sinn  |  Vietnam  |  Multiple Units  |  7:22

    He returned from Vietnam and decided to stay in the service. Jerry Sinn experienced none of the abuse suffered by many veterans. Better than that, his tour affected him in positive ways, especially the discipline he learned in the 1st Infantry Division. This led him to serve there again later in his career. Despite the way that war is remembered, an Indian commander convinced him it was a success.

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