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Special Forces Soldiers Live in Constant Danger in Vietnam

Feb. 12, 1963 - A team of American special forces soldiers has set up a training camp at the foot of two mountains that are major sanctuaries of Communist guerrillas. The mountain on the west harbors Viet Cong guerrillas, while the mountain on the east is the home base for Cambodian Communists who have some contact with the Viet Cong. The site is about 10 miles from the Cambodian border. Before the team headed by Capt. James Farrington of New York had set off for their new location, Vietnamese officials warned them the idea was virtually suicidal. The fact that they went ahead anyway and so far have survived has given them an awesome reputation among the Vietnamese and Cambodians in the area. One of the most delicate parts of the American mission is an attempt to improve relations with Cambodians. “When we got here,” said one American, “it looked like the Cambodians had a pretty bad inferiority complex — you know, bowing and scraping and taking off their hats every time they saw us. So, when they bowed and scraped, we bowed and scraped back. I think it’s beginning to rub off a little.” So far, the team has not been attacked by the Communists. The Americans feel, however, that the Communists are not likely to surrender the area without a major struggle. An attack is awaited, perhaps later in the year during the rainy season, when the rice plants are higher and afford a better cover for assaulting troops.


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