Deceiving the enemy in Vietnam
Army Capt. Paul “Buddy” Bucha faked out the enemy while leading a motley crew in Vietnam.Read the whole thing. It is a good story of American ingenuity against the odds. By the time it was over the NVA were retreating from a much smaller force.
The Medal of Honor recipient was hailed as a hero after he made North Vietnamese fighters believe his 187th Infantry Regiment was much bigger than it really was. The combination of bravery and cunning helped him earn the nation's highest military honor, an award bestowed upon him by the president.
In 1967, Bucha — who graduated from West Point and earned an MBA at Stanford — arrived in Vietnam and was given a squad filled “with the rejects of all the other units,” including writers, intellectuals and men who had served time in military prison, he said.
“We were called the 'clerks and the jerks,'" he recalled. "We were a few smart guys and a lot of badasses … considered the losers of all losers.”
But as a company commander new to Vietnam, "I, too, was a loser,” Bucha recalled fondly years later. “So we were sort of meant for each other.”
"They ended up being a very disciplined, proud, and frightening force," he said.
A soldier spotted a group of Vietnamese water carriers and women, which usually indicated an established enemy location. Bucha gave him permission to fire a few rounds to test what was out there.
"The entire mountain returned fire…. I said, 'Oh, my God,'" Bucha recalled.
An entire North Vietnamese Army battalion hit Bucha's unit with heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and claymore mines, pinning down the lead group of 12 Americans.