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Two Days in October | Digital Short

Death of a Colonel

From the Collection: Vietnam War

In October 1967, in a jungle in Vietnam, a Viet Cong ambush nearly wiped out an American battalion, prompting some in power to question whether the war might be unwinnable. On October 17, Lieutenant Colonel Terry Allen, commander of the Black Lions special unit, led his men into the jungle of Vietnam, looking for engagement with the Viet Cong. Suddenly, “there was this series of clicking sounds, and then the battle started. It sounded like every weapon in the world was being fired from all directions on us.” Of the 142 Americans who went out that day, 64 died, including Allen.

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