Friday, April 12, 2013

Theodore Mataxis on Patrols and Free Fire Zones

This is a really short excerpt from Stephen Maxner's Texas Tech interview with Theodore Mataxis, who briefly discusses the issue of the free fire zones during his tour in Vietnam.
SM: On these patrols as a company as part of a larger battalion operation did you encounter many civilians, Vietnamese civilians in the areas? 
TM: No. If you were past the first ridgeline it was all a free fire zone. 
SM: So it was a free fire zone? 
TM: Yes. 
SM: Anything that moved you just engaged? 
TM: Basically. Well, once you figured out what it was. If it was a random water buffalo or tiger or whatever. But for the most part there were no indig out there. That’s different in other parts because later I went to the II corps area and out there it was sort of the same thing but you really had to be careful there because of the montagnards and indigenous people. Where in our area of operation it had so much going on I think everyone pretty much left. I don’t ever recall coming across any ingdig natives during that time frame (with the 101st) or ever even hearing of any.

Interview with Theodore Mataxis, Jr.,  31 March 2000, Theodore Mataxis, Jr. Collection, The Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University. Accessed 3 Jan. 2013. .

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