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“In the jungle, the one thing that saves you, is if you can recognize the sound that doesn’t fit. The sound that doesn’t fit tells you somebody’s coming.” (Video interview, 38:35)

   David L. Flores
Image of David L. Flores
David Flores in Vietnam, with an AK-47 rifle [n.d.]
War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Branch: Army
Unit: F Company, 52nd Infantry Regiment; I Company, 75th Infantry Regiment
Service Location: Fort Ord, California; Fort Gordon, Georgia; Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Vietnam
Rank: Sergeant
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Arriving in Vietnam in 1968, David L. Flores was assigned to be part of a Long-Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) team. Working in small, tight-knit teams of five or six men, the LRRPS would embark on multiple-day missions, probing deep into the bush to gather intelligence on the location and movement of the enemy. Their survival depended on the techniques they developed to move through the jungle undetected, and on their trust in one another. Many of the photographs in Flores’ collection speak to the grim hazards of serving on one of the LRRP teams, including depictions of friends killed in action or memorial services held for entire teams.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (7 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: video (133 min.)
  Photos
»Photo Album  (70 photos)
More like this
»Personal Snapshots: Picturing the Vietnam War
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (7 items)
Started college but did not have enough units to receive deferment; enlisted in Army; decision to become a paratrooper. (02:11) Landing in Vietnam at 3 o’clock in the morning; being hit with wave of heat and humidity; assigned to a Long-Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) team; didn’t know anything about LRRPs; learning to work in a recon team. (03:53) Logistics of long range reconnaissance patrol (LRRP) teams; learned how to be completely silent; what they wore and carried. (03:53)
Different tasks assigned to LRRPS, such as trail monitoring and enemy grabs; observing the enemy; learning to recognize the sounds of the jungle. (03:25) Schedule of LRRP teams; becoming very close to the members of your group; learning local terrain. (03:47) Training new guys; incident in which a new guy had to transfer units because he wasn’t suited to it; group dynamics; importance of trust between team members. (05:23)
Sent out on an ambush during a holiday truce; booby trapped front gate; losing a good buddy; meeting his friend’s family years later. (09:02)  
  
 

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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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