Monday, June 20, 2011

Vietnam -- Starlight, star bright, tell me there ain't no Charlie Cong tonight

Motto, "Keep it clean and the batteries fresh, a starlight scope can save your life."

Well, its pretty hard to keep a starlight scope clean since the ones we got out on outside parameter guard duty never seemed to work as promised. And, of course, it would have been nice, to know how  to use them before we went out on guard duty.

The one I had in Nam wasn't mounted on a rifle, in fact, it wasn't mounted on anything.

There was a good reason for this.  It wasn't the easiest accessory to mount on a rifle.

Furthermore, with less than a few seconds between you a crazed enemy soldier hell bent on ripping you a new asshole, you don't have the luxury of securing it to a rifle, aligning it with the barrel of your gun and adjusting the forward magnification and back focusing lens.

The starlight scope was a piece of equipment a sniper would love and a guard on guard duty would hate.

However, that is not to say the scope didn't have is place on guard duty. The idea was to focus the scope between 50 and 100 feet out and then scan that area for possible movement. At the first sight of any movement, hand flares would be popped, making the scope useless anyway, and if there really was an enemy trying to turn our claymores on us, well, he'd be pushing up rice in his rice paddies.

Starlight scopes work off the premise that a certain amount of ambient light is generated from the stars and the moon and reflects off of objects as it normally does in daylight.  Problem is, there isn't enough of the light normally at night to actually see much of anything with the naked eye.

The starlight scope takes that ambient light and intensifies it. It is this intensified light that is projected on the back eyepiece that a soldier would see and could use to discern between nothing and an enemy soldier.

Again, training was an issue here. How can you know you were looking at an enemy soldier if you weren't trained to know what to look for?

All too often, what a guard on duty really saw wasn't a man at all but a monkey. Which meant, we spent a lot of time and sent ammo on monkeys and not on enemy soldiers.

1 comment:

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