101 airborne combat patch
Perry Lewis
I had been in the hospital for a while from an injury and had recently returned to my platoon.
While I was away, the platoon had received many new replacements as it had taken heavy losses
on a recent mission. I was appointed the 3rd squad leader.

We had just climbed a tall mountain and we were preparing to set up a perimeter. I was ordered
to take my squad back down for reconnaissance. All my men were inexperienced so I took the
point and followed a rocky wash back down the mountain flanking the trail we followed up. I did
this in case the enemy had set up an ambush somewhere along the trail. About three fourths the
way down the rocks became very damp and slippery. I lost my footing, landed on my butt, and
slid the rest of the way down. While holding my M-16 high overhead and going off a ten to
fifteen foot ledge landing in a big pool of water about chest deep.

A 18 and 1/2 foot Burmese Python was coiled up in the bottom waiting for unsuspecting prey
coming up to the pool of water for a drink. After our encounter, I figured he would spring up out
of the water and snatch any unsuspecting prey. I had never expected to encounter something like
this so I do not know who was more surprised the snake or me. He did not like me invading his
territory or me standing on him. We immediately went into hand-to-hand, well hand-to -snake
combat. I kept using my M-16 to shield his attacks coming up out of the water and loudly
blowing and hissing water right in my face, however it did not take long for him to gain the
advantage and get a coil around me.

My squad had caught up by then and began trying to help me. The snake was just too strong. By
the grace of God, I had the presence of mind to jerk my sweat towel from around my neck and
wrap it around his eyes blind folding him. He went limp and loosened his coil around me.  My
men finished loosening his grip and freeing me. We pulled him on out of the pool of water and
were amazed at how long he really was and how heavy he was. After talking it over with the
platoon leader, I was ordered to bring the snake back up the mountain alive. We lifted him up on
our shoulders and made the long climb back up, exhausted however successfully.

These pictures were taken just after we made it back up. A chopper flew out and he was hoisted
up in a mail sack and taken to the rear area. I don't know what happened to him or where he went
or what kind of stories were told about him, however you have the truth from the squad leader
whose squad captured him and the pictures to prove it.

Story by Perry Lewis